NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Each year, about 17,000 older adults in New York City are hospitalized and 300 die as a result of a fall, city health officials say.
Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, deputy mayor of health and human services, said Health Department data found falls are the leading cause of injuries among New York City adults age 65 and older. Between 2006 and 2010, fall-related city hospital emergency department visit rates among older adults increased by 22 percent.
In 2010, more than 28,000 older city adults were treated and released from New York City hospital emergency departments due to falls, the report said.
"Since the beginning of Age-Friendly NYC in 2009, we have been working to make New York City a healthier and safer place to grow old. Falls prevention is a key component among the 59 initiatives created to make the city more age friendly," Barrios-Paoli said in a statement.
"As our aging population continues to grow, we must do all that we can to prevent dangerous and oftentimes fatal falls among our seniors. Minimizing the risk factors that can cause a fall and providing seniors with the tools and training to prevent them altogether are key parts of our mission to create an age-friendly New York."
The report, titled "Falls Among Older Adults in New York City," is based on hospital data, death records, and the results of a survey conducted in New York City senior centers.
The study found:
-- 58 percent of falls among older adults occurred at home.
-- The bedroom is the most common location for falls in the home.
-- 48 percent of seniors who fell took four or more prescription medications.
-- 69 percent of seniors reported throw rugs or clutter in their home.
"Falls are a serious and common health issue among older adults and can often lead to serious injuries that require extended follow-up care," Dr. Thomas Farley, city health commissioner, said in a statement.
"Virtually everyone knows an older adult -- whether a family member, co-worker, or friend -- who has suffered a fall. Fortunately many falls are preventable, and I encourage health care and social service providers to screen older adults for falls risk and to review medication regimens and eliminate unnecessary prescriptions."
New York City is home to 1.3 million older New Yorkers, a number expected to increase by close to 50 percent by 2030, Barrios-Paoli said.