A survey commissioned by Age UK has found that millions of older people are worried about falling over, with 4.3 million (36%) saying it topped their list of concerns.
According to data released by NHS Digital nearly 100,000 older people (aged 65+) suffered hip fractures in 2017/18.
Falls contribute significantly to hip fractures in older people, many of which are preventable, and they have serious consequences for older people. Falls are the most common cause of injury-related deaths in people over the age of 75 with over 5,000 older people dying as a result of a fall in 2017, a 70% increase on the numbers in 2010.
Women account for more than two-thirds of hip fractures and the survey found older women are significantly more likely to say falling was a concern, compared to older men (45% vs 26%, respectively). Moreover, it was older people living on their own who were most worried about falling.
Preventing falls and hip fractures should be a top priority for the Government as treating hip fractures comes at a vast cost to NHS Health and Social Care, estimated at around £1 billion annually. Older people may remain in hospital for a number of weeks as a result of a fall, and at any one time, older people recovering from hip fracture require over 3,600 hospital beds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Hip fractures are also the most common reason for older people needing emergency anaesthesia and surgery, and the most common cause of accidental death.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: "Falls are a serious threat to older people's health, wellbeing and independence, causing pain, distress and loss of confidence. However, despite having serious consequences, falls in later life are often dismissed as an inevitable part of growing older, when the reality is many of them are preventable.
"We should have effective services in all areas to help people to avoid having a fall in the first place and to support those who have fallen and prevent it from happening again. However, the quality of falls prevention services still varies a great deal from place to place so we welcome the commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan to invest in 'ageing well' and to put more preventative services and support in place".