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Cisneros Promotes Elderly Fall Risk Campaign

Ignacio Palomo Duarte
via Flickr Creative Commons
In Texas in 2014, 1,485 seniors died from unintentional falls-related injuries.

Today is the first day of fall. That’s why a group called the Bipartisan Policy Center has chosen this day to launch a campaign preventing falls by the elderly. It’s an effort former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros is supporting.

An injury-causing fall can be the beginning of the end for senior citizens, who face the risk of hip or leg fractures, hospitalizations and a slow decline. Cisneros had first-hand experience when his elderly mother fell.

Credit Kevin Dooley / via Flickr Creative Commons
via Flickr Creative Commons

"We put her in the hospital and it turned out that she had a broken femur. That was in late July of two years ago. And by November, she was gone," Cisneros said. "I’ve seen the effect up close and personal. It’s heartbreaking. If we can do something to help people live peacefully and in health for a longer period of time, we ought to try to do that."

The Bipartisan Policy Center Cisneros is part of is urging Americans to use on online tool called the Healthy Aging Check List on their website. Steps to reduce fall risks can be as practical as moving throw rugs, adding hand rails, improving lighting.

In Texas in 2014, more than 1,400 seniors over the age of 65 died from unintentional fall-related injuries. Cisneros says those numbers could grow as our state ages.

"Texas is a state that’s growing older real rapidly," he noted. "As a matter of fact, by 2030, the number of people over 85 will grow by five times."

Credit Elliott Margolles / via Flickr Creative Commons
via Flickr Creative Commons

"More than two-and-a-half million older adults are treated in emergency rooms each year for fall injuries."

Wendy Rigby is a San Antonio native who has worked as a journalist for more than 25 years. She spent two decades at KENS-TV covering health and medical news. Now, she brings her considerable background, experience and passion to Texas Public Radio.