Palm Beach County has launched a program to assist older adults with improving strength and balance in an effort to reduce their risks of fall injuries.
Unintentional falls are the leading cause of deadly injuries among Florida senior citizens. In fact, for many South Florida EMS departments, falls are the most common emergency calls for help. Because Florida is home to a large number of tourists, winter residents, and relocated retirees, many of the calls for help come from concerned out-of-state relatives who cannot reach their elderly loved ones.
Data from the Area Agency on Aging illustrates the yearly toll of fall injuries in Palm Beach County: nearly 250 deaths, 5,000 hospitalizations, and over 14,000 emergency room visits. That equates to nearly 40 emergency room visits every day from falls in Palm Beach County alone.
Fall Accidents in Southwest Florida
Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know that falls among older residents are common in our community as well. The coronavirus pandemic has increased the isolation of our most vulnerable older adults, many of whom were already struggling with loneliness, dwindling mobility, and the fear of losing their independence.
We encourage you to take steps to help reduce the risks for elderly loved ones:
- Visit often and keep an eye on their mobility issues. Too often, older people fail to ask for help or admit a decline in mobility because they fear losing their independence. In reality, fall injuries are a leading cause of nursing home admissions. Proactive prevention is the best way to help keep seniors safe.
- Check their living arrangements for risk factors. Clutter, loose rugs, unstable or missing handrails, and dark areas can all increase fall risks. Consider having handrails professionally installed in restrooms and showers.
- Review their medications every year with their primary care physicians. Many seniors see multiple doctors and specialists and the side effects of medications, or of combining medications, can substantially increase the likelihood of a fall.
- Make sure they visit the eye doctor every year. Poor eyesight is a leading cause of falls.
Injuries at Assisted Living Facilities
Our fall injury attorneys know these incidents are also quite common in nursing homes. While lack of mobility results in nursing home placement for many seniors, families often admit elderly loved ones to keep them safe. These facilities are obligated to supervise residents, monitor their medications, and provide assistive devices as necessary. If they fail to meet those obligations and a fall injury occurs, nursing homes can and should be held accountable. When a fall occurs at a commercial location, contacting an experienced law firm is the best course of action.
In many cases, the full extent of damage sustained in a fall is not immediately known. Common injuries include:
- Broken arms, hands, legs, and ankles
- Head injuries
- Broken joints
Seniors are slower to recover from injuries and more susceptible to complications such as infection and psychological trauma. Falling once often triggers an intense fear of falling again, which leads to self-imposed mobility restrictions and reduced quality of life for victims in their final years. Taking a proactive approach to preventing falls is the best thing families can do to help protect the independence of their older loved ones.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.