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Home Safety Tips
By Jennifer B. Buckley
You feel safe and secure with your
loved one watching television close by in the next room.
On a daily basis, you meticulously monitor their diet,
hygiene and warnings on their over-the-counter and
prescription medication. Nothing has been left to
chance, so you think. What about making your home safe
from injuries? Hidden dangers in the home can cause your
loved one to have a terrible fall but it can be avoided.
According to the Brain Injury Association, 60% of fatal
falls occur in the home and one out of every three
seniors fall at least once. The statistic is high but
prevention is attainable with some simple modifications.
Andrea Tannenbaum, president of Dynamic Living Inc., an
on-line Internet catalog featuring home safety products,
recommends performing a home safety check. Ms.
Tannenbaum believes it’s the first step in preventing a
terrible fall. The home safety check should consist of
the following questions:
Is the lighting near stairways, hallways and doorways
Are the light switches easy to turn on and off?
Is there a telephone and lamp on the nightstand?
Is there a night light in the bathroom?
Is all clutter picked up off the floor, especially
Are there any broken floorboards, tears in the
linoleum, carpet or abrupt changes in the flooring, such
as thresholds that could cause tripping?
Is there a tub or shower seat in the bathroom area?
Are there sturdy grab bars where falls most
frequently occur: by stairs, by the bathtub or by the
Are throw rugs secured to the floor?
Does the bathroom/shower have non-skid flooring?
After the safety check is complete, it is time to
evaluate what changes need to be made to ensure the
safety of your loved one but, just be sure to follow
through on making the necessary adjustments. According
to Ms. Tannenbaum, “Most of the modifications we
recommend, do not involve substantial lifestyle changes
or great sums of money, but they do have an enormous
impact on preventing accidents.” Dynamic Living Inc.
offers various products including: mobility items to
hearing and memory loss items that will keep your loved
one safe and comfortable in the home.
Grip bars are especially useful in
preventing slip and falls and you can place them almost
anywhere. Some don’t even require wall mounting and are
very sturdy. For instance, the SuperPole is a
floor-to-ceiling tension pole that is easily installed.
It can help your loved one get out of bed, sit down in a
chair or get out of the shower. It acts as a point of
balance and support and it doesn’t need a wall for
mounting. The company also recommends the smart roll,
which attaches to a bed frame or the advantage rail
which is a floor mounted support bar that moves with
your loved one. For the bathtub, the Dynamic Living has
the tri-grip bar that has three textured gripping areas
to make it easier for your loved one to get in and out
of the tub. Aside form grips aiding in mobility,
lighting is also an important element in safety.
Unlit areas can cause potentially hazardous situations.
According to Ms. Tannenbaum, “Because of the age-related
changes in vision, more lighting is needed to do
familiar tasks. It also takes longer for the eyes to
focus when there are changes in lighting.” Even changing
the strength of a light bulb can improve on safety in
the home. Dynamic Living offers a voice-activated light
switch called MotionPad that can even activate fans and
radios. Additional safety tools the company offers are,
a personal paging system and personal emergency response
The personal paging system is a small portable pager
useful within the home to alert a caregiver or family
member when they are needed. The personal emergency
response system presents a 24- hour monitoring center
contacted when your loved one wears a special bracelet
or pendant equipped with an emergency button.
The cost of these home modifications is
moderate and the tools are very effective in preventing
home injuries. Therefore, the investment is an
investment in safety.