According to the home Safety Council, studies have shown that most senior citizens want to live in their own homes for as long as possible, which often make family members worry about their safety. Studies have also stated that on average a third of people age sixty-five and over will fall at least once each year; and half of those age eighty and older will fall at least once a year. The following are simple ways to ensure a safer home for your loved ones.

Stairs:
Always try to have a well lit staircase by installing lights at the top and bottom of the stairs. It is also suggested to have nightlights in the hallways, bedroom, and bathroom. Be sure to have handrails on both sides of the stairs and steps. Handrails must go from the top to the bottom of the stairs. Outdoor steps and sidewalks should be clear and free of any broken or chipped steps.

Grab Bars:
Install grab bars in your showers and bathtubs. If grab bars already exist, be sure to check for strength and stability.

Medications:
Be sure to store all medications in proper containers. Also clearly mark the containers with the contents, doctor’s instructions, expiration date, and patient’s name. Always use child resistant closures and remember to properly close them. Never dispose of medicine in the trash because children can easily reach it. Try to pour liquids down the drain and outdated pills down the toilet.

Rugs and Mats:
Try to purchase rugs with slip resistant backing to prevent slips or falls. Mats for the bathroom or shower should have abrasive strips on the bottom, or if you are unsteady on your feet, try to use a stool with nonskid tips.

Telephone:
Write emergency numbers on or near the phone in case of emergencies. The contact information should be written in big print and readily available. Be sure to include phone numbers for the police, fire department, local poison control center, and a reliable neighbor. It is also suggested to keep a telephone next to your bed, so you don’t have to reach for it in the middle of the night.

For more information visit the home safety council at www.homesafetycouncil.org