CDC Foundation Launches National Program to Educate Older Adults and Caregivers about Preventing Falls and Fall Injuries

Atlanta, GA—Today the CDC Foundation announced an important new initiative to prevent falls and fall injuries in older adults. Each year more than one in four older adults (age 65 and older) experience a fall, resulting in 3 million emergency department visits, 950,000 hospitalizations and 32,000 deaths. Many of these falls are preventable. Together, Amgen and the CDC Foundation, with leveraged technical resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will support the project’s development of user-friendly fall prevention resources for older adults and their caregivers.

The five-year project will create digital resources to help older adults assess their risk of falls and develop a plan to mitigate that risk by speaking with their healthcare provider and caregiver. It will also include a communications campaign to educate and provide key tools for caregivers to help them talk to their loved ones about their risk for falls and ways to prevent falls and fall-related injuries.

“Every second of every day an older adult falls in our country,” said Debra Houry, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “We know that falls are preventable and are not an inevitable part of aging. The resources created through this partnership can help reduce falls, prevent injuries, and save lives.”

The life-long impact of falls is something 67-year-old Lou Ann Bode has experienced first-hand. In her late 50s she was injured in a fall. Her fall happened while she was letting her dogs out of the room where they slept, something she did every day.

“On this particular morning their blankets were bunched up around the opening of the door,” said Bode. “The dogs ran out of the room past me, and, not being fully awake myself, my foot got caught in their blankets. I fell on my right hip onto the hardwood floor and knew I had done something terrible.”

Fortunately, Bode’s husband was nearby in the kitchen and helped her get to the emergency room. She had fractured her hip, which required surgery. Bode says the healing process was slow, but she made a full recovery. Recuperating from hip fracture can be challenging for older adults, and many achieve only partial recovery.

Over a decade passed before Bode fell a second time, this time while hiking with her family. She broke her arm and dislocated her elbow. Bode has experienced complications during her recovery, including a skin infection after surgery, that have prolonged her physical therapy. She still hasn’t regained full range of motion in her arm.

“We don’t know if I will ever get back what I had before,” said Bode. “As an active person that’s frustrating.”

Stories like Bode’s underscore the lasting impact that a fall can have on a person’s life and the need for greater education to help older adults prevent falls.

“Falls are responsible for far too many injuries in this country, but they are preventable. We’re pleased to partner with Amgen on this important issue to provide key resources and information to our aging community and those who care for them,” said Dr. Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “With screening, assessing and intervening, we can reduce the risk of falls and improve health.”

“The CDC Foundation’s fall prevention initiative shines a spotlight on an important and preventable health risk for older adults,” said Darryl Sleep, M.D., senior vice president of Global Medical and chief medical officer at Amgen. “A broken bone resulting from a fall can be a life-altering event. For people with osteoporosis whose bones may be weak and more likely to fracture, it is especially important to take the proper steps to prevent a fall. Supporting this program reinforces our commitment to care that helps to predict and prevent the impact of serious diseases, like broken bones due to osteoporosis, before they happen.”

About the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world. CDC’s Injury Center protects Americans by tracking data and trends on fatal and nonfatal injuries, researching what works to prevent injuries and putting it into practice, and providing Americans information to protect themselves, their families and communities. Learn more at