Preventing Falls at Home

Falling is one of the most significant risks facing aging adults.

These incidents can result in broken bones, fractures and head injuries. Because many seniors are already being treated for various conditions, adding another can elicit serious complications. For example, those taking blood thinners can have severe bleeding into the brain after experiencing head trauma. Additionally, physical and psychological factors related to falling once can further hinder victim’s mobility and increase the chances of a second incident.

Falling: Facts, Causes and Prevention

Facts on Falling in Seniors 65 or older in the state of New Mexico:

  • Leading cause of injury related deaths, ER visits and hospitalizations
  • New Mexico ranks as one of the highest in the nation for fall related deaths

Nationwide Falls are the greatest health risk for seniors and the number one reason for accidental deaths.

  • 1 of 3 seniors age 65 and older fall every year
  • Every 29 minutes a senior dies from a fall related injury
  • Every 14 seconds a senior is admitted to an Emergency Room due to a fall
  • 85% of all injury related hospital admissions are from a fall
  • 20% die from a hip fracture within one year -- mostly women due to osteoporosis
  • 25% who were independent have to stay in a nursing home up to 1 year

The CDC Estimates That By 2020

  • Falls may cost the nation $43.8 billion in direct and indirect costs.
  • 37 million seniors, over 65, injured by falling
  • In 10 years baby boomers will be 20% of the population over age 65

Source: Facts are from CDC Website/NM Governor’s office

Common Reasons For Falling:

Fear of Falling especially those who have already suffered a fall

Distractions causes falls - think about every movement

Shuffling (tripping)


Concentration on not falling

Changes in walking speed and stride

Muscle Weakness

Balance impairments, lack of strength and balance in the legs,

Lower confidence in balance skills

Foot problems

Medical conditions -- Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Musculoskeletal disorders

Neurological disorders, Respiratory problems, Thyroid disease.

Sleep problems, sleep apnea, drowsiness


Poor memory


Loss of Coordination

Reduced awareness of limitations contribute to falls

Delayed reactions

Trip Hazards:

Remove Clutter

Remove electrical cords that cross the path

Loose unattached rugs — use non-slip rugs and firmly attach carpeting

Protruding, unsteady furniture

Small Pets

Loose shoes - wear non slip shoes, avoid slippers

Slippery Floors

Safety Precautions:

Physical therapy: in-home therapy covered by Medicare

Review your medications with your physician

Have your vision checked and update your glasses

Improve lower body strength

Simple exercises can help for instance tai chi twice a week can improve balance

Keep home well lit, use brighter light bulbs, night lights

Do not lean to reach, place one foot in front of another, hold bags against body

Be extra cautious when using stairs. If you think you are going to fall backwards, sit-down

Mark uneven floors with tape to remind you to step up or down

Bathroom Related Suggestions — most falls are in the bathroom

  • Install handrails next to bathtub and toilet,

  • Install grab bars entering the shower and in shower (not smooth rails)

  • Secure bathmats or get non-slip rugs

  • Sit on a chair when taking a shower, use a hand-held shower head

Limit alcohol use

Install Lifeline to call for help incase of a fall

Ask for help

Please contact us if you have any questions or if we may offer our services to help you.