Individuals age 75 and older account for the greatest rise in a growing number of deaths from fall-related brain injuries, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate of fall-related traumatic brain injury deaths grew 17% nationwide from 2008 to 2017, the agency found. The highest rate in 2017 alone was among adults aged 75 years and older. This group also experienced the largest increase among all age groups during the entire study period. Notably, the rate among persons 75 years and older was about eight times higher than rate among those aged 55 to 74 years. 

The increases may in part be due to improved survival outcomes in common illnesses such as stroke, cancer and heart disease, along with the increasing population of older adults, the agency noted.

“In older adults, evidence-based fall prevention strategies can prevent falls and avert costly medical expenditures,” the report states. “Health care providers might consider prescribing exercises that incorporate balance, strength and gait activities, such as tai chi, and reviewing and managing medications linked to falls.”

The CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, & Injuries initiative offers intervention tools and resources for clinicians who care for elders at risk of falls.