Public Health Agency of Canada

The Facts: Seniors and Injury in Canada

Falls Cause Injuries and Death

Falls account for more than half of all injuries among Canadians 65 years and over. One third of community-dwelling Canadian seniors experience one fall each year and half of those will fall more than once. The likelihood of dying from a fall-related injury increases with age; among seniors, 20% of deaths related to injury can be traced back to a fall.

Hospitalization

Falls account for 34% of all injury-related hospital admissions and 85% of seniors’ injury-related hospitalizations, making this the leading cause of injury-related admissions for seniors. Forty percent of seniors’ falls result in hip fractures and half of those who break their hips will never recover full functioning; women sustain 75–80% of all hip fractures and one in five older adults will die within 12 months of suffering a hip fracture.

Cost of Injuries

Apart from personal suffering, loss of independence and lower quality of life, the costs of seniors’ injuries to the health system are enormous—approximately $2 billion annually is spent on direct health care costs. Seniors’ falls are also responsible for 40% of admissions to nursing homes.

Where Injuries Occur

Nearly half of all injuries among seniors occur at home. The bathroom and stairs are particularly hazardous due to the risk of slipping, tripping and stumbling.

Fear of Falling

Seniors who fall may limit their activities for fear of falling again. Yet by limiting activities, they are likely to lose strength and flexibility and increase their risk of falling again. Maintaining physical activity is essential if you wish to prevent falls and injury.

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