Q: Is my father at risk of a fall in a Florida nursing home?

A: Unfortunately, yes. Just because your family member is in an assisted care facility is no guarantee against serious falls. In fact, it may be more likely. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that 75% of nursing home residents fall every year-about twice the rate of seniors living in the community. Why do these falls happen? Florida nursing home facilities are understaffed, and residents can sometimes go hours without a checkup from a staff member. If your relative slips in the shower in a disreputable nursing home, there is a very real chance he or she could wait hours until help arrives. When an elderly person falls, it is especially serious. Due to the degeneration of the human body, the muscles weaken, causing mobility to become less stable. Depth perception and declining vision can cause your relative to misjudge distances, like the depth between steps on a staircase. Lastly, the frailty of the elder’s bone structure can cause much more damage than in a young person, often resulting in broken hips and torn ligaments. A younger, healthier person might repair these in time, but a senior’s body lacks the ability to repair serious injuries and may not recover. There is no way to avoid the risk of a fall-but there are precautions you can take to reduce the chances, giving your loved one respectful and responsible care. If your loved one has experienced a fall or any type of nursing home abuse in West Palm Beach, call Fetterman & Associates today.