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Cutting the Risks of Falls in the Home

November 17, 1997|MARTIN MILLER

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people 65 and older in the United States. Most falls involving the elderly occur in the home during everyday activities. Here is a list of tips to minimize the risk of falling in your home from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:


* Provide enough lighting to see steps clearly.

* Keep steps free from clutter.

* Cover stairs with tightly woven carpet or nonslip treads.

* Install sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairway.


* Avoid climbing and reaching to high shelves.

* Use a stable step stool with handrails.

* Arrange storage at counter level.

* Clean up spills as soon as they happen and don't wax floors.


* Keep a night light on in the bathroom.

* Use bathroom rugs with nonskid backing.

* Install handrails in the bathtub and toilet areas.

* Place a rubber mat or nonskid strips on the bathtub / shower floor.

* Leave the bathroom door unlocked so it can be opened from both sides.

Living Area

* Arrange furniture to provide an open pathway between rooms.

* Remove low tables, footrests and other items from pathways.

* Keep electrical and telephone cords out of pathways.


* Remove throw rugs, extension cords and other floor clutter.

* Install a bedroom night light.

* Use a normal height bed. Before getting out of your bed, sit on the edge for a time to make sure you are not dizzy.

For more information, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' Web site at or call (847) 823-7186.

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