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David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Saving Seniors From the Fall

January 29, 2014 - Older Adult Falls - Safety

It isn’t fun getting old.

When I get my haircut, I watch my snipped hair fall on that plastic sheet over my lap and swear every time there’s more gray hair there than the time before. My metabolism isn’t close to what it was when I was 25. My joints creak, and my eyesight is worse with each visit to the eye doctor. That’s aging for you.

Then there’s getting old. I’ve watched my mom over my 44 years on this earth transform from the woman who played catch with me to someone who can only walk with the aid of crutches. When I was sick as a kid, she’d take me to the doctor. These days I take her to the doctor. When I fell as a child and scraped my knee, she picked me up and got me a Band-Aid.

These days, when she falls, she can’t get back up on her own. She calls for help, and I come pick her up. It’s scary and awful, for both of us.

The New Mexico Department of Health reports fall-related injury is the leading cause of unintentional injury death, hospitalization and emergency room visits for New Mexico seniors ages 65 and older.

Of the 300 people who died from falls in this state in 2012, 245 of them were seniors. That’s 82-percent.

My mother is 85-years-old and has defied the odds by not getting seriously hurt.

According to the 2012 New Mexico Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Information, 32 percent of older adults 65+years of age have fallen at least once in the previous 12 months. Of that number, 13 percent were injured in at least one fall in that same time period. Hip fractures accounted for 36 percent of fall-related deaths among seniors and traumatic brain injury accounted for 25 percent of fall-related deaths in NM.

So all that’s scary, but here’s the thing: Falling does not have to be an inevitable result of aging. Here are some ways the Department of Health says we can stay independent and reduce our chances 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.
  • Get our eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Keep our lens prescription up to date to maximize vision.
  • Get rid of clutter. Make our homes safer by reducing tripping hazards. 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.