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Slip and Falls: Wicked Winter Weather Increases Likelihood of Injuries to Elderly


It’s been a long winter and the Allentown area has had more than its share of severe weather. Navigating icy parking lots and sidewalks is difficult for anyone, but it can be especially dangerous for Philadelphia’s elderly.

Age-related changes make older adults more susceptible to falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of adults over the age of 65 fall each year. These falls result in hospitalizations, long-term disabilities, and death. Nearly 12,000 senior citizens die from fall related injuries per year.

Age-Related Changes That Increase Slip and Fall Risks

  • Medication side effects
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Slower reflexes
  • Delays in reaction time
  • Changes in balance
  • Vision changes and decreased vision
  • Changes in depth perception caused by wearing bifocals

Although falls are a risk anytime of the year, winter weather increases the risk of injury. While many elderly people are independent and self-sufficient, it can be very difficult for an older person to navigate an icy sidewalk, especially if she has mobility problems or vision impairment.

Wintertime Slip and Fall Dangers

  • Ice on sidewalks and in parking lots
  • Snow covered steps and sidewalks
  • Obstructions hidden under the snow
  • Wet floors

Even a minor slip and fall can cause a major injury to an older adult. As people age, their bones lose elasticity and become more prone to breaking. A slip on an icy step can result in a traumatic brain injury, spine fracture, or a hip fracture. Slip and fall injuries can affect a senior’s ability to live independently and care for herself. Slip and fall injuries account for nearly 40 percent of Pennsylvania nursing home admissions. Many of these patients are never able to live independently again.

Allentown business owners must make sure their premises are safe for all visitors, including those with mobility impairments caused by age or disability. Walkways should be free from slip and fall hazards, including snow and ice. If a business does not take steps to protect elderly visitors from slip and falls, the business may be held liable when an injury occurs.

If you were injured in an Allentown slip and fall accident, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. Call Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C. at 888-807-9675 to learn how a Pennsylvania slip and fall claim can cover your medical bills. There is no charge for the consultation.

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