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Falls are often a preventable injury for elderly individuals

Though a slip and fall can happen to anyone, older adults are especially susceptible to falls for a number of reasons. From reduced balance to the need to use canes or assistive devices, older individuals may find it more difficult to maintain the movement of younger years. The New Jersey Department of Human Services provides some information on how individuals can prevent injuries due to falls themselves. However, in some cases, premises liability issues, such as wet floors or poorly maintained stairs, can be the culprit in a fall.

According to statistics, over a third of adults aged 65 or older in the US experience a fall each year. In 2010 alone, 338 older adults died as a result of falls, and the Centers for Health Statistics reports that around 194 individuals over 60 sought treatment for fall injures from emergency rooms daily in 2010.

New Jersey DHS provides some tips that older adults can follow to reduce the chance of a fall. Removing clutter or cording from walkways and stairwells in the home reduces the chance of tripping, and adding lights to stairways helps individuals see where they are stepping. Getting regular exercise improves balance, and talking with doctors about regular medications can help reduce symptoms such as dizziness or weakness.

You can't control every environment you experience, though, and individuals of any age can fall because of another property owner's liability issue. In such cases, individuals who experience injury or damages because of a slip or fall may be able to seek compensation from the person responsible for the premises. This is especially true if the fall would likely have been prevented if the property owner had taken proper action with regarding to things such as maintenance.

Source: New Jersey Department of Human Services, "New Jersey Falls Prevention Awareness Week" Oct. 16, 2014

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