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Tips for keeping seniors from taking falls and sustaining injuries

SAN DIEGO COUNTY –

Approximately 66 million Americans care for their aging parents and each year, one in three older Americans fall in their own home.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) knows that a fall in the home can be both life threatening and debilitating.

Older Americans and their caregivers can take a proactive approach using the following AAOS guidelines to help keep seniors fall-and-injury-free.

Tips for the home

• Eliminate all tripping hazards, such as loose rugs in the home.

• Install grab bars or handrails on both sides of the stairway and other safety devices near bathtubs and beds.

• Place a lamp or flashlight near the bed.

• Keep clutter – like pet toys or papers – off the bedroom floor.

• Replace satiny bed sheets with products made of non-slippery material such as wool or cotton.

• Arrange furniture to allow a clear pathway between rooms.

• Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or slip-resistant backing.

• Keep stairs clear of packages, boxes or other clutter.

• Install light-switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. Or, try motion-detector lights that turn on automatically.

• Put non-slip treads on each bare-wood step.

• Consider adding rails to the bed to prevent the sleeping person from rolling off.

• Keep track of pets, as these creatures are responsible for more than 86,000 fall-related injuries each year.

Dress

• Wear properly-fitting shoes or slippers with non-skid soles, throughout the home and especially on stairs.

• Replace slippers that have stretched out of shape and are too loose.

• Never walk with socks or stockings on hardwood floors.

• Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you cannot get up from a fall.

Scott Herron, M.D., is an orthopedic specialist that has an office in Temecula. He can be reached at (951) 693-1505.

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