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Home Safety for the Holidays: How to Prevent Falls in Your Home

As age creeps up, you may begin to notice certain aches and pains that you don’t recall having before, and how you just aren’t as quick to get up as you used to be. But what you might not consider is the potential hazard your home can now turn into, especially as your bones become more brittle and subject to breakage.  As a preventative measure, there are some simple adjustments you can make to your surroundings to help prevent falls and reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Implement these simple tips to avoid potential slip-and-fall incidents:

First of all, be sure all stairs in the home have a well-secured handrail.  Another simple step to preventing a fall is to install handrails in the bathroom -- at the toilet, tub and shower.  Again, as you get older, you will have increased need for these types of aids. Take an objective survey of your home, and install handrails where logical.

A common trip hazard in the home can be the area rugs.  Secure throw and area rugs to the floor with double stick tape, making sure to firmly fasten the corners.

Make sure that walkway areas are well-lit.  As you get older, your retinas are not as efficient at perceiving light.  Increase the wattage of light bulbs in the fixtures in your house, add a nightlight to bedrooms and bathrooms, and be sure to have a light source at the top and bottom of all stairways.

Making often-used items more accessible in the home will also reduce the risk of accidents by avoiding excessive reaching and the use of step stools.

Other assistive devices to consider using are canes or walkers.  Most people wait until there is a serious accident requiring the use of such a walking aid before considering this form of assistance.  Try to begin using either as an aid from time to time, before it is absolutely necessary.  Not only can doing so prevent an accident, but it will also gradually build the muscles necessary for cane or walker use if it does become a necessity.

Another means of preventing falls is to have regular checkups – including vision.  Sometimes an un-noticed change in health will increase the risk of a fall.  Your healthcare provider is better able to recognize if there is a problem, perhaps a balance issue resulting from an inner ear condition, or if there is vision loss.  Your doctor or other healthcare provider will also be able to closely monitor any medications you might be on for side effects and cross medicating (which may result in dizziness or muscle weakness).

As you age, it’s easy enough to ignore the potential risks of your environment until it’s too late. In many cases, you can help prevent falls simply by taking measures to prepare for age-related difficulties before they become a reality.

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