Injuries to older adults can happen in many places and they can have numerous causes. In some cases, intentional bad acts from elder abuse can result in serious personal injuries to California seniors. At the same time, as the body ages it becomes more fragile and prone to slip and fall injuries. Given the frailty of many elderly persons, another party’s negligence can quickly become deadly. In some cases, it is in the very homes of older adults in California that injuries occur. How can you ensure that your home is safe? If an elderly loved one lives at home, how can you be certain that your loved one is not at risk of preventable injuries? These are questions that were posed recently in an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Identifying Potential Hazards in Your House
About 90% of older adults in America say that they want to remain in their own homes—they do not want to have to move to an assisted-living facility or nursing home. However, hidden dangers may be lurking in their houses that would not pose a threat to a younger resident but could lead to a serious accident for someone of retirement age.
Many common features of Southern California homes could lead to a serious fall that results in broken bones—or worse. Some of the typical features of a house to which the article points include:
- Upstairs bedrooms;
- Bathtub that requires you to climb into it;
- Cabinets up high; and
- Appliances in low cupboards.
As one retired San Diego architect explained, “most San Diego homes are an injury minefield” for seniors who cannot get around as easily. He went on to emphasize, “We’re dealing with an enormous segment of our society and what concerns me is that people are not safe on their own.” The irony is that San Diego prides itself on being a welcoming community with many opportunities for outdoor activities, regardless of age, year-round. Yet for many San Diego residents who enjoy the outdoors, the indoor parts of their lives could end up being the most hazardous.
How to Prevent Accidents
As the San Diego population continues to age, we need to think more carefully about the safety of our homes and social spaces. Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, to be sure, but they do not have to happen in domestic spaces. Although simply asking an older adult to climb the stairs or to step into a bathtub may not be considered negligence under the law, it is important to remember that we do have a duty to keep our properties free of hazards to those we invite inside.
In other words, if an entryway is wet from a rainstorm, it is the responsibility of the property owner to clean it up before someone gets hurt in a slip and fall accident. In terms of the structure and design of homes, elder advocates in the San Diego area have proposed a number of new living developments that would cater to elderly residents by providing some of the following:
- Single-story models;
- Lower cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom; and
- Carpeted, rather than slick tiled, floors.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults, according to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you or an elderly loved one recently suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. An experienced San Diego slip and fall lawyer can discuss your case with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about our services.
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