Fall-proof your home
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As you grow older, you may become more likely to fall. By taking the following steps,
however, you can prevent falls at home. The following guidelines can help you find ways to make
your home safer.
- Keep regularly-used items within easy reach, preferably between waist and shoulder level.
- Have a stable stepstool in your kitchen. Avoid climbing on chairs and other unstable objects when reaching for items in high places.
- Make sure the floors are not slippery. Mop up all spills promptly,, and use only non-skid, non-glare wax on linoleum surfaces.
- Place a non-skid rug by the kitchen sink.
- Keep a flashlight and fresh batteries in a convenient place in case of an unexpected power failure.
Hallways and Stairs
- 89% of all accidents in the home occur on the stairs.
- 98% of those accidents occur when carrying something.
- Handrails should extend beyond the ends of the stairs, and they should be shaped to indicate that the top or bottom has been reached,
especially fore vision-impaired people.
- Good lighting is essential. Use 75-watt or 100-watt bulbs instead of 60-watt bulbs. If possible, have light switches at both ends of
a hallway and at the bottom and top of stairs. Install night lights, especially between your bedroom and bath.
- Grab bars are important. They're good to have on the front, back, and sides of a tub or shower, on the wall next to a tub or shower, and beside the toilet.
- If necessary, use a shower chair without wheels and a long shower hose that will let you shower while you remain seated.
Living Room, Dining Room and Bedroom
- Use sturdy chairs. Swivel chairs, chairs on casters, and lightweight chairs are more likely to cause you to fall.
- Your bed and other furniture should be low enough that you do not have to climb to get into them and high enough so your feet are flat on the floor when you sit.
- Make sure that furniture and other items along your most frequently traveled paths are sturdy enough for you to lean on.
- Use custom-fitted canes, walkers, or wheelchairs if you need them, and make sure they are in good working condition.
- Tack or tape down loose rugs. Avoid throw rugs.
- Secure all electrical cords so that you don't trip over them, especially those that cross walkways.
- Make sure that all doors and windows open and close easily.
- Wear shoes with flat or low heels. Apply treads (available at shoe stores) to new or leather-bottom shoes. Do not walk around the house in socks or no-tread house
- Do not walk in the dark. Put a lamp near doorways where there is no light switch so you won't have to cross a dark room to turn on a light.
- Be careful if you have a pet. Don't let it get under your feet.
- Be careful if you have consumed alcohol. Even minor drinking can alter reaction time and balance, especially when combined with medications. Always check with your doctor
before combining alcohol and medications.
- Over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness and alter your senses.
If You Fall
- Sometimes, despite all your preventive measures, you may fall. If you fall, try to remain calm and get to a phone. Don't try to get up - just slide or crawl.
- Be sure that emergency phone numbers are in full view by each telephone. Include: police, fire department, ambulance, doctor, family member or a close friend.
- Know how to use the 911 emergency phone number.