What is the cause of those painful “bumps in the night?”

This month is Halloween and wouldn’t it be a treat to avoid the little devils causing bruises and broken bones? Take off the masks and be pro-active.

As goblins approach the front door will they fall between cracks in sidewalks? A level surface is safest when navigating by foot. Be sure entrances are well lit. Motion lights enable everyone to have safe access when needed and decrease the chance of having a monster or two jump at you from behind the bushes. Does the storm door hastily slam on the heels (or somewhere else) when tricksters are exiting? Carrying a pile of pumpkins in each hand, stepping through a door and staying ahead of the closure is tricky. Have the speed adjusted if necessary. When arthritis is a constant companion and the doorbell rings, those round door handles present challenges, so replace them with a lever-style. While thinking about it…if there is a throw rug–toss it as they are one of the leading causes of falls…aptly named for throwing people onto the floor.

Take a lesson from the creator of Frankenstein and install good lighting. Flipping an electrical switch should be quick, powerful and toggle style in an elder’s home. Shuffling feet are good reasons to have cords close to outlets and out of traffic zones. If not wearing a life line, a cell phone needs to be part of the costume for emergencies, not hidden in a cobwebbed corner.

Kitchens become torture chambers when knives are left on counters, cabinet doors and drawers are left open, and bubbling concoctions run amok. Keep surfaces clear and floors clean. Be sure the heat is turned off under each cauldron.

The bathroom is the worst room haunted by every visitor at one time or another and sealed off from all humankind. People need to be especially safe here and I am not referring to mummies rewrapping themselves in toilet paper (although it has been done). Install nonskid mats in both the shower and tub and adhere one, two or more hand bars to prevent bruises and zombie like appearances. You don’t want the ghostly reflection in the mirror to be yours!

Fifty-five percent of falls occur in the home. One-third of those 65 or older fall each year and people who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again. Falls account for 25% of hospital admissions and 40% of skilled care admissions. Rattling bones are no joke.

It’s trick or treat time…choose your poison.

Robbie Nathan, a transition consultant for Bridge to Better Living® loves Halloween. She has been known to hop on her broom and fly around screeching when sighting a home safety hazard. Be scared or be safe.