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Monday, November 27, 2017

How to Holiday-Proof Your House

The moment the last of the turkey leftovers are finished (and sometimes even before), people are pulling out ladders to string up lights and decorate for the next holiday. While decorating your house and packing it in with family and friends are what the holidays are all about, it can also create an environment ripe for accidents and serious injuries like falls.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that more than 300,000 adults age 65 years and older suffer hip fractures and are hospitalized each year. Falls are the cause of more than 95 percent of these fractures. It's important for seniors to be careful around the holidays especially when in unfamiliar surroundings or homes that they visit infrequently.

Young children are also at risk for falls, excitedly dodging between trees, strings of light, garland, and trying out new toys.

Here are five tips to keep your home safe for everyone this season:

  1. Reduce clutter. Keep presents, packages and empty decoration boxes clear of doorways, hallways, and away from stairs.
  2. Designate a play area for young kids. Encourage them to play in their rooms or a den or family room away from the Christmas tree, fireplace, or any areas outside that are heavily decorated.
  3. Install nightlights. If having family and friends stay overnight, make sure bathrooms, hallways, and stairs are well-lit for getting around in the dark.
  4. Keep outdoor walkways clear. While we are not often at risk for slippery or icy walkways in Central Texas, you should still make sure that driveways, sidewalks, and entryways are clear of windblown leaves, sticks, or other debris for your visitors.
  5. Consider baby/safety gates. Placed strategically on stairs, these could prevent toddlers, and elderly family members alike, from falling if unattended.

Also remember to practice proper ladder safety when climbing up to install outside lights or trim the tree. Choose the correct height for the job and make sure that it can withstand your weight. For other reminders on safe ladder use, visit the AAOS Ladder Safety Guide.

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