Falls are a significant concern for Iowans, especially with Iowa’s aging population. Falls are the second leading cause of injury deaths in Iowa for all ages. They're also the leading cause of injury hospitalizations and emergency visits in our state.
For those over the age of 65, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths with the highest rate in those over the age of 84. The causes of falling vary with contributing factors including:
- reduced strength in lower extremities
- use of four or more medications
- poor vision
- chronic health problems
- unsafe home conditions.
A study in CDC's Mobidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) "Deaths from fall-related traumatic brain injury" found that in most states the rate of fall-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) deaths has increased significantly and the country as a whole saw a 17% increase in fall-related TBI deaths.
Impact of Falls in Iowa
The following policy brief highlights the impact of falls in Iowa and strategies to reduce fall risk in our state. The County Death and Hospitalizations data report provides county-level data and associated cost of falls per hospitalization.
Since 2014, nearly 3,400 older adults and adults with disabilities have participated in Falls Prevention programs. This translates to over $1.6 Million saved through falls prevention programs for older Iowans! To learn more about the impact evidence-based falls prevention programs have made in Iowa, please download the following fact sheet
15-Minute Sample Workout for Older Adults
Go 4 Life from the National Institute on Aging has a sample 15-minute workout featuring a warm up, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises, and a cool down.
- 1 stable chair
- Light hand weights
- 1 tennis ball
Falls Prevention Resources
Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury death among Iowans 65 or older. However, falls can be prevented and do not have to be a “normal” part of aging. Explore resources to help understand more about falls prevention.
Need Falls prevention awareness materials? Feel free to print and distribute the following, or contact the Brain Injury Program at 515-281-8465 to request items to be sent to you.
- Assess Your Fall Risk - brochure
- What YOU Can Do to Prevent Falls - brochure
- Iowa Falls Prevention Coalition brochure
- List of national and state reports and resources
- Iowa HHS Falls Prevention Program (resources)
- Iowa HHS Falls Prevention Program (toolkits & media)
- National Council on Aging (NCOA) falls prevention
- U.S. Falls Prevention Program for Seniors
- STEADI - Older Adult Fall Prevention toolkit from the CDC