According to the Florida Department of Health, accidental falls and trip and fall accidents are a main cause of personal injury and fatalities for elderly Florida residents. The agency reports that unintentional falls are a major cause of death, injury and disability for state residents who are over 64 years old. In 2007 alone, about 53 000 elderly Florida residents required medical treatment or a hospital stay following a fall. That same year, about 1 700 Florida residents were killed as a result of a fall.
Many elderly Florida residents are fearful of slip and fall accidents and many caregivers to the elderly are worried about unintentional falls as a major cause of injury. Luckily, experts know that there are many things that can be done to prevent such accidents. In fact, it is essential to prevent unintentional falls in the elderly, as these falls can lead to serious injury. According to the Florida Department of Health, 25% of fatalities associated with slip and fall accidents among the elderly were linked to hip fractures. Another 52% of slip and fall accidents among the elderly led to brain injury and fatalities.
According to experts, most slip and fall accidents occur close to home or at home. Most commonly, these accidents occur when an elderly person is standing or walking and trips, slips, or tumbles. However, falls from ladders, beds, stairs, and steps are also quite common.
To prevent slips and falls, an evaluation of an elderly loved one’s physical state is important. Many illnesses can make an elderly person more prone to falls. Loss of balance caused by illness, muscle weakness or pain due to arthritis, general loss of mobility, and other ailments can make someone prone to falls. As well, medication used to treat many conditions can cause confusion, drowsiness, or reduced muscle control, which can lead to falls. Medications used for diabetes, some heart conditions, high blood pressure, anxiety, and other conditions, can all make someone more prone to falls. Always check with your family physician when your elderly loved one is prescribed a new medication. Ask whether the medication can increase the likelihood of falls and be prepared to take extra precautions to prevent such an eventuality. Also, have eyesight checked regularly. Poor eyesight can increase the chances of trips and falls.
If you have an elderly loved one living independently or in your own home, it is a good idea to have regular health checks or audits conducted on your home. Many health care professionals can do this to evaluate and help you remove any possible slip and fall risks. As well, a regular physical is essential to ensure that your elderly loved one does not develop an untreated condition that affects their mobility.
In addition to these steps, there are several things you can change around your home to make your home safer for an elderly loved one. Handrails on steps and staircases, for example, can help provide a steady grip for an elderly loved one as he or she goes up and down stairs. Grab bars in the bath or shower are also essential, as the slippery conditions in the bath or shower create prime conditions for falls. Securing carpets and removing clutter and throw rugs can also help prevent falls. Good lighting and no-slip treads on floor or laminate surfaces can also be a big help.