Thanks to advancements in modern medicine, Americans are experiencing longer lifespans. It is also interesting to note that the quality of life that older Americans experience is increasing, according to senior surveys. However, as the senior population grows, so do the incidences of serious and even fatal injuries associated with slipping and falling.
This increase in slip and fall injuries among senior citizens has posed a unique challenge for retirement communities and assisted living facilities. These facilities, which often don’t have the one-to-one ratio of caregiver to patient like in-home care, are trying to find the right balance between accommodating residents who want to live a free life without restrictions, while at the same time protecting the safety of senior residents who are prone to slip and fall injuries.
The seriousness of slip and fall injuries for senior citizens can be seen simply by comparing the number of fatalities resulting from slip and fall injuries in 2002 with more recent statistics from 2012. In 2002, approximately 12,000 individuals over 65 died from slip and fall accidents. The number of accidents dramatically increased to more than 24,000 in 2012, an alarming 100 percent increase in just a single decade.
Non-fatal injury statistics for both 2002 and 2012 were just as alarming. In 2012, approximately 2.4 million individuals over the age of 65 went to the emergency room as the result of a slip or fall injury. This number represents a 50 percent increase from 2002.
Researchers have seen a connection between slip and fall injuries among senior citizens and diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. In some instances, the medication that people were using to treat their diseases increased the likelihood that they would slip and fall.
If you have an aging parent or loved one who is living alone and you are concerned about their safety at home, there are things you can do to help reduce fall risk. Removing trip hazards and clutter from the home as well as pushing furniture against the walls can help to clear pathways for walking. Grab bars should also be installed near the bed and in the bathroom for assistance and lights should be installed throughout the house so that your loved one’s sight lines are clear when moving from room to room.
Another way to ensure safety is to enlist in the help of an hourly or live-in caregiver in Oklahoma. Professional and expertly trained, caregivers can assist with daily activities and personal care, ensuring safety and maximizing comfort for your loved one. To learn more about in-home care, reach out to Home Care Assistance, located in Edmond, Oklahoma today and schedule a complimentary no-obligation consultation. Call 405-285-4191 – we’re here 24/7.