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Personal Safety
12/11/09

Preventing Falls:
A simple fall can mean a major change in someone's life.  Yet, small changes in homes and lifestyles might prevent such falls.

Falls and accidents seldom "just happen."  Many can be prevented.

To reduce the chances of falling:

  • Have vision and hearing tested often.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about side effects of the drugs you are taking.
  • If your walking is unsteady or if you sometimes feel dizzy, use a cane or walker to help stay balanced.
  • Wear rubber-soled and low-heeled shoes that fully support your feet.
  • If you must carry something when going up or down a stairway, keep one hand on a handrail.
  • Avoid taking chances.  Do not walk on a freshly washed floor or stand on a chair or table to reach something.
  • Use nightlights in bathrooms and near the top of the stairs.

To make your home safe, follow these recommendations:

Living areas should have:

  • Good lighting and be free of clutter.
  • Electrical cords and telephone wires placed away from walking paths.
  • Rugs well secured to the floor.
  • Tightly fastened handrails running the whole length and along both sides of all stairs.
  • Movable furniture removed/secured.

Bathrooms should have:

  • Grab bars placed both in and out of tubs, showers, and near toilets.
  • Nonskid mats, abrasive stripes, or carpet on all surfaces that may get wet.
  • Nightlights.
  • Water faucets that shut completely (water temp limited [hot]).

Bedrooms should have:

  • Nightlights or light switches within reach of the bed.
  • Carpet or area rugs only if firmly attached to the floor.
  • Telephones that are easy to reach near the bed.

Medication Safety:

  • Take all medications exactly at the time and in the quantity prescribed.
  • Check with your physician when taking both prescription and over-the-counter medications.
  • Do not share medications with other people.
  • Do tell your physician all the medications you take on a regular basis.
  • Do not save medications - discard unused or outdated medications.  Do not hoard them.
  • Tell your physician if you stop taking prescribed medication - this could lead to serious side effects.
  • If you use nutritional or herbal supplements, be sure to notify your doctor.
  • Be sure all medicines are clearly marked and stored in the containers they came in.


Safe Walking:

  • Walk on the sidewalk.  If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • Cross at intersections.  Most people are hit by cars when they cross at places other than intersections.
  • Look left, right and left again for traffic.  Cross in marked crosswalks and obey the signal.
  • See and be seen.  Drivers need to see you to avoid you.  Be seen at night - wear reflective materials.  Reflective tape is available at fabric, sporting goods and hardware stores.
  • Do not let children play near traffic or cross the street by themselves.  Children are small and unpredictable, and cannot judge vehicle distances and speeds.
  • When children get older teach them to do three things before they cross the street:
    1. Cross at a corner with a traffic light.
    2. Stop at the curb.
    3. Look left, right, then left again to make sure no cars are coming.
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