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Ways To Prevent Slip And Falls In The Elderly

Posted on June 18, 2020 in

Even though slip and falls are dangerous for everybody, they are even more dangerous for the elderly. Older people, unfortunately, tend to suffer accidents more than younger people. And what is worse, the elderly’s injuries, even a mild one, can be debilitating. As we get older, we take longer to heal and our risk of complications is higher. Here is all you need to know about elderly slip and fall claims process.

Elderly man sitting on bench looking out at the sea

Elderly Slip and Fall Statistics

  • According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
  • 95% of all hip fractures are a result of slip and fall injury.
  • Once an elderly person suffers a slip and fall injury, it is likely that within 6 months it will happen again and result in the same injury.

Types Of Injuries That Occur Due To Slips And Falls Among the Elderly

When an older person survives a slip or a fall, some of the common injuries that can happen include:

  • Broken bones/ bone fractures – Falls are the cause of 87% of bone fractures among adults older than 65.
  • Brain injury – The second leading cause of brain injury for adults older than 65 is slipping and falling.
  • Spinal cord injury –The second leading cause of spinal injury for adults older than 65 is falling.
  • Hip fractures – More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling sideways.

There are other injuries like cuts and lacerations, back injuries, shoulder injuries, head and neck injuries, and joint injuries that can happen by slip and falls.

Ways To Prevent Slip And Falls In The Elderly

Here are some of the best pieces of advice to prevent slip and falls in the elderly:

Exercise Regularly

Increasing your leg strength and improving your balance is necessary. Tai Chi is a great program recommended by geriatric doctors. Chair yoga is another discipline designed specifically for older people. You can always go for a walk, which is an excellent exercise as well.

Use Proper Footwear

A proper pair of sneakers is much better than wearing slippers, especially for seniors. Sneakers should have a tread and be well-tied on the feet.

Don’t Forget Your Vitamins

Calcium and vitamin D are essential for the elderly. They keep their bones strong. If your levels are too low, supplements might be necessary. Your doctor can determine this by a simple blood test.

Check And Review Your Medications

For instance, when an elderly person is getting their blood tested, their doctor can check and review their medication and make sure they are not causing any vertigo or extreme dizziness.

Fall-proof Your Home

Just like child-proofing your home for a baby, it’s good to be prepared. You can install railings along your staircase and bars inside/outside of the bathtub. Further, an elder’s vision decreases as they get older, so good lighting should also be maintained. Make sure you remove furniture from pathways and items are kept from the floor.

Keep Track Of Injuries

If you fall, make sure to take note of what happened and what symptoms you have. You can keep a post-accident pain journal to keep track of it.

How Businesses Can Help With Fall Prevention For The Elderly

A business owes its customers the highest duty of care and should do everything in their hands to provide the safest environment, especially for seniors. Here are some recommendations for businesses to consider:

  • Keep boxes and items away from aisles that present a slip and fall risk
  • Maintain proper lighting in all public areas
  • If you have a restaurant that is not well lit on purpose, make sure there is the right signage and that walkways have lights
  • Try to avoid stairs and inclines
  • If there is a spill, clean it immediately
  • Install proper rails for seniors and handicapped
  • Make sure you slip-proof all entrances and exits
  • Maintain the parking lot and outdoor areas 

In short, these tips will help store owners to avoid accidents and will hopefully help the elderly avoid a severe injury.

Who Is Liable For These Injuries?

Sometimes, a slip and fall accident can be unavoidable. However, someone else can be responsible for causing the accident as a result of negligence. For example, some of the cases where a third party might be responsible for a slip and fall accident include when:

  • A sidewalk has dangerous cracks, or the parking lot has uneven surfaces
  • The doctor’s office, restaurant or store has slippery floors or unsafe spaces
  • A property owner or manager doesn’t keep their property safe and maintained properly, failing to have railings on stairways or having hazardous or defective stairs
  • The nursing home doesn’t provide a safe environment and fails to supervise elderly residents

The third-party responsible for these or other situations can become liable for paying damages to the injured elder. If the accident caused death, the surviving family members can take legal action and obtain wrongful death damages.

To sum up, you can get compensation for an elderly slip and fall accident including medical bills, loss of financial earnings, pain, and suffering, loss of quality of life, emotional distress, and even funeral costs. 

Elderly Slip And Fall Attorneys in Las Vegas

If you or a loved one was involved in an elderly slip and fall accident caused by someone’s negligence and was injured, you should contact an experienced attorney right away. Consequently, slip and falls can cause injuries that last a lifetime. An experienced Cogburn Law attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call at (702) 748-7777 for a free consultation.