Slip and fall accidents are a common occurrence. The National Safety Council (NSC) reported that 8.9 million emergency room visits were related to slip and fall incidents in 2011. As people age, the risk of slip and fall accidents increases, as does the severity of the resulting injuries.
The NSC lists the likelihood of fatal slips and falls for individuals over the age of 65 as more than four times greater than that of other age groups. The risk of slip and fall accidents increases at age 65 and again at age 75 and 80, according to the NSC.
Because falls are the leading cause of injury death among individuals 65 and older, it is essential that anyone living with a person of advanced age be aware of some simple tips for preventing falls in the elderly.
Slip and Fall Prevention Tips
While falls are commonplace and their likelihood increases with age, they are also often a preventable occurrence.
Following some basic safety guidelines may prevent falls in the elderly population:
- Stay active. Older individuals who continue to exercise (especially weight-bearing exercise) may be more likely to stave off osteoporosis, which contributes to bone fractures in a fall. In addition, balance and flexibility routines such as tai chi or yoga can help improve body awareness and control, therefore reducing the risk of a fall.
- Health and medication. Aging men and women should undergo routine eye exams to ensure that their vision is not compromised and should have an annual physical exam to identify any health concerns. Remaining healthy in body and vision are necessary to reduce slip and fall accidents. Make sure any walking assistance equipment such as canes or walkers are sized properly and well maintained, and have any medication routines re-evaluated regularly.
- Wardrobe concerns. Shoes are a critical accessory when considering safety from slip and fall incidents. Make sure shoes fit well and have nonskid soles. If wearing slippers, be sure they also have nonskid soles and fit tightly. Do not wear loose-fitting or flowing clothing that may get caught on furniture or other objects or cause the person wearing it to trip.
- Safety in the home. Be sure to slip-and-fall-proof your home. Identify and eliminate any hazards that might cause a fall, such as items on the stairs or boxes or toys that are strewn on the floors. Secure any cords and make sure they are out of any common walking areas. Don’t use throw rugs that may slip on the floor and cause a fall, and avoid standing on chairs, tables or other unsecured surfaces. Be sure to clean up any spills in a timely manner.
Following an elderly person’s fall, it is important to seek medical attention and allow time for recovery. Because falls at an advanced age can be scary, it is sometimes possible for the victim of a fall to become afraid of certain activities.
This fear can reduce activity as well as quality of life. Be sure to seek proper physical therapy to rebuild strength and regain an active lifestyle as much as possible; this might help in preventing future falls in the elderly. Of course, these slip and fall prevention tips are important to prevent future falls as well.
If You’ve Experienced a Slip and Fall Accident, Cordisco & Saile LLC Can Help
If you need legal representation in a slip and fall case, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.