6 ways to prevent falls around the house

Despite all of the potential hazards around a house — from electrical issues to fire hazards to carbon monoxide — the National Home Security Alliance says that falls are the leading cause of death due to home accidents. Falls are responsible for one-third of all home-related fatalities.

Although seniors are the group most affected by falls, these types of accidents can affect anyone. A broken bone may be a minor inconvenience for young people, but fractures are more serious for the elderly. As a result, seniors must take measures to protect themselves against falls.

These steps can minimize risk at home.

1. Remove tripping hazards. Examine rooms and hallways for potential hazards, such as slippery throw rugs, floorboards that stick up, loose carpeting, or furniture that blocks walking paths. Remedy these hazards as soon as possible. Address loose floorboards and/or place nonslip materials beneath rugs.

2. Install grab bars or railings. Install grab bars in certain locations for extra stability or where someone may need leverage getting up from a seated position. They are particularly helpful near toilets and bathtubs and in stairways and hallways.

3. Stick to sensible shoes. Sensible shoes fit properly and have sturdy, nonskid soles. Avoid walking around in slippers or even in stocking feet, which are much more slippery.

4. Store items within reach. Store items that are used frequently, such as dishes, in easily accessible cabinets and other locations. This prevents having to climb or reach for them.

5. Install more lighting. Poor visibility can contribute to falls. Lighting in hallways, stairways, bathrooms, and bedrooms — even if it is a small night light — can be enough to light the way.

6. Reinforce your home’s exterior. Falls do not only occur inside. Inspect the perimeter of a property for uneven turf, holes or cracked or uneven patches of walkways. Make sure lighting is working at entryways, and check that exterior handrails are secure.

Falls can cause serious injury or death, particularly for aging men and women. Simple fixes around the house can make things more secure and reduce the risk for falls.

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