Deaths from domestic accidents have risen sharply

Deaths from domestic accidents have risen sharply

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How to protect yourself from fatal accidents in the home

In the past ten years, the number of deaths in Germany from accidents within one's own four walls has almost doubled. In 2007 around 6,300 people died in domestic accidents, in 2017 there were already over 11,000 people. The most common cause of accidents is a fall due to slipping, stumbling or falling from a ladder or stairs.

The “Safe House (DSH)” campaign evaluated the cause of death statistics from the Federal Statistical Office. The sharp rise in deaths from accidents in one's own house or apartment was particularly noticeable. The DSH sees one reason in the increase in senior citizens, because with increasing age the risk of a domestic accident with fatal consequences increases. The risk is highest from the age of 85.

Falls are particularly dangerous with age

As was shown by the analysis of the statistics, a total of 11,002 people died in a home accident in 2017. The fall was by far the main cause of the accident. 9,373 people died alone from the consequences of a fall. Elderly people were particularly often affected. 7,990 fall victims were older than 75 years.

This can prevent falls in old age

The DSH considers the gradual loss of muscle strength, the decreasing sense of balance and self-overestimation in old age to be the causes of the frequent falls. The experts therefore recommend targeted strength exercises for the upper arms and thigh muscles, as well as regular exercise, especially in old age. In addition, a calcium-rich diet can help to strengthen the bones and muscle functions. Eliminating fall traps and good lighting in the home are just as important.

These complaints and illnesses increase the risk of falling

According to the DSH, other illnesses and complaints also increase the risk of falling and seriously injuring themselves. Possible risk factors are, for example

  • a previous fall within the past six months,
  • a broken bone within the past five years,
  • Osteoporosis,
  • Visual impairments such as glaucoma, cataracts or retinal degeneration,
  • Parkinson's,
  • a previous stroke with walking disabilities as a result,
  • Epilepsy,
  • Dementia,
  • Depression.

These drugs increase the risk of falling

Around half of all people in Germany over the age of 60 take medication. Some common medicines also affect balance and judgment, increasing the risk of falling. These include, for example

  • Sleeping pills,
  • Hypotensive,
  • Sedative,
  • Antidepressants.

Other risk factors and fall traps

In addition to the risk factors listed above, the DSH also names clothing and furniture as possible causes of falls. The home furnishings should be set up so that there is no furniture in the way and you cannot get caught on the furnishings or bump into each other. The clothing should also be chosen so that you cannot step on it or get caught on objects such as door handles. Older people should also wear tight slippers that cannot be slipped out quickly or that cannot easily slip off their feet. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek

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