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Learn How to Prevent Falls During Falls Prevention Awareness Day

Senior woman helping husband climb staircase
Senior woman helping husband (80s) climb staircase.



The New Mexico Adult Falls Prevention Coalition is celebrating Falls Prevention Awareness Day, Wednesday, Sept. 23, by offering screenings and/or education and outreach in the Albuquerque area on how to prevent falls. Seniors and their families are invited to participate.

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those 65 years of age and over. Every 14 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury. The chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.

The CDC reports 1 out of 3 community-based adults 65 years and older fall each year; 20 to 30 percent suffer a moderate to severe injury.

In New Mexico, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths, hospitalizations, and ER visits among older adults. The state has the 9 th highest older adult fall-related death rate in the U.S. 1.6 times higher than the national average.

This year’s theme, Strong Today – Falls Free ® Tomorrow, highlights the important roles professionals, older adults, caregivers, and family members play in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population.

“Falls are not a normal part of aging and the resulting injuries can steal quality life from seniors and their families,” said Albert Terrillion, NCOA Senior Director, Clinical Community Partnerships. “This awareness day is an opportunity for older adults and their support communities to learn how to reduce falls risks so our seniors can stay independent for as long as possible.”

Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend:

  • A physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components.
  • Consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment.
  • Having medications reviewed periodically.
  • Getting eyes checked annually.
  • Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.
  • Having an annual hearing assessment.

The Coalition has partnered with the Albuquerque library system and events will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Central & Unser, 8081 Central Ave, NW

(screening, education & resources)

  • Cherry Hills, 6901 Barstow NE

(education, resources & Osteoporosis Foundation table)

  • Main, 501 Copper NW

(education & resources)

  • Erna Fergusson, 3700 San Mateo NE

(screening, education & resources)

The screenings will include balance and strength testing, as well as education about fall risk factors and home safety.

This year’s theme, Strong Today – Falls Free ® Tomorrow, highlights the important roles professionals, older adults, caregivers, and family members play in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population.

At senior centers and other community-based organizations across the United States, programs help older adults gain strength, improve balance, and build confidence to help them live healthier lives and preserve their independence. Some of these programs include:

  • Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance: modified 8 form Tai Chi developed for older adults; decreases falls by 55 percent.
  • A Matter of Balance: group program targeting fear of falling and shown to decrease fear of falling, decrease activity restriction, and increase functional mobility
  • Otago Exercise Program: home-based program reduces falls 35% in adults 80 years old+
  • CDC-developed STEADI toolkit (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, & Injuries): a resource for health care providers and aging network professionals; information and tools to assess and modify older adult fall risk

New Mexico is one of 48 states and the national Falls Free ® Initiative declaring September 23, 2015, Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Governor Susana Martinez has declared the first day of fall, September 23, 2015, as statewide Fall Prevention Awareness Day, along with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry.

For more information on the screenings or on the New Mexico Adult Falls Prevention Coalition visit www.nmstopfalls.org.

(Istock photo by Susan Chiang)

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