Older Adult Falls Total $50B in Annual Medical Costs
For older adults 65 and over, falls are a common, serious, and growing public health problem. Falls are the leading cause of all injuries for this age group. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) found that older adult falls also impose a severe economic burden on the U.S. healthcare system.
According to the article, “Medical Costs of Fatal and Nonfatal Falls in Older Adults,” in 2015, an estimated $50 billion in total medical expenditures was spent on older adult falls. Approximately 75% of this was financed through government-funded programs (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid).
Nearly $38 billion was spent on older adult nonfatal falls in 2015 by government-funded programs. This represents 6% of all Medicare and 8% of all Medicaid expenses for older adults. $12 billion in private/out-of-pocket medical costs was spent on older adult non-fatal falls. This represents 5% of all private/out-of-pocket medical costs for older adults.
Although falls are costly, they are preventable. The CDC STEADI initiative offers healthcare providers, older adults, and caregivers options on how to reduce fall risk and improve health. Reducing falls improves health, fosters independence, and reduces healthcare spending. Below are some resources to help accomplish this: