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Avoiding Falls: Making Your Home Safe if You Have Limited Mobility

By David Freeman
WebMD Feature

People of any age can have trouble getting around the house – a teenager recovering from a sports injury, a baby boomer in rehab from a heart attack or surgery, an elderly person with arthritis or balance problems. Whether your limited mobility is temporary or permanent, there are many things you can do to make your home safer and your life easier.

Modifying your home can be as simple as rearranging some furniture or putting in a few handrails in strategic locations. This room-by-room guide focuses on simple solutions to creating a safe haven. But it also includes more substantial measures that can be worthwhile if you have long-term mobility issues.

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By Meg LundstromLearn to manage the distractions that sap your concentration — so you can find your focus and your peace of mind. Your boss is bugging you to hand in that status report, your husband wants you to sit down and talk finances, your son needs help with his science project. You're feeling the urgency of it all, yet here you sit, frittering away precious minutes, Googling from link to link or flipping from channel to channel. Pretty soon you're consumed with guilt and frustration...

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Preventing Falls: Make a Smooth Entrance

Building entrances can be safety hazards, especially in bad weather. And when it’s difficult to get around, even a step or two can seem like a mountain. Make sure the path from the street to your front door is well lit and clear of objects.

If you have stairs, make sure there’s a sturdy handrail -- on both sides, if that helps. “Adding a second banister on the other side can make a huge difference, especially if one side of the body is more impaired than the other,” says Carla A. Chase, EdD, assistant professor of occupational therapy at the Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services in Kalamazoo.

Even if there’s just one step that is difficult to negotiate at the front door, consider installing a grab bar. You can also rent a ramp for walkers and wheelchairs if you need a temporary solution.

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