Who is Most Susceptible to Slip & Fall Injuries?

Slip and fall accidents are relatively common, and they can lead to significant injuries for those involved. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall cases account for more than one million emergency room visits across the United States each year, which make up approximately 12% of all fall injuries.

There is one group that is more susceptible to slip and fall injuries than any other – older adults. We want to discuss how fall incidents can affect older people and give some tips about how you can work to prevent slip and fall accidents.

Elderly Individuals & Slip and Fall Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of people 65 years of age and older fall each year. The CDC says that more than 25% of older Americans fall annually, and falling once doubles a person’s chances of falling again. Across the United States, three million older adults are treated for injuries caused by falls in the hospital each year. While not all of these fall incidents are the result of a “slip or fall,” a significant portion are. One out of every five falls causes a serious personal injury in an older adult, according to the CDC. The most common personal injuries that older adults sustain when they are involved in a slip and fall accident include the following:

  • Dislocated or broken bones (particularly of the wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures).
  • Head injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, can be especially serious if an elderly person is taking certain medications such as blood thinners.
  • Severe lacerations or skin tears. The skin of older adults is much more susceptible to these types of injuries, and even a minor fall can lead to serious skin damage.

How Can I Prevent a Slip & Fall Injury?

The first step in preventing slip and fall injuries is understanding some of the risk factors associated with older adults and falls. Some of the leading causes and contributing factors to falls include:

  • Lower body weakness
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Difficulties with balance and walking
  • The use of various medications, including tranquilizers, antidepressants, and sedatives
  • Vision problems
  • Foot pain and poor footwear
  • Hazards around the home or in walkways, including broken or uneven steps, loose floor mats, or cluttered walkways

Friends, family members, and caregivers can help prevent these injuries by taking various steps. This includes:

  • Talking to the elderly adult’s doctor to evaluate their risk of falling and ask them about preventative measures.
  • Ask a doctor or pharmacist to review medications that may increase fall risks.
  • Decrease the amount of clutter around a home.
  • Fix any uneven walking services.
  • Increased lighting in common walkway areas.

Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that an older adult has proper nutrition and is properly hydrated so they can maintain as much strength as possible. Caregivers and family members can also work to increase the lower body strength of an older adult by helping them through various forms of exercises or physical therapy. Implementing an exercise and healthy diet can help minimize potential serious injury claims.