Question: My aunt is coming to visit for the holidays. She’s already had one bad fall; what can I do to make sure my home is safe?
Answer: Falls can affect all ages. They are the leading cause of injury deaths for people older than age 65. They’re also the leading cause of injury in children younger than age 14. Most serious spills happen at home. Here are some suggestions to spot and remove tripping hazards:
Check rugs in each room. Use nonslip backing or double-sided tape to secure them to the floor, or remove them entirely.
Place any electrical or telephone cords along a wall and tape them to the floor. Try to avoid using extension cords.
Arrange furniture to create clear and open pathways. Make sure that footrests are not in places where someone may trip over them.
Be sure to use night lights in halls, bathrooms and bedrooms. Light switches at both the top and bottom of stairways will help you keep stairs well lighted.
Keep the floor and stairs free of clutter—such as clothes, shoes and backpacks.
Use a rubber mat in the shower, and install grab bars.
Make sure that handrails are installed along both sides of stairways.
Staying active also helps. Regular exercise improves strength, balance and coordination—all of which may reduce the risk for falls.