Nobody ever enjoys falling—it can take you by surprise, cause both immediate and long-lasting pain, and bruise both your body and your ego. However, if you’re young and spry, you can heal relatively quickly from a lot of slip and fall injuries. Elderly people, on the other hand, are more likely to encounter complications and require medical treatment after this kind of accident.
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 1 in 3 adults 65 and over fall each year, and between 20% and 30% of those people suffer hip fractures, head lacerations, and head trauma. Those injuries can result in costly medical treatment and, if the elderly adult has been living on their own, sometimes makes it difficult for them to continue doing so.
Why Fall Risk Increases as We Age
One of the most obvious reasons that fall injuries become increasingly likely as we age is because we become more susceptible to breaking bones and don’t heal as quickly as younger people. As you get older, your bone density decreases, making your bones more prone to fracturing on impact.
Of course, that’s not the only reason the elderly are more at risk for slip and fall injuries. There are a wide range of risk factors, including:
Difficulty balancing. There are a number of different balance disorders, such as vertigo and labyrinthitis, which become more common as you age. Dizziness or difficulty maintaining a center of balance can lead elderly people to fall more easily.
Limited physical activity. Although some elderly people do make a conscious effort to exercise on a regular basis, others become more sedentary as they age. A lack of regular physical activity leads to muscle atrophy, decreased strength, and loss of flexibility—all of which puts people at greater risk for falls.
Vision problems.If an elderly person has difficulty seeing due to cataracts, glaucoma, or other vision problems, they may have trouble seeing potential tripping or slipping hazards around them.
Environmental hazards. Sometimes falls are caused by something as seemingly minor as a folded over corner on a rug, an electrical cord on the floor, or an uneven step. If an elderly person falls due to an environmental hazard, the person or organization responsible for keeping that area safe may be liable.
How to Reduce the Risk of Falls for the Elderly
There are steps that both elderly people and their loved ones can take to reduce the odds of experiencing a serious fall. Elderly people can:
Maintain physical activity by walking, taking a water aerobics class, or playing a sport like tennis
Talk to a doctor if they begin experiencing dizziness, vision problems, or other health issues
Understand that they may have limits when it comes to certain activities, such as riding an escalator or climbing a ladder, and seek assistance when necessary
Family, friends, and caretakers of seniors can also help by:
Maintaining homes that are free of tripping hazards: remove clutter from walkways, store electrical cords, and make sure rugs are flush with the floor
Carefully supervise seniors with dementia when walking in areas with snow or ice, as they may not know to be careful around potential slipping hazards
Make sure all staircases have sturdy handrails
Install grab bars on the sides of toilets and bath tubs used by seniors
Contact a slip and fall lawyer if an elderly loved one falls due to the recklessness or negligence of another person; while a lawyer can’t heal the injury, they can help you recover the compensation you need to cover medical and care expenses
The effort it requires to take a few simple precautions is well worth it in order to protect the people you love from the potentially serious injuries of a slip and fall accident.
About the Author: Steven Slootsky is a 1985 graduate of Nova Law School, which means he’s been a practicing Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer for more than 2 decades. He founded the Law Offices of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida in 1991. The Fort Lauderdale-based accident attorney is a member of the Florida Bar, as well as the Federal Bar for the Southern District for the U.S. District Court. During his career as a personal injury lawyer/auto accident compensation attorney, Steven has served as the co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation section for Broward County, Florida. He is also a Bronze member of the Florida Workers Advocates, a former member of the board, and serves as an “Eagle” member of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Imagine sleeping soundly in bed and then a loud crashing crane comes through your roof. It was a scene that happened this week in North Miami Beach, where a crane that was being used to repair a seawall slid off a barge and struck the roof of a condominium building. [gallery type="slideshow" link="file" size="large" [..]
Car accidents can happen anywhere. Especially where you least expect it. Parking lots, driveways, parking garages, and drive-thrus are well-known for accident scenes. Even your own living room. On Wednesday, August 21st, an accident involving two cars ended up crashing into a Miami Gardens home. One of the drivers was air lifted to a [..]
Dade and Broward county roads are about to become a bit more confusing and request drivers to be more attentive to the road and the scheduled construction plans on the 826 Palmetto Expressway and I-75 throughout August 2019, while making room for a new Express Lane on the 826 Palmetto Expressway. As auto accident attorneys [..]
July 4th tends to evoke backyard barbecues, poolside cocktails, and fireworks at dusk. We usually think of spending this holiday with family, and staying close to home. On the contrary, AAA pegs the fourth as one of their busiest days. Did you know the average distance traveled on July 4th is 617 miles? What’s more, [..]
When most of us think about Fourth of July safety, we think about fireworks. Although improper use of fireworks can cause serious injuries, there’s a less obvious risk: food poisoning. Most Fourth of July celebrations involve outdoor gatherings, with perishable food that’s often brought in by a number of people, some of whom may not [..]
Summer is upon us, and it’s peak swimming pool season in the sunshine state. Although swimming is a great way to cool off and get some exercise, it can also be dangerous. Statistics show three children die every day from swimming pool accidents, and many more people sustain serious injuries. In many cases, these tragic [..]
Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose. Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents. The primary causes? More cars on [..]
Johnson & Johnson has been a trusted name in cosmetics and household products for decades. However, in recent years, they have come under fire for lawsuits that suggest their talcum powder products caused cancer. The company isn’t just paying with a blow to their reputation, either. Earlier this year, a woman in California won $29 [..]
Every summer, Floridians look forward to that much needed break that summer camp provides: the kids to get away from the daily grind of the school year, and you to get a little breathing room from them. Exactly how much of a break would it be, though, if you’re still holding your breath in anticipation [..]
Temperatures are rising and a lot of long weekends are just around the corner. Whether you’re planning to hop in your boat for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or other summer holidays, it’s important to stay safe this season. Boating accidents do happen here in Florida, and many can be fatal. In 2017, 658 [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
Uber and Lyft have really made getting around town a lot easier. The apps are simple to use, the cars are relatively inexpensive, and getting a ride only takes a few minutes. However, as wonderful as Uber and Lyft are for convenience when you need a quick lift, it is important to remember that [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]