Slips and Falls in the Elderly Population

You wake up every day, roll out of bed, plant your feet on the floor and take a few steps. You go to the store and successfully dodge a puddle of water that could have landed you on your back. You go to work and make it through an entire day without coming off your feet once. You don’t think about slipping and falling a single time as you move through your day.

Our elderly population isn’t so lucky. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three people will have suffered a fall by the time they hit the age of 65. Worse than falling is the risk of serious injury from these falls.

Risks in the Elderly Population

Elderly people are most injured by falls. Some of the injuries sustained are minor scrapes and bruises.  In about 20 to 30 percent of falls among the elderly, the accidents involve moderate to severe injuries. These can include head trauma or hip fractures. Unfortunately, injuries from falls have been found to be the leading cause of accidental death among seniors. In 2008 alone, 19,700 elderly people died as a result of injuries received in a fall.

Fall Hazards

When it comes to the elderly, there are a variety of factors that contribute to slips and falls. One of these factors is environmental hazards. In other words, seniors trip over objects that have been left in the environment. Things like loose rug corners can literally be deadly for the elderly.

Other hazards include aging changes. Seniors often have declining vision, impaired balance and some have osteoporosis. All of these can make the likelihood of falling higher. Medication also plays a factor in slips and falls. Medications can cause difficulties with balance because of dizziness. Other medications can have depressive effects causing the elderly to feel sedate and not as aware of their surroundings.

Preventing Slips and Falls

It’s important to remember that the elderly cannot recover from the injuries sustained in a fall as quickly as younger people can. The problem is not only physical. Many seniors who fall develop a fear of falling again and limit their activity to avoid an accident.

There are professionals you can hire to assess the risk of slips and falls in your home. This can be especially helpful in the home of a senior citizen. An in-home assessment can help you not only determine the risks, but give you suggestions for eliminating them. Here are other things you can do.

  • Talk to medical professionals. Consult your elderly loved one’s doctor, pharmacist and others on the medical team. These people can help you determine the possible causes of your loved one falling frequently.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is essential for the health of the human body, but regular movement can also help the elderly balance better. Exercises like water aerobics, tai chi and dancing can help to improve both coordination and balance.
  • Wear good shoes. Shoes for seniors should be sensible and safe. Tennis shoes are always a good idea. Loose or floppy shoes should be avoided.
  • Add light. Extra sources of light placed around the home can help people see what is ahead of them. Chances are that what is seen won’t be tripped over.
  • Look for hazards in every room. Pick up plants, small tables, magazine stands and anything else low to the ground that could be tripped over. Add non-slip mats underneath any throw rugs. Put non-slip mats in the bathtub.
  • Visit the doctor. Make sure that your loved one is visiting the doctor on a regular basis. A doctor can check for hearing loss, glaucoma and other vision problems, foot and joint pain, and any other problems that may be causing balancing issues.

If you are concerned about slips and falls in your business, you can easily follow the same tips above. In fact, anywhere that you are concerned about slips and falls occurring can easily be made less hazardous with just a bit of attention to detail. If you need help to determine what you can do in your unique location, a senior care expert can offer you assistance.

It’s always important to keep your elderly loved ones in mind when it comes to slips and falls, in and out of their own homes. Whether walking down the sidewalk, visiting a friend or working a part-time job, elderly people are more likely to fall that other-aged adults. Helping to prevent these accidents is all of our responsibility.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident in West Palm Beach, call our office. A member of our team will review the details of your accident and advise you of the options you have under current state law. Call now or browse our website for more information about how we can assist you.

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