Thirty-three percent of adults age 65 and older suffer from fall down accidents on a yearly basis. In 2007, 18,000 of those falls resulted in fatalities. Medical costs related to fall down injuries totaled $19 billion in the year 2000 alone! Falls in older adults have caused more bone fractures than any other single cause. Those that are victims of an accidental fall injury can develop a fear of falling which could lead to less daily activity for fear that they may fall again http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html.
What can be done to prevent or limit the injury sustained after a fall down? Regular exercise. Not only does regular exercise improve balance and muscle strength, but it has also been shown to lead to a longer more fulfilled life. Many studies show that Tai Chi, a low impact form of exercise that older adults can actively engage in, improves balance. http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/fallspreventionactivity.html Some prescribed medications cause side effects that can affect your balance such as dizziness. One should always be aware of the medications that they are taking and look into viable alternatives if the side effects create a hazard. Another good course of action is to have regular eye examinations and always wear appropriate eye wear to improve vision. Wearing suitable footwear has also become another avenue to battle fall down injuries. Shoes for Crews is just one of the many retailers offering stylish, affordable footwear specifically engineered to be “slip resistant”. Finally, you can make your home safer by improving the lighting, reducing tripping hazards and adding railings where necessary.
“Naturally,” as provided by the National AG Safety Database, “the goal is to not slip, trip or fall, however, the possibility of a fall still exists.” Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent a fall. Perhaps the hazard was cause by another person or the lighting was not sufficient to warn you of the upcoming dangers. The National AG Safety Database gives the following tips on Learning How to Fall. By familiarizing yourself with these tips you may be able to prevent the result of serious injuries.
- Tuck your chin in, turn your head, and throw an arm up. It is better to land on your arm than your head.
- While falling, twist or roll you body to the side. It is better to land on your buttocks and side than your back.
- Keep your wrists, elbows and knees bent. DO NOT try to break the fall with your hands or elbows. When falling, the objective is to have as many square inches of your body contact the surface as possible, thus, spreading out the impact of the fall.
Visit the National AG Safety Database website for more information on slip and falls.
Construction companies, municipalities, retail stores, restaurants, and most establishments open to the public have a duty to keep the premises in a safe condition. If you or a loved one have suffered from a fall and would like to have a free consultation with an experienced attorney, contact Bill Hurst.