Slip-and-fall accidents are more common among the elderly than other age groups. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the primary cause of major and minor injuries for people aged 65 and older.
The statistics are alarming, with millions of older adults hospitalized for fall-related injuries yearly.
Common injuries experienced by elderly slip-and-fall victims
When an elderly person experiences a slip-and-fall accident, the consequences can be severe, leading to a range of injuries. Some common injuries include fractures, particularly in the hips, wrists and spine. These fractures can significantly compromise mobility and independence. Head injuries, specifically concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are also a grave concern. Older adults are at a higher risk of suffering from TBIs due to falls, which can lead to cognitive impairment or even permanent disability.
Older people may also sustain sprains and strains in various body parts that can cause pain and discomfort, limiting an individual’s ability to carry out daily activities. These minor injuries may not seem severe at first, but they can be problematic for older adults; for instance, cuts and bruises may lead to infections and complications if not treated promptly.
Preventive measures to mitigate slip and fall accidents
While slip and fall accidents are a concern, several steps can be taken to reduce their occurrence and help protect elderly individuals from injuries:
Conducting a thorough safety assessment of an elderly person’s home is a good place to start. Assessments are the key to identifying potential hazards and making necessary modifications, such as:
- Adding handrails
- Securing carpets
- Improving lighting
Regular exercise and physical therapy can also help older adults improve strength, balance and flexibility, reducing their risk of falls. Just as importantly, proper medication management is crucial. Caregivers should regularly review medications with healthcare professionals to help ensure they do not cause dizziness or other side effects that could lead to falls.
Slip-and-fall accidents can result in devastating outcomes for elderly individuals, leading to fractures, traumatic brain injuries and other debilitating conditions. To help ensure the safety and well-being of the elderly population, caregivers should take proactive steps in identifying and addressing potential hazards in their living environment. In the event that a fall occurs and its consequences are significant, victims should consider seeking legal guidance as they may be entitled to compensation if another’s conduct contributed to the cause of their harm.