Is your home safe? More than half of senior Americans that injure themselves falling do so at home. To reduce the risk of falling in your home you should make sure you have done every thing you can to make your home as safe as possible. To make this task easier, it will help to break your home down to six distinct areas. The six areas to be concerned with are floors, stairs, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and garage.
You should make sure your floors are clean, dry and clear of obstructions that could trip you up. Pick up any loose magazines, books or other objects that may be in your way. Throw rugs are generally a no-no but if you must have them make sure they are secured with non-slip tape designed for this purpose. Watch out for wires and telephone cords as these can get around your feet all too easily. Try to arrange you furniture so that your path is clear.
Stairs should be clear of obstacles such as shoes, papers or anything else for that matter. Stairways should be well lit and have at least one railing strong enough to support your body weight. There should be a light switch on both the top and bottom of the stairs so you don't get stuck in the dark. Replace any loose carpeting and repair any loose or broken steps.
Furniture in the bedroom should also be arranged in a way that makes every area easily accessible. If you use a wheelchair or walker make sure there is room to maneuver them freely with no obstructions. There should be a clear path from the bedroom to the bathroom and consider motion sensing nightlights to light your way in the dark. There should be a lamp within easy reach of the bed.
Bathrooms tend to get wet so make sure all surfaces are clean and dry. Your tub/shower should have a non-slip surface. Correctly positioned and installed grabs bars are a must. Also, consider a shower bench and a shower nozzle that can be removed to help you reach those "hard to reach" places. A grab bar or raised toilet seat for the commode is also a great idea.
You may have heard that most accidents in the home happen in the kitchen. Well the truth is that is where we spend most of our time and also where we are most active. Items in your cabinets should be arranged in a way that keeps heavy or bulky objects low and smaller objects high. I am not a fan of step stools but if you must have one make sure it is sturdy and designed for the surface it will be on. Haste makes waste, so take your time and take several trips bringing food and dishes to the table. Try to carry too much and your could end up on the floor with all your fine china.
Well we can't forget the garage, after all it is part of the house. Remember a clean garage is a happy garage. Keep heavy tools low and easy to get to. Make sure trash cans are easily accessible and if you park your car(s) in the garage make sure there is ample room to walk around them. If you can't open the car doors fully to get in or out, back into the driveway before taking on any passengers.
Remember even with the safest house the risk of falls and injuries remains real. If you are over 65 and live alone you should have a Medical Alert System to protect you in the event of an emergency. At Alert 365 we like to say we sell products we hope are never used. It is like a seat belt, you never really appreciate it until you need it.
David has been practicing Physical Therapy in Florida since 1999. He specializes in Home Health and Senior Safety. David is also President of Alert 365 Medical Alert Systems and Monitoring. If you would like more information about the medical alert systems offered at Alert 365 go to http://www.alert365.com. Or visit http://www.alert365.wordpress.com to read and/or subscribe to our blog.
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