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How to help your elderly parents avoid a dangerous fall?

On behalf of Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | May 6, 2020 |

Many people do not consider a fall as a serious incident. Slapstick humor reinforces the idea that a fall is trivial enough to laugh at. However, millions of adults receive medical treatment for injuries from falls every year.

A fall can cause broken bones, pulled muscles, torn ligaments, lacerations, head trauma and other injuries. Those injuries can be expensive to treat and can cause long-term or even permanent damage.

5 ways to minimize risks

While a fall can injure anyone, older adults have the highest fall risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 30 million older adults fall every year and about 30,000 of them end up dying as a result of their fall.

Fortunately, many falls can be prevented. Consider talking to your parents about ways they can manage their risks.

Some ways your parents can minimize their fall risks, include:

  • Being mindful about medication side effects
  • Correcting sensory issues by wearing glasses or hearing aids
  • Improving core strength
  • Wearing sturdy shoes
  • Minimizing potential slip or trip hazards in the home

Understand when premises liability may be at play

While it can be helpful to take preventative measures, you and your parent may not be able to prevent every possible fall situation. This is why it is also important to understand your parent’s rights.

If your parent is injured on someone else’s property, it may be possible to hold that person accountable. For example, your mother could be pushing her cart through the aisles at the grocery store. There could be a broken jar of jam on the floor, and if she does not notice it in time, she could slip on the jam and fall. If the employees knew about the hazard but did not take the time to clean it up right away, the store could be liable.

Your parents may be able to take steps to minimize their fall risks, but they cannot control the actions of others. If one of your parents falls on someone else’s property, it may be reasonable for him or her to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other costs related to the injuries.