Falls are unfortunately common for elderly people. According to a study by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), one in four Americans over age 65 experience a fall each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an elderly adult dies from a fall. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.

In winter, the problem becomes even more urgent because of slippery conditions due to snow and ice. Seniors who fall may experience not only injury from the fall but injuries related to exposure, particularly if they’re alone.

Keeping the Elderly Safe in Snow and Ice

During winter, it’s important that you keep your walkways, driveways, and pathways shoveled for snow and treated for ice. Encourage elderly people to be careful when they are out and about, dress appropriately, use canes and walkers if they need to, or assist them in and out of the car. Also encourage the elderly to ensure they dress warmly when they go out in winter weather, including footwear with treads to help prevent slipping, glove, hats, and warm coats. In the event of a fall, it may be some time before an ambulance can arrive.

Falls Impact Seniors’ Future Health

Falls often result in an injury that requires extensive medical care and therapy. Pain medications can worsen memory problems, and a lack of mobility from injury can worsen seniors’ health rapidly, leading to problems such as obesity and diabetes, blood clots, surgical complications, infections and an inability to care for themselves in their own homes.

Falls Are Costly

In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion, according to NCOA data. Medicare and Medicaid paid for about 75 percent of these costs, so prevention makes good financial sense, particularly as American Baby Boomers age into their senior years. The financial toll for falls by senior citizens is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020. For homeowners and businesses, insurance can help absorb any costs.

Be Certain You’re Properly Insured

Falls are a risk for any homeowner or business owner, especially if they result in a lawsuit. Ensure your policy has been updated to cover personal injury. For businesses, a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy can help protect your business against many common claims, including on-site injuries. In Connecticut, Petruzelo Insurance offers personal and business policies that fit your needs and protect your home and business. Call us at 866-479-3327 or visit our web site for more information.