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Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: Preventing Falls at Home

Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: Preventing Falls at Home
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Avoiding Falls

How to make your home safe if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Preventing Falls In the Bathroom continued...

2. Sit to shower. If you are unsteady on your feet, consider purchasing a padded bath or shower seat with a back and nonskid leg tips so you don't have to stand to shower.

3. Make your shower less slippery. Put a nonskid mat or appliques on the shower or bath floor to counter slipperiness.

4. Raise your toilet seat. If it is difficult to get up from the toilet, install a raised seat. Grab bars next to the toilet are also a good idea.

Staying Safe on the Stairs

Stairs, like slippery bathroom floors, can lead to falls and broken bones. Try these tips to protect yourself.

5. Make the last step stand out. Consider painting the last step a different color or applying brightly colored tape to make it stand out. “Some people lose their depth perception as they age, so a fall may occur because they don’t recognize the final step,” says Tim Kauffman, PhD, a physical therapist and fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. And be aware that wearing bifocal or trifocal glasses can also aggravate perception problems on steps because they don’t correct vision at all depths.

6. Install hand rails. If you don’t have a strong handrail on your stairway, install one. Better yet, install one on each side.

Throughout the House

Most home safety tips can be used throughout the house. Try these to make your entire home a little safer.

7. Reduce clutter. Papers, books, clothes, shoes, newspapers, boxes, plants, and other items can be fall hazards. Clear them out of the way so you have plenty of room to move around on stairs, in hallways, and in rooms.

8. Keep wires out of the way. “Wires are often a problem in older homes,” says Pynoos. “People will stretch wires in ways that they are both a fire hazard and tripping hazard.” Install more electrical outlets or go wireless when you can. For example, a cordless phone can move where you do, so you can always have it close at hand if you do fall.

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