Older Adults and Slip and Fall Injuries
As we grow older, our bodies become more susceptible to injuries in slip and fall accidents. Indeed, fall-related injuries are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among seniors, according to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How can we take steps to ensure that elderly residents of Aurora do not become victims of slips, trips, and falls? According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, there are some easy ways to ensure that your property is free of hazards that are particularly dangerous for older adults.
Structural and Environmental Changes Can Prevent Falls Among the Elderly
When a Chicago-area senior falls and gets hurt, it is likely that she will have more difficulty recovering from her injuries than a younger person. The article suggests that, for many seniors who get hurt in falls, a broken hip quickly leads to other serious problems. How can we make structural and environmental changes to help prevent these accidents from happening in the first place? Based on studies published in the Journal for the American Medical Association and Harvard Medical School, there are “some terrific, low-cost, low-tech ways to avoid dangerous falls.”
What can we do to prevent a slip and fall accident? Some tips include but are not limited to the following:
- If you do not already have handrails along the staircases and hallways in your home or at your business, install those handrails now. They could prevent a serious fall.
- Install bathroom grab bars in the bathrooms at your home and office.
- Ensure that you have adequate lighting both inside and outside. Many seniors trip and fall because they cannot see properly. If you have any broken lights or burned-out bulbs, fix them. And if you do not have lighting in major areas, install light fixtures. Adding nightlights to the bathroom and to hallways between the bedroom and the bathroom—a path where a trip and fall could occur—can also help.
- Nonslip mats and treads are extremely important in preventing falls. You should always use these in your bathtub and shower, but you should also have them in living areas and other parts of your home or business that see a lot of foot traffic. For instance, using nonslip mats or padding under rugs can make a big difference.
- If you have any stairs or floors with rough patches or other problems, make the repairs as soon as possible.
- Remove any potential tripping hazards or clutter from walkways and other frequently trafficked areas.
- Place a stable piece of furniture, such as a chair or a sofa, in areas without anything to grab onto in the event of a slip and fall.
Understanding the Problem of Elderly Slips and Falls
The CDC estimates that around one-third of all older adults slip and fall in any given year. In 2013 alone, around 2.5 million fall-related injuries among the elderly required treatment in an emergency department, while more than 700,000 needed to be hospitalized. In a year, the direct medical costs of senior falls totals more than $30 billion.
If an elderly loved one recently suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, you should talk to an experienced Aurora slip and fall lawyer to learn more about filing a claim for compensation. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today.