Falls are a significant source of injury, disability and death to older adults — and by “older” we mean pretty much anybody 45 years of age or older. Younger people and kids simply tend to endure better — and heal faster — when they fall than people who have reached midlife or later.
Here’s the thing: Research has long indicated that the majority of falls taken by adults out-of-doors are entirely preventable through just a little bit of environmental management. So what contributes to many falls in adults when they’re out and about?
- Uneven curbs, sidewalks and streets: The vast majority of falls outside — around 70% — occur on a hard surface like asphalt or concrete. Most people were simply walking along when they fell — essentially losing their balance on uneven or damaged ground.
- Badly-designed parking garages: A large number of people who fall outside do so in a parking deck or garage. Most of the time, they’re tripping over the short curbs that are placed in and around spaces as guides for vehicles. This indicates that parking garages aren’t being designed with human beings in mind so much as being designed simply to store vehicles.
- Objects on the ground: Naturally, objects on the ground that shouldn’t be there are also a significant source of falls and injuries. Far too often, debris is allowed to accumulate in a parking lot or on a store’s floor — and that’s a prescription for trouble when there are shoppers around.
While people can hope to reduce the chances of a fall inside their own homes fairly easily, guarding against a fall in public is much harder. There are a lot of variables — and the responsibility is usually on the property owner to make sure that the grounds are kept reasonably safe.
If you were injured in a fall on another person’s property, find out if you have a right to financial compensation for your injuries.