The older they are, the harder they fall. Or so it seems. With winter coming, property owners, as well as seniors and those who care for them, have to be extra careful to avoid slip-and-falls on ice or snow in all of central New York, including Syracuse, Auburn, Ithaca, Geneva and especially the very snowy Oswega areas. Why are slip-and-falls so dangerous for the elderly?
Seniors fall more often, suffer more severe injuries when they do fall, and recover more slowly. Here are some statistics gleaned from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website More than one third of those over 65 fall each year in the United States. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. Falls are also the most common cause of nonfatal hospital admissions for trauma. About 16,000 people over age 65 die yearly from falls. And fall-related deaths for the elderly are rising as the population ages.
In addition to the greater severity of the fractures (often the hip) which seniors face from falls, and the slower recovery time, seniors are exposed to greater risks of complications such as infections and blood clotting, skin ulcers and sores.
Every winter at Michaels & Smolak we experience a sharp intake of slip-and-fall cases against negligent property owners who refuse to spend the time or money necessary to regularly clear their walkways and parking lots of snow and ice. And every year it seems a higher percentage of the victims are elderly.
We believe these numbers can be lowered. Property owners, especially owners of commercial properties, must keep in mind that our population is aging. Our baby boomers are now becoming seniors. Older folks are more likely to slip and fall, and are more likely to suffer severe injuries when they do. More caution than ever should be placed on clearing walkways and parking lots of snow and ice.