The Local Government Association, the body which represents councils in England and Wales, predicts that in two years' time, around 1,000 older people will be admitted to hospital each day because of a fall.
Falls can be unpleasant, distressing experiences, especially when you factor in the lengthy delays that some older and frail patients face in accessing the crucial physiotherapy rehabilitation services that could get them back on their feet.
Not only does a fall rob an older person of their health and vitality, but it can shatter their self-confidence and their ability to continue living an independent life. So it is comforting to learn that falls are not an inevitable part of ageing, and the simplest way to avoid one is to embark on a regular exercise regime that focuses on improving balance and agility, and boosting muscle strength.
If you are new to exercise and gyms, physical activity can seem like a torture. However, there is a lot of evidence to show that undertaking regular exercise is akin to taking a long, cool drink from the mythical fountain of youth.
A recent study from the University of Birmingham and King's College, London, found that people who exercise regularly in their middle and older years retain their muscle mass and keep their immune systems young and healthy. This helps them fight-off infections and inflammatory diseases, and protects them against cancer.
Here's what 82-year-old Norman Lazarus, emeritus professor at King's College, London, co-author of the report and a keen cyclist, had to say about exercise and his cycling group, whose members are in their 60s and 80s: "We exercise mainly to enjoy ourselves. Find an exercise that you enjoy in whatever environment that suits you and make a habit of regular physical activity. You will reap the rewards in later life by enjoying an independent and productive old age."