The Cost of Falling


How big is the problem?
One in three adults aged 65 and older falls each year. 2 Of those who
fall, 20% to 30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it hard
for them to get around or live independently, and increase their risk
of early death.3

Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more
often than they are for injuries from other causes.4

In 2012, emergency departments treated 2.4 million nonfatal fall injuries
among older adults;

How do these costs break down?

Age and sex

  • The costs of fall injuries increase rapidly with age.1
  • Costs of both fatal and nonfatal falls are higher for women than for men.1
  • In 2000, medical costs for women, who comprised 58% of older adults, were
    two to three times higher than the costs for men.1

Type of injury and treatment setting

  • In 2000, 78% of fall deaths, and 79% of total costs, were due to traumatic
    brain injuries (TBI) and injuries to the lower extremities.1
  • Injuries to internal organs were responsible for 28% of fall deaths and
    accounted for 29% of costs.6
  • Fractures were both the most common and most costly nonfatal injuries.
    Just over one-third of nonfatal injuries were fractures, but these accounted
    for 61% of total nonfatal costs—or $18.8 billion (in 2012 dollars).1
  • Hospitalizations accounted for nearly two-thirds of the costs of nonfatal
    fall injuries and emergency department treatment accounted for 20%.1
  • On average, the hospitalization cost for a fall injury is $34,294 (in 2012
  • Hip fractures are the most serious and costly fall-related fracture. Hospitalization
    costs account for 44% of the direct medical costs for hip fractures.12

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