Today, the first day of fall, is also the first day of Falls Prevention Awareness Week. What better time to address how you can make your home safer for your family and guests by decluttering!
Don’t fall for clutter
How many times have you tripped over something in your home because you didn’t see it? Let’s take a look at some of the most offensive tripping hazards lurking in your home – and some easy fixes.
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ENTRY WAY CLUTTER – Many of us take our shoes off at the door so we don’t track dirt into our homes. But shoes on the floor in front of the door could trip up you or a guest. The entry way is also a popular drop spot for backpacks, bags, and other items that could potentially cause a fall.
Easy Fix: Corral shoes in a basket or on a shoe rack. Install a Shaker peg rack on the wall for hanging things like backpacks, purses, and your dog’s leash. Or invest in a narrow bench or shelving unit with storage bins.
STAIR CLUTTER – Are you in the habit of leaving items on the stairs to carry up with you next time you go up? It might seem like a good idea because one trip up or down is more efficient – until you slip on something. Stair clutter is especially dangerous when coming down the stairs. It can act like the proverbial banana peel in a cartoon, but with less-than-comical results.
Easy Fix: Collect items in a stair-step basket with a handle for easy carrying up or down. For maximum efficiency, you’ll want one at the top and one at the bottom. Better yet, leave the stairs completely free for safe walking. Instead, place a decorative handled basket off to one side of the stairs and out of traffic.
CORD CLUTTER – Not only is cord clutter unsightly, it can be a tripping hazard when it runs across the floor to an electrical outlet.
Easy Fix: First, look at the possibility of rearranging furniture, such as a end table to bring the corded item closer to an electrical outlet. Another simple solution is to run the offending cord through the channel of a floor cord cover.
What else can you do?
Aside from decluttering, there are other simple things you can do to prevent accidental falls inside and outside your home. Here’s what home safety experts recommend:
Stay active. Research shows simply staying active can reduce your risk of a tumble by 10 to 20 percent, and exercising more than three hours a week is linked to a 39 percent reduction in falls.
Improve your balance. Strength and balance starts to decline after the age of 50, which can make us more susceptible to accidental falls. That’s why it’s especially important to include exercises to improve your balance.
A personal note about accidental falls…
I decided to write this blog post earlier this month after my 85-year-old dad fell and fractured his hip. He had just got out of the car and took a few steps when he lost his balance.
What I learned is that accidental falls send one out of four adults over the age of 65 to the emergency room each year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be that ONE in four. At 59, I’m doing everything I can to stay fit and strong to reduce the odds of an accidental fall as I age.
Anyway, my dad is heading home from rehab today – yay! Coincidentally, I already had a visit scheduled for next week. (I’m in California and my parents live in Vermont.) Meanwhile, he’s lucky to have my sisters – a nurse and a physical therapist – there to help him get back into his old routine.
I’ll close with this photo of my parents dancing on a boat cruise last summer.
The post Prevent Accidental Falls by Decluttering appeared first on Declutter Your Life with Donna Smallin Kuper.
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