A new study shows more than a third of elderly people had a fall in the past 12 months and of those, 20 percent needed hospital treatment.
The findings are part of a longitudinal study by the University of Auckland, which is following Maori between the ages of 80 and 90 and non-Maori aged 85 living in the Bay of Plenty.
Of the more than 900 people surveyed, it also found 20 percent of people had reported falling more than once, 13 percent two or three times, and 7 percent four times or more.
More than a third of people were injured after they fell, with 20 percent of people using physiotherapy services.
The study's co-author Ngaire Kerse was not surprised by the figures. She said prevention, including exercise programmes and home evaluations, can be costly but needs to be done and is achievable.
Ms Kerse said hip fractures due to falls were a common cause of increased disability.