Falls Are No Joking Matter for Older Adults - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Falls Are No Joking Matter for Older Adults

#AskStevenWilder

Television and movies frequently use scenes with someone falling to generate laughter, but for the more than 650,000 Canadians who visited hospital emergency departments last year for injuries they suffered in an unintentional fall, falling down was nothing to laugh about. Falls represent the leading cause of injuries suffered by older adults, those 65 years of age and older, in Ontario. The three most common types of falls for older adults are falling on stairs, slipping and tripping, and falling from furniture. Recognizing the risks and takes steps to prevent them could reduce accidents and injuries.

Why older adults are at risk

The aging process increases the risk of falling for older adults. Some health issues contributing to the risk include:

  • Dizziness caused by low blood pressure, heart disease and other medical conditions.
  • Impaired vision
  • Muscle weakness and joint stiffness
  • Inner ear inflammation affecting a person’s balance

Some medications, such as anti-depressants and sleep aids, can increase the risk of a fall by causing dizziness or unsteadiness.

Common causes of falls

An accidental fall can occur anywhere and at any time because of conditions associated with a person’s surroundings. Clutter on floors in the home or in outdoor areas can become a tripping hazard for anyone attempting to walk in the area. Children’s toys, garden hoses, electrical extension cords and other items increase the risk for anyone walking. Other tripping hazards people encounter on almost a daily basis include:

  • Wet floors
  • Torn or loose carpets and rugs
  • Loose or missing handrails on staircases
  • Broken and defective sidewalks
  • Loose floor tiles and floorboards
  • Waxed floors
  • Poorly lighted staircases
  • Potholes in parking lots

The owner or tenant of a building or property is responsible for ensuring the safety of individuals entering the premises. Shop owners, for example, owe a duty to their customers to keep their stores clean and the floor surfaces free of liquids or debris that could cause someone to be injured in a slip and fall accident. A person injured in a fall caused by unsafe conditions may have a claim for compensation against the owner or occupant of the premises.

Reducing the risk of falling

Broken bones, herniated disks, head injuries, lacerations and other serious injuries can result from a fall. Older adults can reduce their risk falling and decrease their chances of being injured by taking a few precautions:

  • Exercise improves muscle tone, promotes flexibility and can prevent joint stiffness
  • Schedule an eye examination to check for any changes in vision that might require new glasses or contact lenses
  • Ask doctors or pharmacists about the side effects of medications
  • Use care when walking on wet or slippery surfaces
  • Use the handrail when on staircases
  • Clean up around the house to eliminate clutter, loose wires and other things that could cause a fall
  • Footwear should have nonskid soles and low heels

Anyone who has fallen should talk to a doctor about it even if no injuries were involved. This offers the doctor an opportunity to evaluate the individual to determine if medication or a medical condition was the cause of the fall.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation on behalf of older adults and others suffering injuries in slip and fall accidents caused by the negligence of others. If you have been injured in an accident, you could have a claim for compensation. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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