Prevention is Key: Keeping your home safe and maintaining your independence

Most of us take for granted the safety and security provided us by our home environment. And if we’re honest, we don’t really expect our homes to be the site of a potentially life-altering accident. Home is where nothing bad is supposed to happen. Home is a haven, our shelter from the storminess of the outside world. That’s why it often comes as a surprise to many – I know it did to me – to learn that accidents at home rank among the leading causes of death and injury in the United States (Centers for Disease Control).

It’s frightening to think that whether you are young, old, or hovering somewhere in between, all that may be standing between independence and dependence is a bad tumble on the stairs, a slip on a rug, or a misstep climbing in or out of the bathtub. Scary, huh?

We all cherish our independence and like the old adage goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Want to stay put at home as long as humanly possible? Prevention is the key. Understanding how accidents happen to most people is the first step to making sure they don’t happen to you.

Start off by asking yourself a few basic questions about the environment in which you live:

• Are there fresh batteries in the smoke alarm?
• Are throw rugs stabilized with rug tape? (If older adults are in the house or an individual with a walker, it’s best to get rid of the rugs all together.)
• Are there grab bars in the bathtubs?
• Is there a shower chair in the shower?
• Are medications properly organized and labeled?
• Are there handrails on both sides of the staircase?
• Is a telephone within easy reach of your bed?


Sure, this may seem elementary stuff but wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many of us would respond “yes” to each question?

For those of you who are interested in learning more about home safety, homesafety.org is a great site to check out. There are tons of tips for all different age groups, interactive safe home tours, and there’s even a library where you can watch different safety videos. Now, don’t forget to change those burnt out light bulbs and put those non-skid decals on the floor of your tub!

Go forth and conquer!

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