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Q: How can I maintain a safe home as an older adult?

Posted June 26, 2013 in Advice Column

A: Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. These falls lead to reduced functions and premature loss of independence and often may indicate more serious underlying health problems. The National Safety Council offers the following tips to reduce falls among older adults.

Ensure your home is well-lit and that walkways are clear. Clothing should be properly fitted and cannot easily catch on something. Use a long-handled shoehorn if you have trouble putting on your shoes, and replace slippers that are loose.

Be sure to get annual vision tests and physical exams. Have your blood pressure checked both lying down and standing up. Make sure walkers, canes and all medical equipment is properly sized and fitted by a qualified medical professional.

Talk to your doctor about an exercise and diet regimen. Your doctor or pharmacist can review all your medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements. Some medications do not work well together and may affect your coordination and balance.

Falls or increased trips to the hospital can also indicate it’s time to get extra help in the home. Organizations like HCI Care Services offer in-home assessments to see what kind of assistance may best fit your needs and goals. To learn more, call HCI Care Services at (641) 856-5502.

Information provided by Terry Terrones, RN, MSN, CHPN, HCI Hospice Care Services of South-Central Iowa, 103 E. Van Buren St., Centerville, (641) 856-5502,

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