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Hidden Hazards

Each year, thousands of older Americans fall at home. Many of them are seriously injured, and some are disabled. Remember, it's much easier to prevent a fall than it can be to recover from it.

Can you find the Hidden Hazards?

Although anyone can fall, as a person ages falls become more common and more serious. The good news is that older adults do not need to let the fear of falling rule their lives. Many falls can be avoided by removing hidden hazards.

Click your mouse in the house to help find the hidden hazards that can lead to a fall.

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Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won't slip.
Organize your cabinets, keeping things you use often on the lower shelves, about waist high.
Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone.
Place a lamp close to the bed where it is easy to reach.
Keep flash lights handy in the event of a power outage.
Make sure you have a clear path around furniture.
Coil or tape cord and wires next to the wall so you can't trip over them.
Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won't slip.
Make sure papers and magazines are discarded after use.
Coil or tape cord and wires next to the wall so you can't trip over them.
Make sure you have a clear path around furniture.
Have your doctor or pharmacists look at all the medicines you take, even over the counter medicines.
Put in grab bars next to the toilet.
Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won't slip.
Put a non-slip rubber mat or self stick strips on the floor of the tub or
Get a new, steady step stool with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair as a step stool.
Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won't slip.
Pick up shoes or other clutter from the floor.
Fix loose or uneven steps. Make sure handrails are secured on both sides of the stairs and are as long as the stairs. Make sure carpet is firmly attached.
Have a handyman or electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Avoid using patterned or deep pile carpeting. Solid colors show the edges of the steps more clearly.
Put in a night-light so you can see where you are walking.
Put grab bars inside the tub of shower.
A mounted or suction liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub/shower all may reduce the risk of falling while reaching.

Hidden Hazards in your Home - Summary

In addition to the hidden health hazards you helped Alistair uncover, the following 5 general tips can help you remain safe in your home.
  1. Shoes - Make sure your shoes are not slippery or easily grabbed by the carpet.
  2. Light - Improve the lighting in your home. Use 100 watt bulbs, as light takes longer to reach the back of your eye where you sense color motion. Note: Only use higher watt bulbs if they do not exceed the warning on your lamps or fixtures to avoid a fire hazard.
  3. Person's body - Exercise regularly. Exercise makes you stronger and improves your balance and coordination.
  4. Person's eyes - Have your vision checked at least once a year by an eye doctor. Poor vision can increase your risk of falling.
  5. Alarm device - Think about wearing an alarm device that is part of a personal response system. This way you will be able to bring help in case you fall and can't get up.
To summarize, here is the list of the hazards found in the Hidden Health Hazards House.
Floors
  • Furniture - Make sure you have a clear path.
  • Throw rugs - Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won't slip.
  • Papers/Magazines - Make sure papers and magazines are discarded after use.
  • Shoes - Pick up shoes or other clutter.
  • Cords and wires - Coil or tape cord and wires next to the wall so you can't trip over them.
  • Carpeting - Avoid using patterned or deep pile carpeting. Solid colors show the edges of the steps more clearly.
Steps & Stairs
  • Steps - Fix loose or uneven steps.
  • Light switch - Have a handyman or electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Handrails - Fix loose handrails or put in new ones. Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs and are as long as the stairs.
  • Carpet - Make sure carpet is firmly attached.
Kitchen
  • High shelves - Move items in your cabinets. Keep things you use often on the lower shelves (about waist high).
  • Step stool - Get a new, steady step stool with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair as a step stool.
  • Telephone - Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone.
Bedrooms
  • Light next to bed - Place a lamp close to the bed where it is easy to reach.
  • Path to the bathroom - Put in a night-light so you can see where you are walking.
  • Flash light - Keep flash lights handy in the event of a power outage.
Bathrooms
  • Tub and shower floor - Put a non-slip rubber mat or self stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
  • Toilet - Put in grab bars next to the toilet.
  • Tub and shower - Put grab bars inside the tub or shower.
  • Soap dispense - A mounted or suction liquid soap dispense on the bathtub/shower wall may reduce the risk of falling while reaching.
  • Medicine - Have your doctor or pharmacist look at all the medicines you take, even over the counter medicines.

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