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Falling is the biggest risk for older adults, especially those who live alone.

If your vision is compromised, avoid moving furniture. Stick to a familiar traffic pattern.

You also can decrease your chances of falling by using assistance devices such as a cane or walker. Many people wrongly assume they only need them when going out.

Ask for assistance carrying bags and other items. Regular exercise can help you avoid falls as well.

Here are several more steps you can take to improve your safety:

  1. Keep stairs and hallways clear of clutter.
  2. Immediately recycle or discard old magazines and newspapers.
  3. Store items in closets or on shelves.
  4. Remove throw rugs.
  5. Make sure your home is brightly lit.

Bathrooms pose serious dangers. If possible, install grab bars in your bath or shower. Walk-in showers with built-in benches are easiest to access. If you have a tub, add a shower bench and a hand-held shower nozzle.

And, if you have trouble standing, use a shower bench with arms. Consider a booster seat with arms for your toilet. Both are easy to find at drug stores and online.

If you need assistance making your home safer, contact a private homecare provider such as Life Care at Home. An expert can specify how to make non-structural bathroom modifications.

Scheduling a caregiver, who can help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing and dressing, might make life easier. They can accompany you to medical appointments and help organize your medications.

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Kathy Semrow R.N, director of Life Care at Home, a not-for-profit provider of private in-home personal care, shares her 42 years of nursing experience.