Traumatic Brain Injury in Americans 65 and Older Can Result From Falling

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Safety Research that nearly 8,000 deaths and 56,000 hospitalizations in 2005 were adults aged 65 and over with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) resulting from a fall. Please visit www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2008/r080623.htm for the CDC press release in its entirety and a link to the journal article.

Some Key highlights from the Press Release dated June 23, 2008 are:

  • Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and nonfatal injuries for those 65 and over.
  • Death rates for fall-related TBIs were higher among men than women.
  • Death and hospitalization rates for fall-related TBIs generally increased with age.
  • TBI, caused by a bump or blow to the head, may be missed or misdiagnosed among older adults.
  • TBI often results in long-term cognitive, emotional and/or functional impairments.
  • The majority of men and women hospitalized with a fall-related TBI spent two to six days in the hospital (54.9 percent of men; 61.5 percent of women).
  • The median total charges for these hospitalizations were $19,191 for men and $16,006 for women.
  • Mobility problems due to muscle weakness or poor balance, loss of sensation in feet, chronic health conditions, vision changes or loss, medication side effects or drug interactions, and home and environmental hazards such as clutter or poor lighting increase the risk of falling.">

Help Seniors Live Better, Longer: Prevent Brain Injury is an initiative developed by the CDC to help prevent, recognize and respond to TBI. More information and many free materials are available for older adults and their caregivers at www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/seniors.html. Family members and caregivers can help protect the health and independence of older adults by:

  • Reducing their risk for falls.
  • Recognizing sign of TBI after a fall.
  • Taking the appropriate steps when signs of TBI are observed.

Other CDC links related to TBI: