News Release from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

August 19, 2008
CONTACT: Vanessa Macias Ballou, (512) 463-0119

Falls: Top Cause of Injury and Death for Elderly

According to the U.S. National Institute on Aging, falls are the leading cause of injury and death amongst the aging; killing about 16,000 older people in 2005 alone. While falls are relatively common and happen to one in three elderly Americans, the reasons people fall can often be prevented.

Falls can result from a lack of balance due to muscle weakness and physical deterioration. In this case it is important for older people to develop a fitness routine. Many gyms and YMCA's offer Silver Sneakers classes. Silver Sneakers is a program which offers specialized classes and exercise routines for older people and is offered through some insurance companies- including Medicaid. People wanting to participate should call their insurance companies to see if they are eligible. Be sure to check with your doctor before you start any regimen. Find more information for Silver Sneakers at

Some reasons for falls may be harder to identify. Arthritis, neurological disorders, low blood pressure, and chronic diseases may cause a person to fall down. While these reasons may take a while to diagnose, there are some easy precautions older people can take to lower their fall risk.

First, wear sensible shoes with a non-skid rubber sole. House slippers and slick floors may prove to be a dangerous combination. Flooring can be a major culprit. Only wax floors with non-skid wax, and be sure to use non-skid adhesives on the back of rugs. Remove clutter from the floor to decrease the risk of tripping over an object like a pet bowl, and arrange furniture in a manner that allows you to move freely through your home. Many falls happen in the bathroom. Rubber mats and handrails are both easy additions to the room that will increase your safety.

Following these simple precautions can help you preserve your safety and independence.

Carlos I. Uresti is the State Senator of District 19, the largest geographical senate district in the contiguous 48 states. Senate District 19 spans a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts, spans two time zones, and is larger than 24 states and 25 countries.