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Falls: the leading cause of injury among seniors

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While there will always be environmental factors out there that enhance the chances of you falling and hurting yourself, as an older American, you face an especially heightened risk of a slip-and-fall accident. Today’s older Americans often have a number of age-related risk factors working against them that, together, elevate their risk of a slip-and-fall accident. When older people do fall down, they are more likely to suffer serious injuries than those who fall outside of this age group.

Falls are now so common among Americans 65 and over, per the National Council on Aging, that they have become the number-one cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among members of this age group. Just what is it about growing older that makes you particularly susceptible to falling and hurting yourself? Is there anything you can do to help minimize your fall risk? As a senior, you may face a heightened risk of falling if one of the following factors is true.

You recently had surgery

Certain types of medical procedures, such as hip-replacement surgeries, are common among older Americans, but having such a surgery can enhance your risk of falling in its aftermath. For starters, you may need to take painkillers as you recover, which can affect your balance and vision. Furthermore, you may start favoring one side of your body over the other after surgery, whether intentionally or otherwise, and this, too, can make you more prone to falling.

You have decreased your degree of physical activity

If you are like most people who fall within your age group, you may have started getting less exercise as you grew older, and reducing your level of physical fitness can substantially enhance your fall risk. How? When you move less and less, your overall strength and flexibility tend to suffer, and this can make you less likely to be able to stop yourself in the event that you do, in fact, fall. It can also make it more difficult for you to recognize and avoid environmental factors that can lead to falls, such as wet floors or cluttered stairs. 

While these are two age-related factors that can make you more likely to suffer a serious fall, please note that there are numerous other factors relating to your age that can do the same.

If you have suffered a slip-and-fall injury due to a property owner's negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Speak an attorney concerning your legal options.

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