USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
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A Time to Give Thanks, and Secure Throw Rugs

Many of us spend our Thanksgiving holiday with family and vacation at home. This is a fantastic opportunity to take a moment and check our homes and our loved ones’ homes for fall risks.

Falls are the number one cause of injury, hospital visits due to trauma, and death from an injury among people age 65 and older. It is estimated that one in three older adults falls each year, with more than half of all falls occurring in and around the home.

Research shows that the most effective way to reduce fall risks for people at moderate to high risk of falls includes medication management, physical activity, and making changes to your home to increase safety and independence – also known as home modifications.

There are many simple and inexpensive ways to increase safety and support in the home. Here are some recommendations:

  • Keep pathways clear. Keep stairs and walkways clear by removing clutter and other objects that you could trip over. Add storage for things that are usually on the floor, such as shoes or papers, and secure electrical cords to floors or walls.
  • Be aware of uneven surfaces. Look out for changes in the level of flooring, such as in doorways or in between carpeting and tile. Remove throw rugs or use a rug gripper underneath to secure them to the floor. If you can move a rug easily with your foot, you could slip on it.
  • Keep frequently used items close by. Reaching up high or bending down low can cause you to lose balance. For example – in the kitchen, make sure that cooking supplies and other items that you use often are easy to reach.
  • Light your way. Install bright lights, have switches at both ends of stairways, and use night lights to light the path from your bedroom to bathroom. Light switches that glow are easier to see in the dark.

For more information on reducing the risk of falls among older adults, visit:

Fall Prevention Center of Excellence
Fact Sheets on fall prevention topics and other resources: http://stopfalls.org/resources/center-developed-resources/

National Council on Aging
Information on fall prevention programs and other resources: https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Self-fall risk assessment and home safety checklist, among other resources:
http://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html

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