For those of us with aging parents, it is a frightening statistic: 40 percent of fatal (yes, fatal) injuries among people 65 and older are the result of slip-and-fall accidents. It is the fifth-leading cause of death among the elderly. It's so dangerous, the CDC has an entire fact page on it.
But falls aren't always fatal. They can also lead to permanent reduction in quality of life, making it hard for them to get around or live independently. And fewer than half ever receive guidance or assistance from medical professionals. Moreover, many develop such a fear of falling; they limit their activities, lose physical fitness and increase their risk of falling.
Sometimes, these accidents just happen, but they're frequently the result of someone else's negligence. Unfortunately, because the elderly can develop a decreased reaction time, bad vision, balance problems, issues with posture control and may even have side effects from medications, even seemingly minor hazards can be dangerous (and deadly) for the elderly. Poor lighting, bumps in the carpet, wet or slipper floors, small debris like pebbles on a sidewalk and more can cause them to slip and fall.
Tips for Preventing Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Whether you yourself are elderly, you have elderly parents or other people you take care of, or you're a business owner, it is imperative you know what precautions to take. While only the individual can take some of the precautions, it is important to encourage them to do it if you're a caretaker or concerned child.
• Make sure open areas stay free of debris, tripping or slipping hazards, etc.
• Make sure all areas are well lit.
• Make sure there are handrails in bathrooms and on stairways and they're in proper repair.
• Ensure the bathtub and shower have non-slip mats and that there are non-slip treads on uncarpeted stairs.
• Make sure carpeting is in proper repair (no bumps or frayed edges) and that there are rugs in areas with naturally slick floors (i.e., wood).
• Make sure there are no unnecessary tripping hazards (magazine racks, end tables) in high-traffic areas.
• Consult a doctor or pharmacist to find out which medications (or combinations of medications) may cause reactions that lead to slips and falls (dizziness, etc.) and find out if adjustments can be made.
• Increase exercise — physical fitness may reduce slips and falls.
• Wear sensible shoes with non-slip soles that don't slip off your feet easily.
• Get regular checkups to avoid undiagnosed and untreated problems like glaucoma, balance problems, hearing loss, etc.
• Make sure you see your doctor about any problems like foot or joint pain that can make you less nimble.
What If a Slip-and-Fall Accident Happens
First, seek immediate medical treatment, even if you don't think you're that injured. If the slip-and-fall accident is due to someone else's negligence, consider hiring a qualified Kissimmee, Florida personal injury attorney like the ones at Draper Law Offices. You can contact us at 866.767.4711 for a free, no-obligation consultation.