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home : local news : local news
September 22, 2020

8/29/2020 8:40:00 AM
Aging in place and home safety
Take a stand to prevent falls

Most adults prefer to age in place-that is, to remain in their home of choice as long as possible. Although they feel safest in their own homes, it can be a surprise to learn that falls are the most common home accidents for older adults. Six out of every 10 falls happens at home. Physicians report that 69% of injuries are most likely to occur in the bathroom, followed by the bedroom at 13%. Homes are a great place to begin to "Take a Stand to Prevent Falls! To decrease risk of a fall injury, it is recommended that older adults survey their homes to identify potential hazards and make changes now to safely age in place. Here are some tips to help get started:

• Use a raised toilet seat or grab bar that's installed to structural supports in the bathroom wall if standing up from the toilet is difficult. A vertical clamp-on grab bar on the tub provides support when stepping in/out. Use a non-slip bathmat.

• Remove items from walkways and rearrange furniture to open passageways. Place cords against a wall where people can't trip.

• Purchase rugs with slip-resistant backing. Remove rugs that tend to slide.

• Use the maximum recommended wattage bulb allowed in the light fixtures. Color contrast edges of steps or, at top and/or bottom of stairs if difficult to distinguish changes of elevation.

• Consider various means of carrying a portable/mobile phone for emergency calls, such as in a pocket, armband, low profile cross-shoulder bag/holster, lanyard holder, fanny pack.

Helpful reminders:

• Wear supportive non-slip footwear; even within the home.

• Wipe up spills immediately to avoid slipping on a wet surface.

• Arrange frequently used items in easily accessible locations to prevent the need to use a ladder. If necessary, use a proper step stool with a hand rail. Never use a folding chair.

• Keep a flashlight and the phone near the bed. Use night lights.

• Make sure smoke detectors work and have fresh batteries.

• Use railings when climbing steps. Install railings if none are present. When carrying items leave one arm free to hold on to railing for support.

• Install motion-sensitive lights around home entrances.

• Take the time needed when walking on unleveled surfaces. Don't hurry.

• When balance is challenged with tasks, increase support. Place a hand on the kitchen counter when reaching up/down in kitchen cupboards.

• Teach pets to follow commands. They can inadvertently get under foot and cause a fall.

• To safely age in place perform a yearly safety check of the home.

• Overall, maintain good health and be as fit as possible. Eat healthy and remember to stay hydrated. If experiencing dizziness, vertigo, or falls, talk with a health care provider.

Celebrate National Falls Prevention month! "Take a Stand to Prevent Falls." Assess the home and make helpful changes now to prevent a potential injury in the future. For more resources, informative videos, the Falls Prevention Bingo game and a Fall Prevention Home Safety Checklist, visit the Cass County's Live Healthy website, including Fall Prevention Home Safety Checklist:

http://www.co.cass.mn.us/livehealthy/falls_prevention.php.


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