When my father was getting up in age he had a couple of nasty falls, once breaking a rib and once banging his head pretty badly. My father became forgetful. An MRI revealed that there was damage to his brain. The doctors speculated that it was most likely a result of a fall.
As people age they lose strength and with that gait speed and that results in a loss of balance. With the loss of strength they lose the ability to recover from a stumble. Falls inevitably occur, and those that do fall who are frail are more likely to suffer injuries as result of that fall.
Falling is the 14th leading cause of death among the elderly.
Each year, more than one-third of Americans over 65 sustain falls, total cost of fall injuries for people 65 and older was $20.2 billion in 1994, and that is expected to reach $32.4 billion by 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.