IS YOUR HOME STUMBLE-PROOF?

IS YOUR HOME STUMBLE-PROOF?
By Louise Whiteside

     A seasoned veteran of home-based falls, I’m no one to lecture you on preventing them. But at least I can share my own unfortunate experiences and give you the benefit of some lessons learned. One slip on a wet bathroom floor and a slide down the entire length of a carpeted staircase have left me older, wiser and just a bit bruised.

     Falls are one of the top 10 causes of death in the world. In the United States, most falls (about 60 percent) occur at home, and most fractures result from a home-based fall. Falls on the same level, i.e., from a standing position, result in most injuries, and most of these are precipitated by drug and supplement interactions, tripping hazards, slippery surfaces, unstable furniture and poor lighting.

     Here are some tips for making your home safer.

  1. Keep extension cords, telephone cords and wires away from where you could
trip over them.

  2. Remove clutter, including books, newspapers or boxes you could trip over.

  3. Discard any unstable furniture that does not support your weight.

  4. If possible, use a portable phone and carry it from room to room (to avoid
rushing for the phone when it rings, and to have access to help if you need it).

  5. Hardwood floors and smooth tile are slippery. High-pile and shag carpeting
can be tripped on easily. The safest floor coverings are rough tile and carpeting
with a short, dense pile.

  6. Remove throw rugs and loose mats, or secure them to the floor with double-sided
tape.

  7. Increase the available light in your home. Use high-wattage light bulbs. All rooms should have access to a light switch near the door. domain owner . Install night lights in halls and walkways.

  8. Keep stairs free of clutter.

  9. Staircases should be equipped with securely fastened handrails.

  10. Wipe up wet spots in the bathroom. Line your shower floor and tub bottom
with slip-resistant mats.

  11. Keep heavy kitchen equipment on the counter, to avoid the necessity of lifting it.

  12. Avoid wearing “flip-flop” or backless slippers. Wear shoes with slip-resistant
soles.

  13. To reach items on overhead shelves, use a sturdy step stool. Avoid using a chair as a step stool.

  14. Consider wearing an alarm device that will summon help in case you fall and
cannot get up.

  15. If you live alone, have an agreement to stay in touch at a designated time with a friend or neighbor.

     Also on the list: Have your doctor review your medications. Some medicines (or combinations of medicines) can make you sleepy or dizzy.

     Have your vision checked at least once a year. Keep your eyeglass prescription current.

     Participate in regular physical activity, especially in activities that improve balance and coordination. Walking is among the easiest, most satisfying and least expensive forms of physical activity.

     Don’t learn the hard way. Take these simple suggestions to heart, and stay safe in
your home.

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