Reducing the Risk of Falling

June is National Safety Month, and it arrived not a moment to soon after Chet had a close call this weekend while trying to clean the last of the autumn leaves out of our gutters. I can’t even watch him climb a ladder anymore without getting butterflies.

Coincidentally, this week’s theme for National Safety Council is:
Stopping slips, trips and falls” so we decided to offer some common sense tips to keep homes trip, slip and fall free. Grandma is a frequent visitor to the Kleen house, so it’s a constant battle to keep Noah’s shoes out of the hallway and Ashley’s books off the stairs, which can be a real hazard, especially since Chet’s mother can barely see 10 feet in front of her.

Falls can happen to anyone at any time, and often our pride hurts more than any physical injury. However, as people get older, the number of falls and the severity of injuries increase. I know I’m going to refresh my memory with these simple fall-prevention strategies:

  • Regular physical activity improves strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.
  • Be careful on wet or icy sidewalks in the winter, and wet decks or pool areas in the summer
  • Always wear sensible shoes that are properly fitted
  • Keep your home properly lit to avoid tripping over objects that are hard to see
  • Place night lights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways
  • Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages
  • Remove clutter in your home and maintain clear high-traffic areas
  • Keep stairways clear of packages, boxes or clutter
  • Secure loose rugs with a slip-resistant backing
  • Store necessities within easy reach
  • Install nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower
  • Schedule annual eye appointments and physical evaluations
  • Know and understand all medications you are prescribed for any side effects
  • If necessary, ask your doctor about assisting devices to keep you steady
  • Drinking and climbing ladders doesn’t mix
  • If working on a ladder, always have a spotter
  • When working on the roof, always have at least two points of contact with the surface

Following a common sense approach and making simple changes to your home and lifestyle can prevent falling as well as the resulting injuries. I’m more prone to accidents or falls when I’m rushing about or not paying attention, so slow things down for safety’s sake! And if you’re significant other absolutely must work on the roof or climb to the top of a ladder, offer to be the spotter, or if they already have someone, just look away and pray for the best.

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