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Family 411: "Fall proofing" homes for seniors

Making seniors' homes "fall proof" (WSYX)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) - Anything from clutter to accent rugs and extension cords can put a senior in danger of falling at home but there are things you can do to "fall proof" a home.

Charles Weisant's workshop isn't far from reach, just a few steps down to his basement.

Charles has had some health setbacks in recent years but isn't ready to move into assisted living. "I've had a hip done a nose done and I've had trouble with vertigo."

He moves around pretty well at 88 years old but Charles made sure to "fall proof" his house. "I do like independence I'm trying not to be a burden to my family."

Occupational therapist Kris Parrish walks seniors through fall risks at home and comes up with solutions to stay safe and independent.

Parrish says people may be used to their routine and don't realize the dangers that may be lurking. "There's a little bit of denial there. Oh no, I don't think I need a cane, a walker, I don't think I need grab bars in the bathroom."

His home assessments start at the front door. "Stairways without handrails may throw an individual's balance off."

There should be a clear path and good lighting to each room.

"Looking to make sure that there's no throw rugs or clutter in the home." Parrish gives Charles high marks for that as well as for safety upgrades he and his family made to his bathroom. "There's a vertical grab bar installed to allow him to stabilize himself as he steps into the shower."

Parrish says falls at home are more serious than one might think with injuries that range from neurological to broken bones. "Every 3 minutes an individual falls over the age of 65 and nationally every 29 minutes an individual actually dies from a fall over the age of 65."

Charles has only taken a spill once at home. "I fell the day my wife passed away."

Three years later, his safety shines through, whether upstairs or down in his basement workshop as does his happiness. "The bottom line, I'm happy here. "

Pets can also pose a danger. Seniors can trip over toys, food bowls and even the pet itself.

Parrish says it's always best to talk it over to find a solution where seniors can keep the pet while also stay independent and safe.

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