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In the United States, falls are a leading cause of death and injuries for seniors over 65. What might seem like a minor fall for a younger person, can be a very dangerous event for an older person.

Not only can a fall cause death and injury, a fall can threaten a senior’s independence and result in costly medical bills.

Falls common for seniors over 65

Falls are more common for the elderly because aging brings brittle bones, decreased vision, a decrease in activity and changes in balance. Additionally, underlying health conditions such as diabetes or heart conditions can make seniors more susceptible to injury and contribute to longer recovery times. Uneven sidewalk or a poorly lit area might be easy for a young person to navigate, but contribute to a greater risk of a fall for a senior.

Falls among the elderly tend to result in broken bones, hip fractures and lacerations but are a primary cause of head injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of a traumatic brain injury for older Americans.

Traumatic brain injury

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, happens with a sudden blow to the head causing the brain to rock back and forth in the skull. Damage to the brain can include bruising, bleeding or the tearing of fibers. Depending on the injury, a TBI can vary in severity. A mild injury may have minor consequences and symptoms, where a more severe injury can be life-changing and have long-lasting effects.

Symptoms occur at the time of the initial injury, but those appearing in the days or weeks afterward can be even more serious. If you or a senior you know has fallen, watch for the following and seek medical attention:

  • Changes in vision
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

A traumatic brain injury can be serious for a senior, so don’t dismiss the symptoms you may see. A secondary injury, such as swelling, can cause a much more serious issue.

Falls can happen anywhere

If you or a senior you know has fallen in a public location or on someone else’s property, they may be entitled to compensation. Consult an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your options and to ensure the best possible outcome.