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Making every day safe

It’s never too late to begin living a more secure lifestyle. Good safety habits go hand in hand with good health, and together they lead to longer life and fewer medical problems. As we age, our chances of seriously injuring ourselves at home increase dramatically. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for folks 65 and older. Follow these tips to ensure that the years ahead will truly be golden:

  • Don’t go bust. Breaking a leg is only for show-biz types. Make sure your halls, stairs and carpets are well lighted and trip free. Climb stairs using the handrail. Stash electric cords away from foot traffic.
  • Get tacky. Use traction strips in the tub and install grab bars onto the bath tile or fiberglass. Don’t wax your stairs or landings. The throw rug that constantly slides under your feet is a nasty fall waiting to happen; secure it with nonskid tape.
  • Be alarmed. Be certain you have at least one smoke detector per floor and that the batteries are fresh. Even better: Buy additional alarms for carbon monoxide (CO) and radon, both invisible, odorless and potentially deadly gases.
  • Drive friendly. Insist that everyone use seatbelts in the car, and never drink or take medicine and drive. Likewise, don’t ride with anyone who’s been drinking or is on medication.
  • Stay ready to roll. Always maintain your car in road-ready condition, especially your tires, brakes, windshield wipers and fluids. Store a car-safety kit and a first-aid kit in your trunk, just in case. Keep a flashlight handy in the glove compartment.
  • Shop smart. Buy safely at the supermarket. Avoid dented cans, mangled boxes and roughed-up plastic or glass containers. Check expiration dates; don’t buy outdated items. Leave cracked or broken eggs on the shelf.
  • Handle with care. Promptly refrigerate food as soon as you get home from the market. Freeze seafood until the day it will be cooked. Make sure uncooked meats and fish don’t drip juices onto other foods. Wash your hands before and after handling foods.
  • Give them a sign. Some studies indicate that just placing burglar-alarm system decals in your windows decreases the chances of break-ins by 75 percent. But … you’ll save on your homeowners’ insurance if you also install the real thing.
  • Get safety in numbers. Keep a set of emergency numbers by each phone in your home. Include your doctor, ambulance, police, fire and poison control hotline. Give a duplicate set to a trusted neighbor or relative. Make sure he or she knows your normal routine and will notice when something doesn’t seem right.