As the baby boomer generation ages, falls are among the most significant threats to their health and independence.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, as well as nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions, for those over 65. Nearly a third of older Americans experience a fall, with about one in 10 resulting in a serious injury (such as hip fracture or head trauma) requiring hospitalization. Many require long-term stays in a rehab facility. Some never return home.
In addition to the physical and emotional costs, there are significant dollar costs of fall-related injuries. In 2010, the direct medical cost of fall injuries was estimated at $30 billion – and as the aging population grows, so do those costs.
To combat the crisis of fall-related injury, the CDC recommends a multifaceted approach including addressing physical/biological issues like mobility problems, vision loss and medication side effects, as well as ensuring the proper size, type, or use of assistive devices like walkers, canes and crutches.
Another vital facet in the CDC’s fall prevention guidelines is the issue of environmental risks. As we represent clients in personal injury cases, these factors stand out for us. It’s simply frustrating to see devastating injuries – especially to senior citizens – that may have been prevented by monitoring home environments and public spaces for risk factors like:
- Cluttered walkways and stairwells
- Poorly lit areas
- Wide steps/stairs with no handrails
- Steep or uneven stair risers
- Uneven or deteriorating pavement
- Wet or icy surfaces that are left untreated
A little awareness and prevention can go a long way toward reducing the risk of falls. If you have questions about slip-and-fall injuries, contact a knowledgeable attorney today.