NMDOH Logo
Home News Older Adults Have the Power to Prevent a Fall
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Older Adults Have the Power to Prevent a Fall

September 21, 2016 - Older Adult Falls - Information

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) estimates every 11 seconds in America, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. That’s scary stuff if you’re 65 and over, or know and love someone who is.

Today in New Mexico, 14-percent of residents are 65 years of age and older, and falls are their leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and injury-related deaths, and the problem is getting worse. New Mexico’s population is aging, but their rate of falling is in increasing too.

According to the most recently available state data from the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), more than 2,100 adults 65 and over were hospitalized in 2014 because of a fall. More than 300 of those who fell that same year died from their injuries, and the 2014 fall death rate for seniors was 102.2 per 100,000, up significantly from 79.6 per 100,000 in 2013.

But all those numbers aside, here’s two important truths you need to know:

  1. Most falls are preventable
  2. Falls are not a normal or inevitable part of aging.  

There’s practical lifestyle changes we can make as we grow older to substantially reduce the risk of falling:

  • Get adequate calcium and vitamin D from food and/or from vitamin supplements.
  • Get screened and – if needed – treated for osteoporosis.
  • Exercise. It’s particularly important however as we exercise, we focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance. Tai Chi programs are especially good for that.
  • Ask our doctor or pharmacist to review our medicines—both prescription and over-the counter. They can identify the medicines that may cause side effects that affect our balance, like dizziness or drowsiness. Talking about this as well as your fall risks can help you identify ways to stay independent longer.
  • Get our eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Update your eyeglasses when needed and consider getting a pair with single vision distance for outdoor activities such as walking.
  • Make your home safer by getting rid of clutter. Get rid of things you could trip over. Add grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, add railings on both sides of stairways, and upgrade the lighting in our homes to assure there’s no obstacles lurking in the shadows where we walk.

All of these things are no guarantee we won’t fall, especially when we reach 65 and over, but it sure increases our chances of staying on our feet and walking tall for years to come.


Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.


Versión en Español

En un esfuerzo para hacer que nuestros comunicados de prensa sean más accesibles, también tenemos disponibles una versión en español. Por favor presione el enlace de abajo para acceder a la traducción.

Los adultos mayores tienen poder para evitar las caídas