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Here’s a checklist for preventing falls in your home

Stairways

≤ Make sure all handrails are not broken and are securely fastened.

≤ Both sides of the steps should have handrails.

Floors and rugs

≤ Make sure all floor boards are even and rugs, including area rugs, are secured to the floor with tacks, non-skid pads or double-sided tape.

≤ Use non-skid floor wax.

Bathroom

≤ Be sure that you can move safely in bathroom area, and in and out of the tub or shower.

≤ Remove soap build-up in tub or shower on a regular basis.

≤ Place non-slip strips in bath/shower. Install adjustable height shower heads.

≤ Mount grab bars at the toilet, bath and shower on walls with secure reinforcements, to prevent the bars from coming loose.

≤ Secure bath mats with non-slip, double-sided rug tape.

Kitchen

≤ Items that you use frequently, such as dishes and food items, should be easy to reach.

≤ If you have to use a step stool, make sure that it has a bar at the top to hold on to.

Lighting

≤ Place nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and stairways.

≤ Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.

≤ Place a lamp (and telephone) near your bed.

≤ Keep lighting uniform in each room and add lighting to dark spaces.

All Rooms

≤ Check whether hallways and rooms have obstacles to safe movement.

≤ Move newspapers, boxes, electrical and phone cords, plants, and furniture out of traffic areas.

≤Store clothing, bed coverings, and other household items where you can reach them comfortably.

Outside of your home

≤ Repair holes and uneven joints on walkways.

≤ Arrange to have leaves, snow, and ice removed from stairs and walkways.

≤ Use salt or sand throughout the winter months.

≤ Make sure outside lighting is working in entryways and other walk areas.

≤ Check that handrails are not broken and are securely fastened. Both sides of steps should have handrails.

OTHER ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST FALLS

≤ Assessing your home to identify fall hazards and making the necessary changes to prevent them are significant steps. It’s also very important to:

≤ Ask your physician or pharmacist about the effects of the prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking. Some medications can cause dizziness or light-headedness that can lead to falls. As people age, the effects of medications may change.

≤ Be sure to have your eyes checked every year. Vision problems can cause falls.

≤ Check with your physician about the physical activity and exercise appropriate for you. Stay as physically active as you can. Exercise helps to prevent falls, especially activities that enhance balance and coordination.

≤ Be careful in choosing shoes as they can cause you to trip. The soles should be non-slip and not too thick.

RESOURCES

Many states and local communities have low or no-interest loans, tax credits or other programs for home modifications for those who are older or disabled. Many Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI Native American aging programs also offer a variety of services for assessing the safety of your home and making the appropriate modifications to prevent falls.

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