Reducing falls

Falling can cause life altering conditions, dramatically changing a person’s lifestyle. Take these simple precautions to avoid falls.

Falling is one of the leading causes of loss of independence in the elderly. Falls are more common in elderly and people with chronic disease but can happen to anyone, and the results can be life-changing. Michigan State University Extension recommends taking precautionary steps to avoid falls in and around your home.

Survey your home starting first with your floor. Look for uneven floor boards or other areas that may be tripping hazards. One of the most common tripping threats is area rugs that are not secured to the floor. Make sure all rugs are tacked down to the floor or secured with double sided tape or non-skid pads. Next look at the stairways, make sure all handrails are securely fastened and that both sides of the steps have handrails.

Poor lighting is another source of accidental falls. Make sure to have nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and stairways. Try to install light switches at both the top and bottom of any steps, as well as at all entrances to a room. Keep a lamp close to your bed to avoid falls at night. Try to eliminate any dark areas that could trip you or anyone in your home.

Bathrooms and kitchens are also danger zones for slips and falls. This can be remedied by some quick and easy steps. Mounting grab bars to aid in exiting and entering the shower as well as adding non-slip strips to the bath or shower can eliminate some of the danger. Using an adjustable shower head can also reduce the danger. In the kitchen, wipe up spills quickly. Keep items you use frequently in low, easy to reach places. If a stool is necessary, make sure there is a bar at the top to reach for to use as support.

Checking your home regularly for these hazards and maintaining these steps can reduce your risk of falls and lead to a long independent life. For more information on managing your chronic disease, visit www.msue.msu.edu.

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