Why are Seniors at Higher Risk of Falling and Getting Hurt?

elder fall in bathroom

Slip-and-fall accidents frequently take place in grocery stores, hospitals, shopping malls, and other places people need to go to. Rainy conditions can make something as safe as a walk in the park into a falling hazard. Unfortunately, seniors are more susceptible to becoming injured severely in slip or trip-and-fall accidents than people in any other age group.

Studies have shown that falls are the leading cause of death from injury for seniors over age 75. They are the second-highest cause of accidental death for those in the 45-75 age range. The CDC reports that each year, 3 million older people receive treatment in an emergency room for fall-related injuries.

It is evident that falls must be taken seriously. Here, we’ll explore why seniors are more prone to getting hurt in a slip-and-fall accident and what family members can do to reduce their risk of falling.

Risk Factors for Senior Falls

Seniors have more risk factors in their lives that increase their susceptibility to falling and subsequently suffering severe trauma. Understanding why this is the case can help caregivers and families take crucial precautions to keep their loved ones safe.

Deterioration of Physical Fitness

The human body undergoes countless changes as it ages. Senior citizens are more likely to be less active adults. Lack of exercise exacerbates the physical effects of aging, which can include reduced muscle strength, a decrease in bone mass, and loss of coordination and balance. Aging without keeping up with physical exercise can also reduce a person’s flexibility, making him more susceptible to falling.

Sensory Degradation

Poor eyesight and age-related eye diseases can hinder a person’s ability to detect hazards. It might be nearly impossible to see a flight of stairs in the dark, the sheen of a wet surface on a cloudy day, and the transition between two sets of flooring. Failing to anticipate falling and tripping hazards will surely increase a person’s risk of falling.

Medication Side Effects

Many seniors are on multiple medications that can cause them to experience dangerous side effects. Common prescriptions for people in their later years yield side-effects that cause drowsiness, dizziness, low blood pressure, and confusion. Sedatives, antidepressants, opioids, and some blood thinners can cause side effects that increase one’s susceptibility to falls.

senior slip and fall in bathroom

Chronic Disease

Certain health conditions can also affect a person’s coordination. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis cause weakness in the extremities, reduced grip strength, balance problems, and cognitive impairment. Peripheral neuropathy is a common condition that causes numbness in the feet, making it hard to detect uneven surfaces.

Hazards Within the Home

Most accidents among the elderly take place in their homes. Because of all the aforementioned risk factors, seniors and their families should take measures to alter their home environment for maximum safety and minimum risk. Seniors who have many different surfaces throughout the home or area rugs might want to change their floors so that they can walk on one unchanging surface throughout the home.

Lighting can also play a role in aiding visibility. Better lighting will help seniors anticipate threats. There are many ways families can pull together to create a safer home for a senior relative.

Fear of Falling…Again

People who have fallen can develop a fear of falling again, which can cause them to exaggerate their attempts at walking safely. Seniors who reduce hazards at home and talk about their fear of falling with their doctors openly are more likely to live without fear of falling.

Falling Because of Another’s Negligence

Sustaining a fall in your senior years because of someone else’s negligence can be as frustrating as it can be painful. Seniors are more vulnerable to sustaining severe injuries as a result of falling and can take months or even years to recover from those injuries. Sometimes, an injury from a fall can be head trauma which cannot be completely healed. In the worst scenarios, these falls result in death. If this has happened to you or a family member, consider working with an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer in Orlando.

Seeking Legal Representation After a Senior Slip-and-Fall Accident

If you believe that your fall or that of a loved one could have been prevented had the responsible party properly maintained their property, you may have grounds for a slip-and-fall lawsuit. At this time, an attorney can be a prime asset to help you understand the realistic outcome of your case and calculate possible damages.

The Umansky Law Firm has worked with the elderly and their relatives for many years representing them in slip-and-fall cases. Our goal is to help you recover the maximum funds to which you are entitled by law for sustaining an injury due to negligence. We will work on your case for free until you win the funds you deserve. Call 407-228-3838 or contact us for a free consultation.