Despite increased awareness about elderly slip and falls, the issue is on the rise. A CDC review of the data doesn’t just show an increase, but a massive jump in the number of emergency visits, hospitalizations and deaths since 2007.
Everyone is prone to slipping on something, tripping over a hazard, or falling and injuring themselves. Because elderly bodies are more vulnerable to harm, they make up a larger percentage of those injuries. But not all of them. Many of those injuries are preventable if property owners would maintain or clean up after themselves.
An increase in diagnosed brain injuries
Between 2007 to 2013, the rate of falling injuries for the elderly increased 39 percent, the AP reports. Within that jump, there was also a 76 percent increase in brain injuries – and injury that doctors are now watching for more closely. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries for senior citizens, the CDC says. In total, there are 2.8 million seniors treated for falls each year. Broken bones are also a common injury.
There are different theories as to why the increase in happening, with many citing that more elderly individuals are choosing independent life longer than they used to. However, falls take place everywhere: at home, in nursing homes, on public streets and in shopping centers.
Many falls are preventable
Older individuals are more likely to have health conditions that make them more prone to falls, such as impaired vision or dizziness. While they may be more vulnerable than a full-health teenager, many falls are still fully avoidable. Slippery retail floors, poorly placed extension cords or an unswept or unshoveled sidewalk aren’t just hazards, they are preventable issues caused by negligent property owners who aren’t fulfilling their duty.
These obstacles have a greater effect on the elderly, but anyone might trip, slip or fall when there wasn’t adequate signage or effort to clean up a mess. Falls can cause serious injuries. The body may twist or respond awkwardly to the surprise, or you may fall down a flight of stairs or into a busy street.
Liability and negligence
As awareness of the risk increases, it’s also important to defend your right to safe spaces. If a slippery floor or hazard caused you or an elderly loved one unnecessary pain and suffering, you should consult with an attorney to review your case. While a lawsuit cannot replace the pain and suffering, it may help cover costs and provide comfort as you manage your injury.