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Are the elderly at greater risk of slip-and-fall accidents?

To answer the question as succinctly as possible only takes one word and that word is yes. Elderly Americans are typically at a much greater risk of experiencing slip and falls, and their risk of injury in such accidents is also greater. In many cases, senior citizens are just as vulnerable to injury as small children are if a slip and fall occurs.

Further, there are factors that may contribute to the risk of slipping and falling in an elderly person. For example, a senior citizen with poor vision or crippling arthritis is probably more apt to suffer a fall than other seniors are. Falls can occur in a home environment, but they can also occur at retail establishments, nursing homes, hospitals and many other public settings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some elderly slip-and-fall facts to consider:

  • Every 19 minutes an elderly citizen dies after falling
  • Every 11 seconds, an older person receives emergency room treatment for a fall injury
  • One out of four elderly Americans fall each year
  • Among older adults, falling is the top cause of fatal injuries

The physical impact for elders suffering slip and falls is significant. However, the psychological and emotional effects may be even worse. Older Americans who suffer serious injury from falling may become depressed due to their loss of independence and mobility.

While many slip-and-fall accidents involving Pennsylvania elders are purely accidental, negligence may be a contributing factor in some cases. For example, if the owner of an establishment fails to maintain proper floor care and an elderly person falls, the property owner may be liable in a premises liability lawsuit.

Source: National Council on Aging, "Falls Prevention Facts," accessed March 14, 2018

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