When it comes to accidents, slip and falls are not always the first thing that comes to mind. However, for older adults, these seemingly minor mishaps can lead to serious consequences.
Bodies change over the years, making many people more vulnerable to slipping and falling. Those over 65, property owners and caretakers should understand why older adults face a higher risk of slip and fall accidents and review ways to prevent them.
Understanding the risk
As people age, muscles and bones tend to weaken, resulting in reduced coordination, balance and flexibility. This physical decline makes it harder to react quickly to prevent falls or to withstand their impact. Additionally, certain medical conditions can further increase the risk. Changes in vision, hearing and mental function can also contribute to a senior’s vulnerability to accidents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that three million adults 65 and older received emergency department treatment due to fall-related injuries over the course of 2020.
Regular exercise that includes strength and balance training can help maintain muscle tone and improve stability. Home modifications, such as installing grab bars in bathrooms and removing tripping hazards like loose rugs or clutter, can reduce the chances of falls. Wearing proper footwear with non-slip soles and avoiding loose-fitting shoes can also improve stability and decrease the risk of losing footing.
Eye and hearing exams can identify any limitations in these senses. Furthermore, speaking with a healthcare provider to review medications can help, as some drugs can cause dizziness or affect balance. By focusing on these issues, business and property owners as well as older adults and those who help care for them can reduce the likelihood of a fall-related accident.