Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Indianapolis

Are You Safe at Home?

Home is not always the safest place in the world.

Marie, 84, enjoys exotic travel: exploring markets in Africa, riding elephants in Thailand, trekking in Peru. Recently, after returning from one such adventure, she tripped over a throw rug in her own home, requiring a visit to the emergency room, a CT scan and several stitches.

Marie’s story, though unique in detail, is representative of a common, preventable problem. One-third of all adults over the age of 65 will fall this year, according to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control. Two-thirds of all accidental deaths among this same demographic are the result of falls. And the majority of these falls occur inside the home.

So what can you do to make sure you are safe at home? The first step is to assess the number of common falling and tripping hazards around you. Here is a checklist of things to consider:

Outdoors

Floors

Stairs and Steps

Kitchen

Bathrooms

Storage

Lighting

Pets

Other

Some of these items carry a price tag that can seem prohibitive, but compared with the cost of an emergency room visit, rehab, loss of independence or even loss of life, they are well worth the investment. If you are injured in a fall, your quality of life likely may never be the same. Even if you have no resulting injuries, you may develop a fear of falling that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: you begin to limit your activities, which reduces your overall health and fitness, which increases your risk of falling. And statistics show that once you do fall, you are more likely to fall again.

If you can’t make some of these home modifications yourself, perhaps a family member, friend or your faith community can help. You might also call your local Area Agency on Aging to inquire about available community resources. Making such simple changes to your home can reduce your risk of falling and can help you stay safe at home, even if you like to travel.

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