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Fall Injuries Increase Among The Elderly

Steve Wagner

The dangers for our elderly population are increasing each year, as the average age increases, and the health of those aging decreases. For the elderly in our country, the risk of an injury or death as the result of a fall is the greatest risk they face. In fact, in 2012, almost 24,000 people died after a fall, and those numbers are nearly doubled from just ten years previous. In addition to those 24,000, over 2.4 million elderly patients were treated for fall injuries in 2012 (the most recent year for statistics), and in the decade spanning from 2002-2012, more than 200,000 elderly Americans passed away as the result of a fall or fall-related injury.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, many assisted living and nursing home facilities are working hard to improve their living areas and help prevent fall injuries to their residents. Some facilities are installing lighting strips that lead from the beds to the bathrooms in residents’ apartments, while others are adding contrasting color strips to places where falls are most likely (stairs, shower entries, etc). The cleaning staff at some higher-end facilities are trained to watch out for and assess hazards like rugs that can be tripped on, or unstable furniture that might not brace a person in a fall. The NY Times article offers some fantastic visuals to help illustrate the difference the contrast strips can make for elderly people who suffer from yellowed vision, glaucoma, and cataracts, as impaired vision is often the reason for these falls.

Even things like sidewalks surrounding these facilities become hazardous for residents, especially those who cannot see well. Without constant and expensive upkeep, sidewalks and landscaping fall into disrepair quickly. More expensive facilities have the ability to focus on keeping the outdoor areas well groomed and as hazard free as possible, but the majority of facilities don’t have the kind of budget necessary for this type of upkeep.

Many elderly are forced to live in facilities that don’t focus on safe-guarding against hazards, or that can barely afford to keep the minimal staff they employ. The high numbers of fall injuries reflect the quality of elderly care across our nation, and bring into sharp focus the long way we have to go in eliminating hazards for our loved ones.

If your loved ones have suffered a fall injury, or if you have lost a loved one after a fall in an assisted living facility or nursing home, the nursing home neglect attorneys can fight for your rights and help you prevent injuries to future residents of that facility. Get the compensation you deserve to cover the medical expenses and losses you have suffered. Call Wagner Reese today at (888) 204-8440.

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