Business owners have a responsibility to take reasonable care to protect people on their premises from falling and injuring themselves.
However, many proprietors do not survey their premises from the point of view of an elderly person, for whom the odds of falling — and the odds of devastating injury — are greater.
A senior can help protect himself by knowing what the dangers are that could make him fall. Conditions that would not affect younger people can hurt the elderly. A younger person might step over an electrical cord in the walkway, whereas an older person might not see it or, with a shuffling way of walking, might not raise his foot high enough to clear it.
Seniors should assess the path in front of them before traversing it. Is the flooring cracked? Is the carpeting torn? If they can’t see well, is there more light available? Seniors may not want others to see them as frail or needy, and so they may plow on through hazardous situations with bravado. No one should be shy about demanding safe conditions on a merchant’s premises.
Instead of working his way around a spill, a senior should avoid it. He should get word to a store employee that there is a dangerous situation that needs attention before he can complete his errand.
If a stairway has no secure railing, a senior should not use it. All it could take is setting a foot down on a pebble for an elderly person to experience a painful and debilitating accident.
Falls happen in the blink of an eye, but the consequences for seniors could last the rest of their lives.