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Each year thousands of men and women are disabled, sometimes permanently, by falls that result in broken bones. Yet small changes in homes and lifestyles can prevent such falls.
The changes associated with aging include a decrease in visual acuity, hearing, muscle strength, balance, coordination and reflexes. These changes can make people more likely to fall.
Older people also are more likely to have disorders that may affect their balance, such as diabetes and conditions of the heart, blood vessels, nervous system and thyroid. In addition, they often take medications that may cause dizziness or lightheadedness.
Taking these steps will reduce your chances of falling:
Many older people fall because of unsafe surroundings at home. Use the following suggestions to safeguard against some likely household hazards.
Besides being clutter-free, stairways, hallways and pathways should have good lighting and firmly attached carpet with rough texture or abrasive strips to ensure secure footing. Stairways also should have tightly fastened handrails running the whole length of all stairs. You may want to double-up on handrails, adding railing to the opposite side of the stairs.
Bathrooms should have grab bars placed both in and out of tubs and showers and near toilets. Nonskid mats and abrasive strips or carpet should be installed on all surfaces that may get wet.
Bedrooms and living areas should have carpet or area rugs that are firmly attached to the floor, and electrical cords and telephone wires should be placed away from walking paths.
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