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As an adult child, spouse, or significant other, we know that times have changed. We have become older, others in our lives have become older, and health care has changed, and is changing as we print. Your loved one is now at home and in need of health care, but nursing home placement may not be necessary at this time. You have contacted a health care agency, and the appropriate health care needs have been assigned. But did you know that falls are hazardous to you life?

Statistics have shown that falls are the second cause of deaths among women between the ages of 65-84, and fourth among men in that same age group. For those over the age of 85, falls are the leading cause of accidental deaths. If your loved one has a balance or gait problem, poor distance vision, or difficulty with light-headedness when they stand, their chances of falls increases. The condition of their home may need to be changed to avoid the chance of fall or injury. The following is a list of suggestions to change a possible dangerous household into a safer place for your loved one to live.

In The Kitchen:

  • Items used daily should be kept at easy reach.
  • Floors should be cleaned immediately of any grease, water or food spills.
  • Have a fire extinguisher in an accessible spot and know how to use it safely.
  • When cooking, wear clothes that are close to the body and roll up long sleeves that may be loose.
  • Check electrical cords for defects and replace if necessary.
  • Keep electrical cords from hanging over the edge of the counter or too close to the stove.
  • Check refrigerated foods periodically for freshness.

In The Bathroom:

  • Clean floors of any water spills.
  • Install grab bars in bath and shower.
  • Use non-skid mats in and out of the bath.
  • Check hot water temperatures.
  • Keep electrical cords away from water.
  • Keep all medication in easy reach of your loved one, but out of reach of the wrong hands.
  • Take all medications as ordered, and on time.
  • Have someone premeasure medications and utilize a medication box and timetable.

Other Rooms:

  • Install smoke detectors and replace batteries regularly.
  • Exits should be clutter free and easily accessible.
  • Remove all carpet runners and scatter rugs.
  • Move, or remove, furniture in walkways.
  • Know where your pet is before walking.
  • Install handrails and lights on stairs.
  • Keep telephone cords off floors.
  • Always keep emergency telephone numbers near the telephone or preprogramed, if possible.

Outside The Home:

  • Have handrails installed on both sides of stairs.
  • Keep walkways in good repair and free of any obstacles.
  • Beware of uneven surfaces.
  • Install lights around stairs.

   American Physical Therapy Association


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