Older Americans Month: Safety Tips for Seniors

In recognition of Older Americans Month, our Birmingham personal injury lawyers are sharing important safety tips for seniors and their families.

Falls are a leading cause of serious injury in adults over 65. Seniors are also at risk of being neglected or abused in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. In this article, we outline steps for preventing falls and nursing home abuse.

If you or an elderly loved one was injured due to someone’s negligence or wrongful actions, we at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP are here to help. We have decades of experience in litigating premises liability and nursing home abuse lawsuits.

Preventing Falls

According to the CDC, 3 million older adults are treated for falls in the emergency department every year. One out of five falls leads to a serious injury.

Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury in older adults, and they cause more than 95% of hip fractures.

Here are things you can do to reduce your risk of falling:

Talk to Your Doctor

Ask your doctor to assess your risk of falling and talk with them about specific ways to prevent falls. Ask about taking vitamin D supplements, as not having enough of this vitamin increases the likelihood of falling and breaking a bone.

You should ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of the prescription or over-the-counter medications you take may make you sleepy or dizzy.

Do Strength and Balance Exercises

Do exercises that strengthen your legs and improve your balance.

Have Your Eyes Checked

Get an eye exam at least once a year, and update your glasses if needed.

Sometimes, bifocal or progressive lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are. If you use them, you may want to have a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities.

Make Your Home Safer

Remove anything you might trip over and ensure your home has plenty of light. You may need to add more light bulbs or replace the ones you have with brighter ones.

Put railings on both sides of the stairs if you don’t already have them. Have grab bars installed inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.

Protecting Seniors from Nursing Home Abuse

Sadly, elderly people are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. They may have trouble communicating, or be too afraid to tell family members if they are being mistreated in a nursing home.

Family members can help protect their loved ones by following these tips:

Do Research Before Choosing a Nursing Home

When it comes time to look for somewhere to place your elderly loved one, you want to do a few things:

  • Visit the facility and make sure it’s clean and cheerful looking
  • Ask what the staff-to-resident ratio is
  • Ask to taste the food and sample some of the social activities
  • Ask a few residents how they like living there
  • Ask your attorney to review their litigation history and see if they’ve been sued for nursing home abuse or neglect.

Know the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Some of the signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Bruises and injuries
  • Theft of personal belongings
  • Under or overmedicating
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Verbal complaints of abusive behavior
  • Neglect such as bedsores or hygiene issues

Act Quickly If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect

If you suspect your family member is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, move him or her to a different facility immediately.

Document your loved one’s injuries. Make sure you take pictures of any bruises or obvious injuries. Get documentation from the emergency room physicians of any injuries or illnesses.

Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers right away.

Representing Injured Seniors

Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP is here to help seniors who have been injured due to other’s careless or wrongful actions get justice. We have won numerous multi-million dollar jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys have decades of experience litigating premises liability and nursing home abuse cases.

Contact us today for your free consultation.

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