Falling is the leading cause of unintentional injury at home among Americans 65 and older. Older people sustain such injuries by stumbling on stairs; slipping in bathtubs; falling off ladders and step stools; and tripping over garden hoses, dog leashes, and household appliance cords.
According to a 2009 CPSC study titled, “Special Report: Emergency Room Injuries, Adults 65 and Older”, consumers 65 and over are increasingly at risk from product-related injuries that occur in or around their homes, especially injuries caused by falling. CPSC estimates product-related injuries and deaths involving those 65 and older cost the United States over $100 billion every year.
The report also cites a number of sports-related injuries and deaths among more active seniors. For example, CPSC noted 100 drowning deaths in one year among those 65 and older, a disproportionate share. Fires are also a hazard. Cooking fires that cause burns, start house fires, or ignite clothing while older people are cooking are a major hazard for seniors.
Older People More Vulnerable
The CPSC study found that people age 75 and older are even more vulnerable. From 1991 to 2009, the number of people 75 and older who were treated in a U.S. hospital emergency room for product-related injuries increased an astonishing 73 percent. During the same period, the number of Americans in that age group grew by only 27 percent.