One of the major health concerns for our seniors are the injuries they can sustain after a fall. Falling hazards are a serious problem for the elderly. In some instances, the falls are caused by the elderly becoming frailer or more easily losing their balance. In other instances, the falls are caused by medical issues or by the medication that they take. Some medications can make senior citizens dizzy and have vertigo. These fall hazards can happen at home, at the store, or outside. One of the major fall hazards for the elderly is in their own bathroom. However, there are many things that senior citizens can do to help prevent slip and fall accidents.
Medical Issues Related to Slip and Fall Accidents with the Elderly
In many instances, when an older person falls and suffers a significant physical injury, this could be the beginning of that person’s health downward spiral. Take for example an elderly woman who was nonetheless very active and did many things and kept busy with hobbies and other activities. However, after she fell and broke her hip, she was no longer physically able to do the things that provided her joy of life. When this happens, it can cause mental decline as well as physical decline. In many cases, the injured elderly person goes back home after rehabilitation. In some cases, they go from living independently to having to live in a nursing home, and it all was precipitated by the fall and injury.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 24 percent of adults fall each year, but fewer than half of them inform their doctors about the accident. Worse, if an elderly person has fallen, the risk of falling again rises dramatically. The following are other fall statistics that the elderly face:
- One out of five falls cause broken bones, many of them compound fractures.
- The most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the elderly is caused by a fall and them hitting their heads on hard surfaces.
- More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year because of fall injuries such as hip fractures or head trauma.
- Of those 800,000, more than one-third are the elderly who have been hospitalized because of hip fractures, other broken bones, and head trauma.
- Hip fractures in the elderly are caused by falls 95 percent of the time.
Ways to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents in the Elderly
There are a number of things that elderly people can do to help prevent falls. Falls can be dangerous and can often lead to serious injuries. By following these tips, you can help reduce your risk of falls and stay safe and healthy. Some of the tips are the following:
- Stay active with exercise: Weight-bearing activities are required to enhance leg strength and stability. Tai Chi is a fantastic exercise that many geriatric specialists recommend. Chair yoga programs exist specifically for the elderly. Walking is a fantastic form of exercise, as is dancing and swimming.
- Wear good shoes: This is self-evident, but footwear that is well tied is much better for the elderly than old shoes or slippers. Shoes should have a tread and fit securely on the feet. This applies indoors as well. When individuals who are elderly desire to stand upright, socks alone are not ideal.
- Take your vitamins: Vitamin D and calcium should be included in any senior citizen’s diet, as they aid in the maintenance of bone health. If levels are too low, supplements may be required. A simple blood test can determine if nutritional supplementation is required. With weakened bones, there is an increased risk of bone fracture caused by a fall.
- Keep track of medications and their side-effects: While a senior citizen receives a blood test, the doctor can review prescription regimens and ensure that none of them produce significant dizziness or vertigo. The doctor may also look for osteoporosis.
- Make physical changes to your living environment: It is always a good idea to be ready. Install railings in your stairwells, as well as bars inside and outside of the bathtub. Lighting should also be maintained in case the older person’s vision fades with time. Furniture should be moved out of the way and objects from the floor avoided.
- Keep a history of falls and injuries: You should keep track of any falls that you experience and the injuries, if any, that happened afterward, even if the falls were not serious or the injuries were only minor. You should review this fall summary with your doctor, who might be able to see a pattern or connections between the falls and might be able to help stop them. For example, your doctor may notice that every time you fall, it is some time after taking certain medications. This medication could be making you dizzy or have vertigo without you realizing it. The doctor could work on putting you on different medications that do not have risks of falls associated with it.
- As best as possible, look where you are going: This rule should be followed by everyone, not just the elderly. No matter what your age or physical condition, there are trip hazards everywhere. In some areas, almost every sidewalk has a trip hazard. Although you cannot see everything all the time, try to focus on watching out for what is in front of you and where you are going, looking for trip hazards or slipping hazards.
- Ask for help: If you are having balance issues and are afraid of falling, ask for help from your family and your medical doctor. There are many things that can be done. You can be prescribed a walking aid such as a cane. Your family and install railings and a walk-in tub in your home. There is no shame in asking for help.
Mount Laurel Slip and Fall Lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Help Seniors Who Were Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident
If you are a senior citizen and have suffered serious injuries from a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If the dangerous condition that caused you to fall was created by a property owner’s negligence, you are allowed to file a lawsuit seeking damages, including pain and suffering. The Mount Laurel slip and fall lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman can answer your questions and help you through this tough time. Call us at 856-751-2345 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Mount Laurel and surrounding areas.