Staying independent after Independence Day

by Lori Harasta

Having just celebrated our country’s 240th Independence Day, it is notable that the number one fear in the minds of older Americans is losing their ability to live independently.  One of the primary ways people lose it is by falling.

One in three citizens ages 65 and older fall every year.  A single fall can be life-altering.

As one gets older, falls are more likely because reaction time slows. Muscles and joints may also get stiffer, making them less flexible. Illness, medications, and vision changes can also affect balance.

Since most falls happen in the home, a key prevention measure is to make one’s home safer.  Follow the tips below:


Put nonskid pads under area rugs.

Remove throw rugs.

Replace worn floor coverings.

Tack carpets firmly to each step on carpeted stairs. Put nonskid strips on the edges of uncarpeted stairs.

Keep floors and stairs free of clutter and cords.

Arrange furniture so there are clear pathways.

Clean up any spills right away.


Install grab bars in the tub or shower.

Apply nonskid strips or put a nonskid rubber mat in the tub or shower.

Sit on a bath chair to bathe.

Use bathmats with nonskid backing.


Keep a flashlight in each room.

Put a nightlight along the pathway between the bedroom and the bathroom.

For more information on fall prevention go to



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