Prevent falls with inexpensive home modifications, from the July 2015 Harvard Health Letter

Published: July, 2015

Most falls are preventable. But every year, more than two million people wind up in the hospital because of these accidents, which are a leading cause of injury and even death among older adults, according to the July 2015 Harvard Health Letter.

"Anything that might trip a person is going to increase the risk of a fall. People with a balance disorder are often unable to recover when they trip because they lack the agility and coordination to do so," says Dr. Steven Rauch, a hearing and balance expert at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Simple home modifications can help reduce the risk of falling. In fact, research has shown that inexpensive fixes at home can help reduce fall-related injuries by about 25%.

Modifications that make a difference include

  • removing floor clutter and throw rugs
  • rearranging the furniture to improve the flow of foot traffic
  • installing handrails along indoor and outdoor staircases
  • installing grab bars near showers, bathtubs, and toilets
  • improving lighting in hallways, stairways, and outdoor walkways
  • installing night lights to illuminate the way to the bathroom at night
  • adding nonslip mats and treads to bathroom floors, outside decks, and outside steps.

These home modifications are generally inexpensive, ranging in price from a bit of elbow grease to a few hundred dollars.

Read the full-length article: "Low-cost or no-cost home modifications to avoid falls"

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