Senior Life: The Transitions Of Aging – Injuries From Falling

Los Alamos Retirement Community

An older person understandably may want to remain in the home that they have lived in for many years. Their grown children also may want to support them in it.

But note that six out of 10 falls occur in homes.  Also note that the physical and mental capabilities of people change slowly over the years. They become more likely to fall when compared to their younger years. Falling can become a more common cause of serious injury for older people, unlike for children or young adults.

Steps that can be done to reduce the likelihood of falls at home for older persons:

Stairways and Hallways

  • Have handrails installed along stairways. An older person then can better keep their balance by holding onto the rail while going up or down the steps.  Carry items for an older person rather than having the older person carry them while on the stairs;
  • Make sure there is good lighting with light switches along a stairway;
  • Do not leave items such as paper or books on the floor or stairs;
  • Make sure carpets are attached firmly to the steps so they will not slip; and
  • Don’t use throw rugs or small area rugs.


  • Have grab bars near toilets, tubs or shower;
  • Have non-skid mats or carpets on floors may get wet; and
  • Turn on night lights so an older person can more easily see where to walk.


  • Have night lights and light switches close to a bed. Have a flashlight by a bed in case the power is out; and
  • Keep a telephone near the bed.

Other Preventive Steps 

  • Keep walkways throughout a house free of clutter that an older person could stumble over;
  • Make sure carpets and rugs cannot slide when stepped on;
  • Keep items used by older people within easy reach;
  • Do not let an older person stand on a chair or stool to reach up to something. Get the item for them, being careful yourself;
  • Have guard rail around a bed so a person cannot accidentally fall out while sleeping;
  • Don’t let a cat or dog trip an older person; and
  • Keep emergency numbers in large print near each telephone.

Changing health conditions result in the need for the preceding steps to prevent falls. The decreasing ability to keep one’s balance and other disorders contribute to an increasing tendency to fall. Future articles will review these disorders and what can be done to establish a safer life for an older person. You can read more at the following website:

Contact the following organizations with any immediate concerns:

  • Los Alamos Retirement Community at 505.662.4300 about assisted living and nursing home care.
  • Los Alamos Senior Center at 505.662.8920 about dining and social life.
  • Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service at 505.662.2525 can help with home health and hospice care.
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