Harvard Women's Health Watch

Why you fall-and what you can do about it

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Falling has become a major health issue for many older adults, but there is much you can do to reduce your risk.

When we were kids, falling usually meant a skinned knee or a scraped elbow. But with age, taking a tumble can have graver consequences, including hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Each year, one in three seniors falls, and one in five of those falls results in a serious injury.

Falling is more than a way to get hurt; it may also be a sign that you're losing skills needed to maintain mobility, explains Dr. Jonathan Bean, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. "That's why falls are part of a larger concern, because they can set people down the path to disability," he says.

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