Seniors who have had limited access to physical exercise and mobility over the past year are reporting frail health and an increased risk of fall accidents that result in injuries.
A new study by the University of Michigan shows that the health crisis of last year meant lost access to their usual opportunities for exercise for many seniors. Even simple walks outside the home became difficult for many seniors in Georgia, and as a result, their collective health has suffered. The study finds that long periods of staying home with only sedentary activity has resulted in frail musculoskeletal health for seniors, and that this has increased their risk for suffering fall accidents significantly.
The researchers surveyed a group of seniors between the ages of 50 and 80 about their access to physical inactivity during 2020, and found that many reported lower levels of exercise. As many as a third of the survey respondents reported that their health declined in 2020, especially during the first few months of the crisis. As many as a quarter reported that they have worse physical health than before the crisis, and that they now have a serious fear of falling.
Many seniors in the study reported having suffered a slip and fall accident between March 2020 and January of this year. As many as a quarter of the survey respondents admitted having suffered a fall. Fall accidents can be serious in persons of this age group, and can result in more injuries. What is even more worrying is that many persons actually reported suffering more than one fall accident. Forty percent of the group that had suffered a fall during the period reported suffering more than one fall. As many as one -third of those who suffered a fall suffered an injury that required hospitalization.
The researchers specifically point to certain groups of seniors who may need more protections against falls. For example, women and African-Americans may be at a higher risk for falls. Moreover, seniors who suffer from loneliness as well as those above the age of 65 may have a higher risk of fall accidents that result in injuries.
Fall accidents in the elderly can mean fractures and broken bones as well as dangerous fractures like hip fractures that can take a very long time to heal, and can sufficiently limit the person’s ability to lead a normal life. With reduced bone density after the age of 50, a senior who suffers fall accidents is at a high risk of debilitating injuries that can seriously impact his life.
If your loved one is an older person who lives alone, make sure that you invest in fall prevention devices, including safer bathrooms with grab bars, well-illuminated rooms and main areas, as well as safe staircases for your loved one. Remove rugs and carpets, or any other items that can clutter a floor and cause a trip or slip and fall risk.
If your loved one has suffered a fall accident on another person’s premises, you may qualify for a claim for damages for losses. Talk to an Atlanta slip and fall accident lawyer at the Katz Personal Injury Lawyers, and determine your legal options to a claim for damages.