It’s a misconception that people fall simply because they are old. We picture seniors walking and falling for little to no reason. This isn’t the case. While aging people are certainly more susceptible to losing their balance, there is typically a precursor to the accident.
It is estimated that one in three adults aged 65 and older will experience a fall. These accidents are the primary cause of injury to the aging population within their own homes. A serious fall can leave a senior dependent on caregivers, either in their residence or in a rehabilitation facility. In some cases, a serious fall results in contusions and strains. In the worst cases, a fall can be fatal.
Many seniors are involved in slip and fall accidents that could have been prevented. Something as simple as placing a non-skid mat under a rug or replacing a burnt-out light bulb can prevent many of these accidents. If you are in the home of a loved one, be alert for hazards. If an elderly loved one is moving into your home, look for dangers like loose handrails on staircases, loose or frayed rugs, and dim lighting.
As we age, our health begins to decline. This occurs slowly and not quite dramatically for some. For others, age-related health issues come rapidly and are very serious. Age-related changes and declines can lead to slip and fall accidents. Things like declining eyesight, weakening muscles, and balance issues can increase the risk of slip and fall accidents.
Seniors who are dealing with arthritis or osteoporosis may not only be more inclined to fall, but more inclined to suffer serious injury as a result of those falls. Broken bones can be very troublesome for the elderly population and are a typical injury sustained in a fall.
It is no secret that we tend to take more medication the older we get. For a senior who is on one or more medications, slip and fall accidents become more of a possibility. According to the National Institute on Aging, the more medications a person is on, the more likely they are to experience a slip and fall accident. Four or more medications or the addition of a new medication increase the risks dramatically.
If an elderly person experiences side effects such as blurred vision or dizziness with any of their medications, they should speak with their medical provider. These added conditions can make it difficult to walk safely and navigate obstacles in one’s path.
How You Can Help
As the loved one of an aging person, there are ways that you can help prevent slip and fall accidents in the home and elsewhere. Stay in touch with your loved one, checking on them often to make sure they are okay. Outside of frequent check-ins, you can:
- Declutter your home or the home of your loved one
- Ensure that there are no obstacles in the path of anyone who will be walking through a residence
- Check to be sure there is adequate lighting throughout the home
- Install nightlights in hallways and along staircases so that there is enough light shining on the floor in the evening and at night
- Look for loose rugs or steps. Make repairs as necessary
Outside of the home, you can help your aging loved ones maintain their health. Don’t be afraid to accompany your loved one to medical appointments or to ask what medications they are taking. If your elderly loved one complains of side effects from their medication, encourage them to speak with their doctor or pharmacist.
While no senior wants to give up their independence, if your loved one is at risk living on their own, it may be time to discuss moving into a residential care center. There are various levels of assistance available. Your loved one may live in their own apartment and have daily check-ins from staff, or they may need more routine care like that which can be found in a nursing home.
Aging is something that cannot be prevented, but many accidents can be. If you believe that your loved one is at risk of a slip and fall accident, don’t be afraid to speak up or offer your assistance.
If you or a loved one has experienced a slip and fall accident in West Palm Beach, reach out to our knowledgeable team of personal injury attorneys. We will review the facts surrounding your incident and if someone else is at fault, such as a property owner, we will help you file a lawsuit for compensation. You may be legally entitled to damages for medical bills, lost wages, and more. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We are here for you and your family.