LiveSmart: Preventing Holiday Falls

[This story was written by Lisa Lemery, MS, OTR/L, executive director of home health, Eddy Visiting Nurse and Rehab Association.]

It’s that time of year, once again, where we invite our loved ones over to our homes to celebrate the holidays. Most of these celebrations create happy, fond memories but, unfortunately, they can also be an accident waiting to happen. A change in the routine or surroundings, especially for an older loved one, can lead to a potentially dangerous fall or mishap.

An estimated 60 percent of falls happen inside the home. The highest occurrence is in the living room where gifts may be on the floor, or furniture has been moved to make room for the tree or other decorations.

It’s important to remove hazards and take other steps to prevent any mishaps. At least one-fifth of those who fall suffer serious injuries, including head trauma and hip fractures, and some can lead to death. People over the age of 80 are most vulnerable.

Some sensible precautions include:

  • Remove or tape down throw rugs and clear pathways to allow for adequate space, especially if a senior has a walking device.
  • Rearrange furniture and electrical cords to keep them out of the way.
  • Keep the house well-lit, including stairways, porches and outside walkways.
  • Use nightlights, if needed.
  • Make sure stairways have sturdy handrails.
  • Keep your pets/children out of the way while a senior is moving/walking.
  • Make sure your senior has their medications with them to stay on track.
  • If a senior is staying the night and showering, be sure you can set up your bathroom with necessary items they might have from their home, like a tub seat.
  • Stand by them and assist them if they seem off balanced, unsafe or weak.

The Eddy Visiting Nurse and Rehab Association (EVNRA) provides comprehensive health care services to help individuals remain independent and in their own homes. They provide patients with access to visiting nurses; physical, occupational and speech therapists; home health aides; medical social workers; and nutritionists.

EVNRA’s specialty nursing programs include wound care, enhanced (palliative) care and home infusion therapy. EVNRA works with a multidisciplinary team including your physician to provide the most comprehensive care based on your needs.

For more information, please call the Eddy Visiting Nurse Association at (518) 274-6200 or visit

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