Two New Studies Focus on Slip and Fall Accidents Among Elderly
Can Fearing a Fall Cause a Fall?
Fort Worth, TX – June 22, 2010 - Two new studies just released address slip and fall accidents among the elderly.
The first study, by Harvard University, found that a “stiffening” of blood vessels in the brain of senior citizens increases their chances of falling by as much as 70 percent.
The study, released in May 2010 and conducted by neurologists at Harvard University, involved 420 people over the age of 65. *
The researchers found that along with health issues, environmental factors such as poorly maintained floors play a key role in increasing the chances of slip and fall accidents among the elderly.
“More than a third of the people involved in slip and fall accidents are over 65,” says Gary Pelphrey, general manager of Powr-Flite Direct, a leading manufacturer of professional cleaning equipment. “One reason for this is that elderly people are [so] much more mobile today than they were years ago.”**
The other study, also published in May 2010 and conducted by the Neurological Hospital and Health Center of the Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany, found that simply fearing a fall might actually cause a fall among the elderly.
The researchers reported that elderly individuals are often concerned about falling in public places like shopping centers, stores, and building lobbies, causing them to change their gait and body movements when walking. This “gait change” leads to the fall.
These studies should be taken seriously by cleaning professionals, according to Pelphrey. “When there is a [slip and fall] accident, typically the first thing called into question is how well the floors have been maintained.”
Along with selecting more advanced floor care equipment to help prevent slips and falls, Pelphrey says proper and ongoing floor care training and education is a must for floor care technicians.
* Source: Harvard Gazette and the Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2010
** According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention