National Fall Prevention Awareness Week


September 18, 2023, marks the beginning of National Fall Prevention Awareness Week. Falling among older adults aged 65 and over is common, costly and preventable. Each year, there are about 37 million older adult falls and 3 million emergency department visits due to falls. However, falling is NOT a natural part of aging. Talking with your healthcare provider about ways to prevent a fall, especially if you have fallen in the past 12 months, is the most important step you can take to avoid injury. These six tips for talking with your doctor provided by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) can help you get the conversation started.

For National Fall Prevention Awareness Week, the CDC Foundation is celebrating one year since the Falls Free CheckUp was launched. The Falls Free CheckUp is a quick online self-screening tool to assess your likelihood of experiencing a fall in the next year and helps you identify risk factors to reduce your risk. The Falls Free CheckUp includes:

  • A scheduling assistant to make an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare provider to discuss the results.
  • A downloadable report of the results to share with your doctor.
  • Important educational resources on fall prevention.
  • A video on how best to use the information from the Falls Free CheckUp.

CDC’s Division of Injury Prevention is also releasing new material for the Still Going Strong campaign and fall prevention resources for healthcare providers.

There are several factors that can increase the likelihood of a fall. One factor is hazards in the home such as loose rugs, pets, poor lighting and uneven stairs. Linda, 78, who lives in St. Simons Island, Georgia, knows those hazards first hand. Linda was leading a very active life before December 2022. She enjoyed riding her bike, doing yoga, walking on the beach, volunteering and visiting with friends.

But early one morning that December, Linda woke up and noticed a light on downstairs. She got out of bed, walked down a flight of stairs and stood in socked feet on a small, carpeted landing to investigate. As she did, she slipped, and all of her weight landed on her right foot. She knew she was hurt but did not know how badly until a concerned neighbor convinced her to go to the emergency department. At the hospital, an x-ray showed she had three fractures in her ankle and would require surgery. Since she has been home, Linda says she is much more fearful of re-injuring herself. Her stairs remain a concern. In terms of her recovery, she is taking it one day at a time and trying to have a good attitude.

“I miss riding my bike,” Linda said. “I used to ride my bike every day and visit with my friends, but I’m not strong enough yet to ride it, so life is boring. I can’t go out and play like I used to.”

Falls are serious health risk—but they can be prevented. For more information on how to stay injury free and independent, check out CDC’s My Mobility Plan. CDC Foundation and CDC also have many other free resources available that can help you be healthy, active and injury free.

Daniel Thompson is a communications and partnership specialist for the Preventing Older Adult Falls and Fall Injuries program.