Sidestep the cost of a fall at home

Imagine the cost of a new hip, or a concussion with possible long-term damage, or a rotator cuff tear, or replacing your front teeth. Then imagine that these costs could have been avoided by attending to a few simple household changes. For aging boomers facing staggering health costs, avoiding a fall could mean the difference between comfort and just scraping by.

According to Netwellness, one in three 65-year-old women will suffer a fall; after 85, half will. 31% of men between 80-84 will fall. At least a third of all falls are caused by home hazards. A serious fall can trigger a cascade of other problems, including immobility that could drive the fallen out of his/her home.

Fortunately, some simple steps can dramatically reduce the likelihood of a hazard-caused fall. Keep in mind that, as we age, our eyesight isn't as sharp, our legs aren't as strong, and our sense of balance can be compromised.

The Colorado State University Extension Service suggests


  • Fix sidewalks and driveway to remove holes and irregular surfaces
  • Install handrails
  • Take out high thresholds
  • Trim back shrubbery along the walk
  • Clear snow and ice


  • Denote changes in floor level by using different colors of rugs, carpets, etc.
  • Securely fasten rugs to the floor
  • Have a phone extension in every room, with emergency numbers handy
  • Reduce clutter, crowded furniture
  • Install nightlights or motion detector lights


  • Grab bars in the tub and beside the toilet
  • Non-stick appliques in the tub
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Non-skid mats in wet areas


  • Keep commonly used supplies at arm's reach
  • Have a sturdy step stool with handrails for reaching top shelves
  • Avoid floor polish
  • Have a working fire extinguisher at hand

Living quarters

  • Remove casters from furniture
  • Adjust height of bed to ease entry/exit
  • Error on the side of too much light
  • Use colored tape on the edge of stairs, and replace any that are of unstandard height.

Take a little time, spend a little money adapting your environment and save yourself grief and great expense. If you'd do it for your children, why wouldn't you do it for yourself?

Read Full Story