A nasty fall leading to hospitalisation doesn’t seem like a death sentence, but the statistics for older people are alarming because they are likely to die within a year to eighteen months after the fall. This article using Leonard Cohen as an example, shows how we ignore this issue. This one reason we should consider universal design of housing as safe design. The article says, “The cause of Leonard Cohen’s death was not simple old age. As his manager announced on Wednesday, he died following a fall. And as our population continues to live longer and longer, falls are becoming the great plague of the modern era. They are the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly, and the incidence has increased steadily over the past decade. And, usually, they are not an easy way to go—many cause prolonged discomfort.”
The article compares our reactions to a fall to that of a diagnosis of cancer or some other life threatening illness and concludes that we are more worried about a cancer than a fall, which is much more likely the older we get. This is a topic that should be taken seriously when it comes to home design, and not just the design of aged care facilities.