Make your home safe from slips and falls

Follow these steps to help make your home safer for you and your family

Frigid, icyweather is when we typically think about the hazards of slipping and falling.In truth, falling is a risk for seniors throughout the year. So when you’rethinking about getting your walkway shoveled and salted, take a few minutes tothink about other ways to stay safe from slips and falls all year long. 

Stay active. Regular activity is one of the most importantways to lower your chance of falling. It makes you stronger and helps you feelbetter. Activities that improve balance and coordination (like tai chi) are themost helpful.

“Lack ofexercise leads to weakness and increases your chance of falling,” said Alison A. Tucker, M.D., family medicine, Norton Community Medical Associates.“Ask your doctor or health care provider about the best type of exercise foryou.”

Review your medicines with your health provider. Your doctoror pharmacist should review all the medicines you take, even over-the-countermedicines.

“As you getolder, the way medicines work in your body can change,” Dr. Tucker said. “Somemedicines or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy, which cancause you to fall.”

Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor once a year. You may bewearing the wrong glasses or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts thatlimits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chance of falling.

Make your home safer. About half of all falls happen at home.To make your home safer, try these tips:

Removethings you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes and shoes) from stairsand high-traffic areas.

Donot use throw rugs.

Keepitems you use often in cabinets you can easily reach without a step stool.

Havegrab bars installed next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.

Usenonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.

Improvethe lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to seewell.

Havehandrails and lights installed on staircases.

Wearshoes inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers,which can increase your chance of slipping.

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