As people age, the risk of falling drastically increases. Florida currently has a population of approximately 20 million individuals, with people 60 years of age and older making up almost a quarter of that population. These figures do not include the ‘snowbird’ population, which visits our state a few months out of the year. What this means is many individuals in our state are at a higher risk of injury or even death due to an unexpected fall.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of death from falls involving people 75 years of age and older was 111 deaths per every 100,000 people. This figure is a significant increase from what it was in 2000 when it was 52 deaths per every 100,000 people. Additionally, it is reported that women are more likely to fall than men, although men are more likely to die as a result of a fall.
Several different factors play into why the elderly fall, but the following recommendations can help in preventing these falls.
Be Aware of Limitations
It is important that people over the age of 65 be aware of their limitations. Mobility and flexibility are limited as people age, so tasks that could have been accomplished with ease before may not be so easy now. Do not push yourself and be careful of what tasks you do around the home. Do not use step ladders, be cautious on stairs, and make sure pathways are clear if your mobility is limited and you are more prone to becoming dizzy or not able to climb safely.
Certain medications can also make falling more likely. As people age, their ability to metabolize medications decreases, so medications, such as sleep aids, Valium or Xanax, can have more of an effect on the person than they would on someone younger. If medication causes you to be dizzy and struggle walking safely, inform your doctor. He or she could prescribe something different with less side effects or could advise you on when to safely take the medication. Also, be aware of the warnings on the medication. They are there for a reason and are important to keep you safe, especially if the medication can lead to feeling lightheaded or dizziness.
Staying mobile and exercising regularly can help prevent the chances of a fall. It is important that people over the age of 60 incorporate at least 20 minutes of exercise into their daily routines. Make sure you consult your doctor first before starting any exercise routine. Stability exercises, such as Tai Chi, have been known to help improve balance and coordination and are low impact. In fact, studies have shown that adults over the age of 70 who practice Tai Chi two times a week for an hour reduced their chance of falling by 58 percent.
Use Appropriate Accessories
It is important to understand what disabilities you have that may lead to a fall. If your eyesight is poor, wear bifocals or progressive lenses to help you walk clearly around a room. These can also aid with depth perception, which also can lead to falls. Additionally, it is important to wear proper footwear when outside or even moving about your home. Do not wear high heels or flip flops, as these can trip someone, even with perfect coordination. Make sure your footwear has good tread on the walking surface to prevent slipping. Lastly, if you need a cane or walker to help stabilize you, make sure these devices are accessible to help you move throughout a room.
Clear Walking Surfaces
Most falls happen in the home, so it is important that all walkways be clear of any tripping hazards. Remove any rugs that may lead to a fall, and make sure all extension cords are safely kept out of walking paths. Also, make sure that you have nightlights throughout the home for visual access if you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Many falls happen at night because visibility is limited, and the person may be less coordinated or even awake, depending on the time of night. Keeping the pathway well-lit can at least reduce the chances of a fall.
Falls can occur at any time, and are a common occurrence at grocery stores, shopping centers and restaurants. A serious slip and fall accident can cause extensive injuries, require medical care and ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. We all have our clumsy moments, but when a person’s fall is caused by a dangerous condition or the careless actions of another, that’s when our legal team can help.
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.