While some environmental factors, such as icy sidewalks and cluttered staircases, can make anyone fall, you are even more likely to find yourself a victim of such circumstances as you age. Why? As you grow older, many parts of your body begin to deteriorate, and there are also other factors at work that make you more likely to fall and suffer an injury as a senior.
According to AgingCare.com, falls are the single-most cited reason older Americans die, hurt themselves and go to the hospital each year, with one in four seniors 65 and over suffering a fall every year. Why are you, as an older person, at a heightened risk of a slip-and-fall accident? There are several reasons you become more likely to fall as you age, and they might include:
A decrease in your level of activity
If you are like many aging people, you may notice that the amount of physical activity you enjoy might decrease over time. As you move less, however, balance, strength and flexibility can suffer, making you less likely to be able to stop yourself from falling.
Diseases and medications
As you grow older, you may develop arthritis or Alzheimer’s disease, both of which can make you more likely to fall. Arthritis can cause weakness and poor grip strength, making it hard for you to stop yourself from falling, while Alzheimer’s disease can cause problems with balance and cognition, further contributing to your risk of an injury.
Many people find that their vision worsens as they age, and if you are among them, you may find it hard to spot potential obstructions in your path. Loose or folded carpeting, for example, may be more likely to make you fall if you have an age-related eye disease, and slippery floors and icy sidewalks pose similar hazards.
While there are some steps you can take to reduce your fall risk, such as always wearing glasses or contacts, if prescribed, some circumstances are beyond your control. If you suffer a fall because someone else acted negligently, you may be able to seek legal and financial recourse.