If there was a disease that killed nearly 30,000 deaths in 2016, that might get your attention. If this cause of death has increased by about 3% a year since 2007, you might wonder how that could be. Aren’t we supposed to be getting better outcomes from modern medicine, not declining results?

The fact is that unintentional injuries is the seventh leading cause of death for seniors aged 65 or older, and injuries caused by falls represent the largest portion of these deaths, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The rate for death by falls for seniors hit 61.6 per 100,000 people, which is up from 47 per 100,000 in 2007. The report also indicates that a fall is more likely to be fatal for men than for women. The researchers identified potential associated risk factors, such as reduced physical activity, chronic conditions that lead to physical impairment, increased use of prescription medications, and age-related changes in an individual’s ability to balance and walk.

The fact remains is that fall are largely preventable. We have covered many projects that use wearables and other devices that aim to quickly assess an individual’s risk of falling and to monitor their physical activities for signs that they may be at increased risk over time. Healthcare professionals, caregivers, and family members can help seniors by making sure that they are assessed for fall risk on a regular basis, and that their homes are carefully examined to reduce the tripping hazards that could lead to a fall.