Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and accidental deaths in persons over the age of 65. According to the Administration on Aging (AoA), in 2014, the elderly represented 14.5% of the United States population which is set to grow 21.7% by 2040, reaching 98 million by 2060. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among elderly persons. Although falls are a common cause of injury among elderly, they are often overlooked.
The risk of falling increases significantly with age. It is estimated that accidental deaths account for 70 percent in persons 75 years of age and older in both sexes. Elderly persons are more susceptible to falls due to long-term health conditions and diminished strength and reaction time. Elderly who fall are more likely to be hospitalized or die as a result of a fall. In the United States, it is estimated that one out of three elderly persons over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year with half of them having frequent falls. Every 13 seconds an elderly person is treated in the emergency room for a fall with 60% of falls occur in nursing homes and elderly care facilities. According to research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 20 minutes an elderly person dies from a fall.
Falls can be caused by medication use, cognitive impairment, and sensory deficits. Any types of falls whether fatal or non-fatal will impact someone’s life. In addition to physical injury, falls can cause a psychological impact on elderly persons, including as a loss of confidence, fear of falling again, and limitations in their activities. This can result in a further physical decline, isolation, depression, and feelings of neglect.
September 1st is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This initiative aims to draw attention to the problem and offer elderly adults practical solutions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), older persons who are living in nursing homes fall more often than those who are living in a community.
Most falls require immediate medical and ongoing attention. An elderly person or assisted living facility might not report a fall for a variety of reasons. It’s important to look at any indication of fall-related injuries, such as bruises and abrasions. Federal law provides guardians and/or relatives a legal right to see resident’s chart and medical records.
If an elderly care facility or one of its employees has acted negligently or has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a fall, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today for a free consultation. Our team is experienced in elderly negligence cases and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the elderly.