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Spring Cleaning to Reduce Fall Risks

If you are like me, there is no sweeter sound than birds singing outside the window. When I hear those chirps, I immediately think, “springtime!” A smile then comes over my face, and for some reason, I start thinking of iced tea.

Spring is when everything starts to come alive again. The sluggish energy from winter moves out, and there’s a vibrant spirit of rejuvenation in the air. This is the time for a fresh look around to see what moved in during our winter hibernation. And do you know what many of us will find?

Clutter!

How to Declutter Your Home

When you look around the house, you may find things out of place or in piles waiting for someone to go through or simply throw out. I remember my father keeping piles of Reader’s Digest magazines on the floor, thinking they were out of everyone’s way. In reality, he created a tripping hazard, and my mother was his first victim.

Clutter: Remove any and all accumulations of items on the floor that don’t belong there, as these could be creating an unintentional hazard for you and your loved ones. The first place to check is walking paths. Remove extension cords, magazines, boxes, small furniture pieces and anything else you find yourself walking over or around. Then move to the corners of your rooms, near the couch, your desk, etc., and free up as much floor space as you can.

Once you’ve cleared out the items on the floor, move to the counters and tables in your home and start clearing out those piles of mail, magazines, catalogs, etc. that you’ve been collecting. This will make it easier for you to have space to prepare meals, work and see what you actually need to pay attention to.

You will feel better in a clutter-free space, and at the same time, you’ll create a risk-free environment.

Fall Prevention at Home

Here are a few additional things to think about as you are spring cleaning your home and minimizing your risk of falls:

  • Throw rugs: People don’t realize how much of a hazard rugs can pose and how they contribute to falls. If the rug moves around or is too thick, there is a good chance someone can trip over it. It’s best to secure them with double-sided carpet tape, or even better, remove them altogether.
  • Walking paths should be clear and well-lit: Not only should hallways, steps and other pathways be clear of clutter, but they also should have adequate lighting to ensure unseen hazards aren’t encountered. The path from the bedroom to the bathroom is particularly important, as you may need to get there at night when the house is dark. Consider the use of night lights in your travel path to increase safety, and always hold the rails when using stairs.

Spring is a perfect time to make your home as safe as possible. Kick out the clutter, be aware of the small things, and always pay attention to your surroundings.

Author Valerie Jurik-Henry

Valerie Jurik-Henry is a professional national speaker on aging in place, a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), an author and a business adviser/consultant. With over 30 years’ experience in healthcare and housing, she has a unique view when it comes to educating families, businesses and industries.

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