Millions Of Older Adults Get Hurt Falling

generic old senior citizen elderly age hands cane

When Shirley Keegan started falling, life as she knew it took a tumble, CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook reports.

"Its very frightening," she said. "You don't know you are gonna fall, very unexpected and as you are going down you are saying 'oh no,' you know, and in your mind your saying 'oh no.'"

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released today found that over a three-month period, 1.8 million adults hurt themselves from falling.

"It included a whole range of things so it could be a bruise all the way up to a head or hip fracture," said Judy Stevens, the author of the CDC study.

Up to 25 percent of patients who fracture a hip die within a year. Up to 75 percent never get back to normal.

"Falls can have very serious consequences," Stevens said. "They can definitively impact a senior's quality of life and interfere with their ability to live independently."

Along with today's report, the CDC is launching a new initiative with specific steps to help prevent falls.

Read on for more information.

More Information

  • The CDC study also showed an estimated 5.8 million adults over age 65 reported they fell at least once in the previous three months. Check out the CDC's new resource page, Preventing Falls Among Older Adults. It includes fact sheets and helpful brochures.
  • To read the CDC's release on the study, click here.
  • To learn more about what the CDC′s does to educate about and prevent older adult falls click here and see 2006 data here.
  • Learn more about how the data was collected here.
  • You can learn more about hip fractures in older adults by clicking here.
  • If you'd like to find out how to develop community-based fall-prevention programs, check out this guide.

    • Jonathan LaPook

      Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the chief medical correspondent for CBS News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook