Ageing and life-course

Falls Prevention in Older Age

What is WHO doing?

Fall-related injuries are more common among older persons and are a major cause of pain, disability, loss of independence and premature death. Approximately 28-35% of people aged of 65 and over fall each year increasing to 32-42% for those over 70 years of age. The financial costs are substantial and increasing worldwide. The average health system cost per one fall injury episode for people 65 year and older in Finland and Australia was US$ 3611 (originally AUS$ 6500 in 2001-2002) and US$ 1049 (originally in €944 in 1999) respectively.

Falls in older age also have serious repercussions on the lives of family and friends.

The personal, family and societal impact of fall-related injuries for older persons, their families and society, and the possibility of effective interventions make this an important global health issue.

Effectively targeting resources for the prevention of falls and related injuries requires enhanced knowledge of the scale and nature of the problem as well as evidence on effective interventions. This requires raising awareness to the magnitude of older adult falls, intensifying research efforts and encouraging action towards prevention worldwide.

What is WHO doing?

ALC has contributed to advancing action on this issue by producing the "WHO Global Report on Falls Prevention in Older Age". This Report reflects the recommendations and conclusions from the WHO Technical Meeting on Falls Prevention in Older Age which took place in Victoria, Canada in February 2007.

The report describes the magnitude of falls, a framework for prevention and the challenges faced to tackle this problem. It also includes examples of effective interventions.

Regional/national perspectives on Falls prevention in Older Age