Senior Safety At Home

As our loved ones age what can we do to make sure they are safe in their own home? Some everyday items in the home could spell disaster for some seniors.

Eighty-eight-year-old Lois Callahan likes her independence. She lives in her own apartment at the Elmwood Tower at 52nd and Leavenworth in Omaha. She moved there 13 years ago after an accident at her old house.

“I fell down my stairs and broke my neck,” said Callahan. “And it was a very severe break. I had a lot of stairs in my home. And after that I thought, no more stairs.”

She did not sever her spinal chord in the accident, so she was able to make a full recovery.

She doesn't have to deal with stairs any more. But there are still potential dangers in her home she needs to be aware of.

Melanie Clarke is a physical therapist with the Visiting Nurses Association. She helps seniors like Lois be able to stay independent longer by looking out for potential dangers in the home.

“Falls can be devastating. Not only can they be life threatening, they can be life altering,” Clarke said.

Throw rugs could be a tripping hazard. A bed that's too high or too low can also cause a problem. And even the type of shoe an elderly person wears can affect how sure-footed someone is around the home.

“We really try to evaluate the home and see if there are any changes or additions that we can suggest,” says Clarke. “Maybe grab bars, or rearranging, or things like that that we can help them with.”

The VNA will not only take a look at a senior's home to make sure it's safe. But they will also evaluate the person's physical and cognitive abilities to make sure they are safe to live on their own.

If you would like more information on the Visiting Nurse's Association there is a link to their web site below.

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