170548 Gender and falls among Medicare beneficiaries age 65 years of age and older, Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) 2005

Monday, October 27, 2008

Karin A. Mack, PhD , Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, CDC Injury Center, Atlanta, GA
Judy Stevens, PhD , Ncipc/duip, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Michael Ballesteros, PhD , Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Pauline Lapin, MHS , Office of Research, Development and Information, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servcies, Baltimore, MD
Gerald Adler , Office of Research, Development, and Information, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Baltimore, MD

Unintentional falls are common among older adults. Fall-related injuries can result in death, disability, and substantial direct medical costs. This study examines the burden of falls among Medicare beneficiaries, and focuses on gender differences in falls, healthcare-seeking behaviors, and health professional's responses.


Data come from the 2005 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey which is a nationally representative sample of the Medicare population. Beneficiaries aged 65 years and older living in the community were asked questions about falls in the past year. Estimates were weighted and analyzed with SPSS Complex Samples (n=12,124).


Overall, just under one-quarter (22.3%) of the estimated 31.7 million Medicare beneficiaries age 65 years and older reported a fall in the past year. While significant, there was only a 3.5% difference between men and women for reports of having fallen in the past year (men =20.3%; women=23.8%). Among those who fell, women were significantly more likely than men to report having been hurt in a fall (women=37.5%; men=24.5%) and having talked with a healthcare provider (women= 50.1% men= 36.5%). There were no significant gender differences as to whether the healthcare provider tried to understand the cause of the fall or provided advice on preventing falls.


Over 7 million Medicare beneficiaries age 65 years and older fell in the past year. This work illuminates the burden of falls in the Medicare population. Preventing falls, and ensuring adequate healthcare provider response, can provide considerable cost savings and diminish negative consequences of falling.

Learning Objectives:
1. articulate features of MCBS 2. identify gender differences in falls among older Medicare beneficiaries

Keywords: Injuries, Medicare

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I had substantial input into writing and data analysis of this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.