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Falls are a significant health problem for older adults. In the community, one in three people age 65 and older, and 50% of those 80 and older fall each year. Falls can have devastating outcomes, including decreased mobility, function, and independence, and in some cases, death. Health care for fall-related injuries is expensive. One estimate suggests that direct medical costs for fall-related injuries was $20.2 billion in 1994 and will rise to $32.4 billion by 2020. Another suggests these costs will reach $240 billion by 2040. The growth in the senior population, the desire to remain independent, and the rising costs of health care and long-term care make finding ways to prevent and reduce falls of paramount importance in promoting healthy aging.

In this report, RAND systematically reviews the evidence on interventions to prevent and reduce falls. These strategies include multifactorial falls risk assessment and management, exercise, environmental modifications, and education. This report addresses which of these interventions appear to be the most effective, the cost effectiveness of falls prevention interventions, and issues regarding how best to deliver these strategies.

Reprinted with permission from Office of Research, Development, and Information Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Originally published in: Evidence Report and Evidence-Based Recommendations: Falls Prevention Interventions in the Medicare Population.

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