Falls present a real risk when it comes to individuals of all ages, but for those over the age of 65, falls can be deadly. Knowing how to minimize risks of falling and hurting yourself can make a huge difference and can even save your life in many circumstances.
It is reported that every 19 minutes in the United States, an older person dies after suffering a fall. In fact, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for older adults. While many times, falls cannot be avoided, as falling is a consequence of aging, the risk of falling can be alleviated in many situations. Not only is it important for the individual who is at risk of falling to know how to avoid falling, it is also important to relatives and caregivers of these older individuals to be aware of these risks.
It is also estimated that one-fourth of Americans over the age of 65 fall at least once every year. After that initial fall, their chances of falling again doubles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these falls reported, one in five result in a serious injury to an older person. The physical injuries that result can be quite severe, but they can also be emotionally traumatizing.
The most common slip and fall injury reported is broken bones or fractures. While a younger person can recover from a broken bone relatively quickly, an older individual may never fully recover from a bone fracture. It can permanently prevent that person from ever being able to walk again and can harm his or her ability to socially interact with others in the future. The memory of that fall and the associated emotions that went along with it can cause the older person to fear moving about freely again. He or she may fear that another fall will happen and that the consequences will be much worse than before. It can result in rapid decline in the person’s physical health, as well as depression and isolation. All of these can dramatically reduce that person’s quality of life.
Why are the elderly so prone to slip and falls? Many of them fall due to medical issues or other orthopedic problems. Some of them take medications that make the risk of falling more likely. Additionally, as you age, physical changes occur that can affect your balance, vision and hearing that can make it much easier to fall. While these specific causes cannot necessarily be avoided, it is important that those who care for the elderly person be aware of these increased risks and adjust their loved one’s living environment to ensure that the space is safe. Examine the person’s walking path and make sure that the space is clear from tripping hazards. Additionally, make sure that the person has objects with which to grab in the event he or she loses his or her balance. Make sure those objects are sturdy, appropriate and strong enough to hold the person’s weight in the event of a fall. It may also be wise to make the person’s living space handicap accessible. Make sure that safety bars are installed where they can be the most helpful.
Developing muscle strength can also help minimize the chances of falling. Even individuals of an advanced age can, with regular exercise, develop and maintain length strength and endurance, and certain exercises can assist in balance and the ability to catch oneself when falling. Simple exercises, such as standing on one foot, while performing basic tasks such as washing dishes or talking on the phone, can help improve these skills. However, these exercises should only be performed if the individual is healthy enough to perform them.
It is also recommended that the individual receive regular medical check-ups, including regular vision exams and hearing tests. It is recommended that the individual’s doctor keep an eye on all medications and that any and all warnings regarding the medication’s ability to cause dizziness or drowsiness be taken very seriously. If these symptoms cause significant problems in mobility, call the doctor and see if a different medication can be prescribed.
As experienced Miami slip and fall accident lawyers, we understand Florida’s slip-and-fall laws and how to hold businesses accountable for our client’s injuries, lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. If you have suffered a slip and fall at a grocery store, restaurant or retail store in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, The Keys or anywhere in the State of Florida it is critically important for you to consult with an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer who will fight to protect your legal rights. When selecting a lawyer- ask them about their qualifications and experience in claims against grocery stores, retailers and restaurants. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer and our firm, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has successfully represented people and their families in slip and fall claims across the country since 1991. Call us today for a free initial consultation 1-866-597-4529 or email [email protected] and speak with an experienced slip and fall lawyer about your potential claim.