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Dangers of elevators for seniors

For elderly people in Pennsylvania with mobility issues, elevators can afford them the ability to go places that would not otherwise be accessible, maintaining at least some measure of normalcy and independence. However, elevators can also pose dangers that many seniors and their family members may not be aware of until it is too late and an accident occurs. 

Home Care Assistance Cincinnati cites a 2010 study demonstrating that thousands of elderly Americans injure themselves in or near elevators seriously enough to warrant hospitalization on a yearly basis. One of the most significant dangers that an elevator poses to an elderly person is the automatically closing door that can slide shut before the individual gets clear of them. Other elevator-related injuries involved a fall when getting on or off the elevator due to a slip or trip. It may be possible to mitigate these hazards by having someone else hold the door, if possible, and to take one's time when entering or exiting the elevator. 

Elevator accidents among the general population, including but not limited to the elderly, may be on the increase. The Center for Construction Research and Training presents an analysis of data that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission collected in emergency rooms over a 10-year span from 2007 to 2017. During that time, the data demonstrated a rise in elevator-related injuries requiring treatment in the emergency room from 19,000 to 25,000, an increase of 30%. It is significant, however, that the data analyzed were not specific to elevator accidents but also involved injuries sustained on escalators. The scope of the analysis does not indicate a possible cause for the increase. 


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