The effects of a fall on an older person prove that it’s a significant health risk that can’t be overlooked.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one out of four seniors falls every year. But while a significant portion of adults aged 65+ fall, the effects vary depending on how and where the accidents happen. A fall can lead to physical effects like hip fractures and bruises in some cases.
In others, the effects can be social or even psychological, significantly impacting an individual’s quality of life.
Physical Effects of a Fall on an Older Person
When we hear a person has suffered a fall, the first question we might ask is, “Are you hurt?” This question aims to discover whether the individual suffered any physical effects from their accident. The physical consequences of a fall vary depending on the nature of the accident.
The physical effects of a fall can be summarized into the following categories:
- Fractures: Aging brings many changes in the body, and one condition older adults develop is weaker bones. A fall can lead to a partial or complete break in bones at the hip, forearm, or back.
- Immobility: After an accident, an individual might have trouble moving. Prolonged immobility might lead to other health problems like pressure sores, bone loss, and muscle wasting.
- Pain or discomfort moving: A fall can lead to a sprain in the back, neck, or limbs. The pain might affect the victim’s ability to move independently for long periods.
- Unsteady walking: Injury to the hip or ankle can make walking a tedious task. Individuals might walk unsteadily as they cope with the unhealed limb.
Intangible Effects of a Fall on an Older Person
Seniors are aware of how dangerous falls can be and how dramatically they can change lives. While a fall can create physical consequences, prolonged recovery can cause further effects. For instance, an older person might not be able to go out after a fall, missing out on social events.
The intangible effects of a fall can include:
- Loss of independence: An injured senior might require 24/7 assistance from family or friends. This could be a significant change in their lives, resulting in moving to a care home.
- Inability to exercise: Exercise improves an individual’s wellness, but activities might be impossible after physical injuries. Morning walks or yoga might not be possible after a fall.
- Financial burden: A fall can require surgery and extensive hospitalization as the individual heals. The costs involved with medical attention can create financial obligations for the retired senior.
- Decreased quality of life: A fall might damage an individual’s life since they remove them from their usual patterns. Time away can destroy social contracts and connections.
Psychological Effects of a Fall on an Older Person
While ailments affect everyone at any age, the effects can be more pronounced for seniors. Aging limits a body’s ability to regenerate, forcing one to live with the consequences for longer. The long road to recovery can be traumatic for an older person who might suffer fear and anxiety.
Psychological effects can be so severe that they place the older person at risk of more falls.
The psychological effects of falls include:
- Frustration and anger: A fall can turn an independent senior adult into someone who can’t do anything on their own. Feelings of frustration and anger can arise, affecting their personality and attitudes.
- Fear: A fall down a flight of stairs can be traumatic, and an individual might fear going up and down the stairs after that. This can make them avoid certain places or activities.
- Low self-esteem: The inability to care for oneself can lead to a loss of confidence and esteem. The lack of confidence can create feelings of inadequacy.
- Inconvenience: The usage of walking aids is a common solution after a fall. Using walking aids can be embarrassing, troubling, and a major inconvenience for an individual.
How to Prevent a Fall As an Older Person
While falls are unfortunate and dangerous for individuals, you can prevent them. To reduce the risks of falling, you can make decisions to keep yourself safe. One approach is talking to your doctor to evaluate your risks of falling.
Sometimes, medication can make you sleepy and susceptible to falls. Strength and balance exercises can improve your limb strength, ensuring that you walk more steadily. Getting your eyes checked or wearing eyeglasses can help you avoid tripping hazards. Finally, you can add grab bars and rails around your home to navigate more safely.
Our Legal Team Is Ready to Help You Secure Damages After a Fall
Slip and fall accidents are common for older people, and sometimes, the causes can be external. If you suffer from a fall, you could be eligible for compensation, and we could help you file a slip and fall claim. George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is always open to helping you explore your options.