Understanding and Preventing Falls in the Elderly

Within healthcare, one concerning statistic stands out – falls are Australia’s leading cause of injury hospitalisation and death. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2023 report, they account for 43% of injury hospitalisations and 42% of injury-related deaths. Unsurprisingly, falls become more prevalent with age. 

The Impact of Falls:

Falls requiring hospitalisation are significantly more frequent among older adults, and it is within their homes that these incidents are most likely to occur. Over half of injury-related hospitalisations from falls involve fractures, emphasising the severity of the issue. The data for 2021–22 reveals that falls led to 233,000 hospitalisations, with 5,800 deaths recorded in 2020–21. 

Age and Gender Differences:

The AIHW report notes that individuals aged 65 and over are more likely to be hospitalised or suffer a fall compared to other age groups. Additionally, falls are one of the few causes of injury where females outnumber males in both hospitalisations and deaths.

Understanding the Risk to the Elderly:

In 2020 – 2021, 60% of hospitalisations were due to falls in those aged 65 and above. 

Prevention and Intervention:

As a physiotherapist specialising in elderly care, it is crucial to recognise the implications of these statistics and actively engage in preventive strategies. Falls are not inevitable, and targeted interventions can significantly reduce the risk. Incorporating balance exercises, strength training, and home safety assessments into the care regime can go a long way in protecting the elderly from the consequences of falls. Physiotherapists play a pivotal role in managing this risk by providing tailored interventions that address the unique needs of older individuals. By promoting awareness, advocating for preventative measures, and implementing evidence-based strategies, we can collectively work towards ensuring a safer and healthier future for our senior population.


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2023) 

Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog is meant solely for educational and informational purposes. It is not a replacement for professional advice or treatment. For any queries related to a medical condition, always consult with a qualified professional. Never neglect professional medical advice or postpone seeking it based on information obtained from this blog.

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