For the elderly, slip and fall or trip and fall accidents can be fatal. Each year, across the United States, more than one third of all adults 65 years of age and older have at least one fall. Unfortunately, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults. According to the CDC, more than 13 700 elderly persons died from injuries related to falls in 2003 alone. That same year, 1.8 million were treated in hospital for injuries related to slip and fall accidents. Over the past ten years, the number of fatal slip and fall accidents among the elderly has increased significantly.
According to the CDC, persons over the age of 65 and caregivers can reduce the possibility of slip and fall accidents by:
1. Taking part in a regular, doctor-supervised exercise program. Exercise increases strength and agility and reduces the possibility of falls and personal injury. Exercise has also been proven effective in delaying the effects of osteoporosis, a disease that can weaken bones and so can lead to more serious injuries in the event of a fall.
2. Review medicines. Some medicines have side effects that can contribute to accidents and injuries. Medication that causes drowsiness, weakness, or disorientation can contribute to falls and other injuries. It is also important to speak with a doctor about any medication interactions that can cause unwanted symptoms.
3. Maintain good vision. Getting vision checked regularly and getting corrective lenses as needed can ensure that obstacles and other impediments to walking can easily be seen. Poor vision can contribute to falls, so visit a qualified eye doctor at least once per year.
4. Run a safety audit on your home or care facility. It is estimated that at least 50% of falls occur in the home. Removing obstacles on the floor and installing no-slip flooring or carpeting can help make a living space safer. Installing grab bars near the shower and toilet and improving lighting can also help minimize the possibility of accidents. Staircases can be a dangerous area, so make sure that all stairs have good lighting and sturdy handrails. Slippers can have slippery soles, so wearing good walking shoes both inside and outdoors can be useful.
Of course, even if caregivers and elderly persons do everything right, that does not ensure complete safety. Accidents can still occur. Worse, not every homeowner or property owner is careful about safety. If you or a loved one have been injured because of a slip and fall injury, contact Florida attorneys today. The team at Flaxman & Lopez has years of experience in slip and fall injury cases and can help you understand all your options.