Millions of people 65 and over fall each year, and one out of every five falls causes a serious injury like a head injury or a broken bone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three million senior citizens are treated in the ER each year for injuries caused by falls.
Falls are the single most common cause of traumatic brain injury. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. Other common injuries include broken wrists, arms and ankles, any of which can be painful and serious.
Did you know that falling once doubles your chances of falling again? Part of the reason is that many older people become so fearful of falling that they give up their everyday activities, but becoming less active can actually increase your chances of a fall.
If you have an older person living in your home or visiting frequently, you need to plan for preventing falls. The good news is that many falls are preventable. Unfortunately, some people are negligent and don’t take the appropriate steps for preventing a fall. That could lead to a premises liability claim.
Don’t let your friend or loved one be injured unnecessarily. Take appropriate steps today to prevent falls in your home.
Understanding the risk factors
Older people are both prone to falling more often and also more prone to injury. Every older person should assess their risk factors and take steps to reduce them. Examples include:
- Vision problems
- Inappropriate footwear
- Difficulty walking or with balance
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Medication side effects, such as with tranquilizers, sedatives and anti-depressants
These risk factors can add up, so it’s important to get the person’s eyes checked, evaluate all medications and work on strength and balance.
Other risk factors can be controlled by homeowners. Here are some tips:
- Get rid of any throw rugs or floor coverings that aren’t tacked down
- Avoid clutter of any kind
- Fix any broken or uneven steps – even small differences in pavement can trip people
- Make sure all your stairs have railings on both sides
- Increase the light in your rooms
- Add grab bars inside and just outside your tub and shower
If your friend or loved one does fall, call for help even if they don’t feel they are injured. Injuries can be more serious than they first appear, especially in older people.