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Preventing Tragedy: Slip and Fall Accidents Among the Elderly
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Preventing Tragedy: Slip and Fall Accidents Among the Elderly

Every year thousands from the elderly population experience slip-and-fall accidents, with most of them producing serious injuries or death. Therefore, understanding the risks, along with the common causes, and locations in which accidents are most likely to occur is critical.

Understanding the Risk

The aging population is vulnerable to falls because due to physiological and environmental influences. On average, one out of every four Americans aged 65 years and older fall each year. Therefore, falls are the number one leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for this age group. 

Major injuries from these falls include hip fractures, head traumas, and severe lacerations that may impair one’s mobility and independence to a huge extent. The psychological impact, including fear of falling again, can dramatically reduce an elderly person’s quality of life.

Common Causes of Falls Among the Elderly

There are several risk factors causing the very high incidence of falls among the elderly. Poor eyesight, hearing loss, and decreased muscle strength, signs of the natural process of aging, affect the balance and coordination of the body. Dizziness or dehydration caused by medications also increases one’s tendency to fall. 

Most falls happen inside the home where one can trip over such hazards such as loose rugs, slippery floors, and inadequate lighting. Care facilities are not an exception, as the risks arising from such situations as unfamiliar surroundings and insufficient staff supervision may also lead to accidents.

Preventative Measures and Safety Tips

Prevention of falls in the elderly takes a proactive approach. Easy home modifications include fixing grab bars inside the bathrooms, making rugs secured, adding better lights, and removal of obstacles. Proper footwear is equally important with non-slip sole shoes preventing many mishaps. 

Physical activities that improve a person’s strength, balance, and flexibility on a regular basis will play an important role in the prevention of falls. For example, physical activity programs like Tai Chi have been seen to reduce falling risks among the elderly.

Caregivers should also ensure that elderly clients get their vision and hearing checked periodically because these two senses are considered the most important in maintaining balance. Periodic checkups allow for an assessment of health conditions that might be contributing to falls and also for management of medications that might heighten risk.

After any fall, it becomes important to know what legal resources and support systems exist. Under some conditions, where the fall is a consequence of some kind of negligence, perhaps in a maintained facility, it may be necessary to pursue some kind of legal action to seek compensation. Many St. Louis injury attorneys specializing in slip and fall accidents can provide guidance on how to proceed. 

There are also numerous support groups and resources for families and caregivers who are dealing with the aftermath of a fall. Programs and workshops run by the National Council on Aging through local senior centers are great sources of information and support in preventing falls in the senior community. 

In many cases, slip-and-fall accidents can result in grave consequences for a senior. All this can be greatly reduced, though, with an understanding of the risks and prevention techniques, combined with available resources. It is the responsibility of family, caregivers, and the community to assure the elderly that an environment is safe. Let’s take action today to prevent the tragedies of tomorrow.

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