Mobility is extremely important for our health and happiness as we age. Elderly people who are mobile are typically better able to retain their independence and stay active into the golden years.
This is why personal injuries that affect an elderly person’s mobility are especially devastating. Injuries do not heal as quickly in old age, confining the elderly person to their home and preventing them from engaging in the activities they enjoy.
For example, if the person used to go for walks in the park, do some gardening, or even go for groceries, and they are suddenly unable to do so, it has a deep impact on their daily life. In my experience as a personal injury lawyer, I have seen the far-reaching impacts of immobility on my elderly clients. Other aspects of their health can decline and they become frustrated with their lack of independence.
There can also be a psychological component to these injuries because the person is dealing with frequent or constant pain, an inability to engage in their activities of daily living, and boredom.
How Are Mobility-Impairing Injuries Commonly Caused?
Slip and fall incidents are one of the top causes of injuries that impair mobility in the elderly.
Older people tend to fall more easily and have more fragile bones, which can lead to a variety of injuries such as fractures in the ankle, leg, or hip, or meniscal tears in the knee.
Seeking Compensation for Injuries Impacting Mobility
Immobility can have a devastating effect on many areas of life. It’s important for the elderly person’s lawyer to gain a thorough understanding of their life before and after the injury, so they can help obtain proper compensation.
Some of the areas that are affected include:
- Pain and suffering (it is important for pain to be accurately described to doctors – learn how to do so in my video about the PQRST method for effectively describing pain)
- Personal care (dressing yourself, bathing, cooking)
- Recreational activities (e.g. walking, gardening, etc.)
- Psychological wellbeing
The injury may make it impossible for them to engage in these activities for some time, or in some cases, forever. Properly quantifying all of your damages from every aspect of life will help ensure a fair settlement.
How an Occupational Therapist Can Improve Quality of Life for Elderly People Suffering from Mobility Issues
I typically recommend an Occupational Therapist (OT) in personal injury cases, as they provide critical input as I quantify my clients’ claims. They conduct a comprehensive medical assessment of their patient’s life before and after the injury, which helps precisely convey damages.
However, OTs are also invaluable from a client perspective, particularly in elderly immobility cases.
An OT will work with the injured person to adjust their environment and life to accommodate their injury and to get them back to as normal of a life as possible. Elderly people may never fully recover from their injury, so achieving normalcy in spite of the injury is of greater importance than it may be with a younger person expected to fully recover.
The OT will also work with the elderly person toward recovery, and at the same time develop plans to keep the elderly person active and keep their minds engaged during recovery. They are also concerned about the safety of the environment and will help make modifications for improvement.
A serious reduction in mobility can have a large impact on the elderly, but it’s important not to give up hope. With a lawyer who will fight for all of your damages and an OT who will help facilitate recovery and a return to normal activities, these injuries do not have to be devastating.
If you have sustained a personal injury at another party’s fault, please do not hesitate to contact me and my team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.
*Roger R. Foisy is not a medical professional. The advice in this blog is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice.
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