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Why slip-and-fall accidents are more dangerous for seniors

Slips and falls are common accidents in stores, hospitals and other establishments that frequently contain wet or slippery floors. Spring showers can also turn any surface into a potential hazard.

However, regardless of the place or weather, slips and falls are always a risk for seniors. Decreased vision and mobility, side effects from medication and health problems all make seniors likelier to slip and fall, making it the number one reason for both fatal and nonfatal injuries for this demographic, reveals the National Council on Aging. The high risk and specific qualities of older adults make such accidents very harmful and even deadly.

Reasons for greater effect on seniors

The CDC reports that 20 percent of falls result in serious head injury or broken bones. Generally speaking, seniors tend to have more fragile health and less bone strength than the rest of the population, making them more susceptible to these severe injuries if a fall occurs. Some medications, such as blood thinners, can make injuries more dangerous.

The resulting physical harm also reduces health and strength, raising the chances of the person falling again. Even just the fear of falling again can lead to a greater risk of it happening due to decreasing movement, leading to physical weakness.

Preventive measures

However, these statistics do not mean falls are inevitable. Taking the following steps can prevent a first or subsequent slip and fall:

  • Doing physical exercise
  • Using correct eyewear and footwear
  • Requiring assistance in walking up and down stairs
  • Moving or avoiding obstacles (rugs, clutter, slick areas)
  • Holding onto railings and bars
  • Walking in well-lit areas
  • Being accompanied by a loved one or health care assistant

Sometimes, preparation is not enough, and an owner's negligence can result in a slip and fall anyway. In such a case, it is necessary to report the incident and hold the owner responsible for the injury.

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