Congress looks for ways to fight the high cost of preventable falls

36 million older Americans fall every year, and the cost to taxpayers is starting to add up.
Posted at 7:10 PM, Apr 24, 2023

Tripping and falling on the carpet or in the bathroom may sound like a minor accident, but it can also be a major financial headache. According to the CDC, taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $40 billion annually for the cost of preventable falls — with most falls occurring among older Americans on Medicare and Medicaid.

"It's not the sexiest issue, it's not like talking about TikTok," Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) said. 

Frankel is helping raise awareness of this issue in Congress. 

"It is a dramatic impact on someone's life when they break a hip," Rep. Frankel said. 

Costs associated with falling are expected to increase to $101 billion a year by 2030 as a result of an aging population, according to the National Council on Aging.

Researchers predict there will be seven deadly falls every hour by 2030.

Congresswoman Frankel got involved after her mother fell, and after hearing stories from older Americans like Joanne Hendee. 

"I tripped over a throw rug in my house," Hendee, who is 73, told Scripps News. "It cost me eight weeks of not working," Hendee added. 

As far as what Congress is considering, Rep. Frankel sees an opportunity following Senator Mitch McConnell's recent high-profile fall, that kept him out of Washington for weeks, to make this an even more bipartisan issue. 

There are plans for a task force to identify ways to better fund research, as well as fall prevention programs like the one some fire departments in Rep. Frankel's district offer.

"They have firefighters that will go out to a home and do an assessment," Rep. Frankel said. 

Most importantly, raising awareness regarding this issue is important. Frankel encourages everyone to talk to their loved ones who may be vulnerable. 

"Many of these falls are preventable," Rep. Frankel said.

Monica Christiansen, far left, is pictured with her family

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