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Healthy Living: Preventing falls in your home

Woman using a walker as support. (Undated file photo via Getty Images)

Whether it’s yourself or you are caring for an aging loved one, falling is a very serious concern for a lot of people.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates one in four people 65-years-old or older fall each year.  It’s a scary reality that can lead to a host of other health problems.

However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of falls, and it starts with assessing your home.

Nicole Cundy is an occupational therapist with Consonus.  She recommends people do a 'fall prevention' of their homes.  Cundy says it's important people leave themselves plenty of space to get around their home and enough space for a walker to get through without bumping into anything.

Furniture is also important.

"We ask our client to sit in their favorite chairs," said Cundy.  The goal is to make sure furniture is at an appropriate height.  For example lower chairs are harder to get out of.  Higher chairs are a little easier to stand up from, according to Cundy.

In the kitchen, Cundy recommends people arrange their space so they don't have to bend down too low or reach up too high.   In the bathroom, raised toilet seats, grab bars and a shower seat are also important to install to reduce the risk of injury.

Finally, Cundy says pay special attention to rugs as they can cause people to trip and fall.  If you can get rid of rugs, do so.  However, if you prefer to have a rug around, Cundy suggests securing it to the floor with non-skid strips.

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