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This Thanksgiving, Think Fall Prevention

Before you take the obligatory post-Thanksgiving dinner nap, take a look around and make sure Grandma or Grandpa's home is safe.

Every year senior citizens are injured from household accidents. The good news is that many falls are preventable by just making a few changes. Here’s a checklist designed to help you make any home safer for elderly loved ones.


Lighting. Dark hallways and poorly lit stairwells lead to accidents. Check that all lighting fixtures are working properly and replace dim lights with high wattage light bulbs.


Switches. Are all light switches easy for an elderly person to reach? Can light switches be found in the dark? If not, have self illuminated light switches installed. Have them mounted at waist level.


Outlets. Are your electrical sockets at the right height? Can they be accessed easily without moving heavy furniture? Do they require bending? If they’re not up to snuff have a
licensed electrician upgrade them. Consider adding surge protectors if you live in an area prone to lightning or power surges.


Appliances. Grandma might be fond of her old stove, but is it still safe and operational? Many of today’s appliances are lighter and easier to use. Consider replacing outdated appliances with today’s safer and more energy-efficient products. Even little things like can-openers may be outdated.


Wires. Look around the house for old, frayed electrical wires. Check for wires running under carpets or rugs and overloaded extension cords.


Stairs. Are steps are free from clutter and any carpeting is securely tacked down? Are the handrails in good shape? Consider adding a night light at the top and bottom of the staircase.


Floors. Highly polished wood floors and shiny tiled bathrooms may look lovely but present a real risk of causing a slip and fall. Where possible install wall-to-wall carpeting or anti-skid mats.


Throw rugs. While they make a decorative touch they also present a tripping hazard. Fasten throw rugs, or better yet remove them.


Bathrooms. The bathroom can be particularly dangerous for an elderly person. You can dramatically reduce the chance of the accident by installing grip bars in shower stalls and near toilets and bathtubs. Check out our bathroom makeover ideas here.


Lists. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers in a large, easy-to-read font by every telephone extension. Keep a list of current medications on the refrigerator (EMS personnel know to look here).


Locks. While everybody wants to feel safe in their home, make sure that they don’t present a fire hazard. A good lock keeps intruders out but does not obstruct exits. A key lockbox is also a good idea in the event of an emergency so that the door does not need to be broken down.


Medicines. Go to the medicine cabinet and properly dispose of expired medications. If you’re elderly loved one has any type of cognitive impairment than you will need to safeguard prescription medicines from improper use.


Emergency Plan. If an elderly person is too weak or confused to get to a telephone the consequences can be severe. Get an emergency medical alert pendant that can be used to call for help.

Did everything check out ok? If so, great! If not, please take steps to ensure the safety of your elderly loved one and help them prevent falling in their own home. And either way, check out this great post on how to tell if a fall is imminent - some great advice here from professionals who always think about fall prevention.

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