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March 29, 2001
Spring Cleaning for Seniors:
Sharon Regional Health System Gives Tips for Making Your Home Safer
Home is often described as "where the heart is," "where you hang your hat,"
and other phrases that conjure images of safety and warmth. What is often forgotten
though is that a person's home can be an accident waiting to happen - especially
for senior adults. Every year older Americans are injured in their homes, with
most accidents occurring in the bathroom or bedroom. Tripping on an item may not
seem serious, but 10 percent of all falls cause significant injury for older individuals
and are a contributing factor in 40 percent of nursing home admissions.
Fortunately, many of these accidents are preventable, and Sharon Regional Health
System offers helpful tips to avoid injury-prone situations. "Research suggests
that one-third to one-half of home accidents can be prevented by modification
and repair," said Sergio Segarra, M.D., FACEP, Director of Emergency Medicine
at Sharon Regional. "It only takes minutes to prevent an injury that could
persist for a lifetime."
Instead of focusing only on dirty windows and dingy walls, seniors and their families
should consider incorporating these simple steps into their spring cleaning routine
to create a safer living environment.
· Remove rugs and runners that tend to slide, or secure them carefully to the
· Install sturdy handrails on both sides of every stairway.
· Remove electrical cords and wires from the floor and from pathways.
· Keep areas free of clutter.
· Arrange furniture so it doesn't obstruct walking.
· Install light switches at both the top and bottom of the stairs and near the
doorway of every room.
· Install grab bars in the tub/shower and by the toilet.
· Line the bathtub and the floor beside it with non-skid mats or abrasive strips.
"Although seniors are more susceptible to falls and home accidents, no one is
immune," said Dr. Segarra. "Every family and individual should pinpoint potential
home health hazards now before they experience injuries or even loss of life."