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Grab bars and handrails help disabled seniors stay independent

For disabled Americans, staying financially independent and physically able to carry out one's daily life needs is key. Social Security disability benefits can help with the financial part, but what about your physical ability to take care of yourself? Fortunately, there are things that you can add to your home right now that will make it safer and more accommodating as you grow older and less mobile: handrails and grab bars.

Falls can leave you with broken bones, unable to walk or worsen already-present mobility issues. Falls usually happen in transition areas of the home. These include entryways, stairways and bathrooms. Bathrooms are also dangerous because we have to get up and down onto the toilet or into the bathtub, and slippery water and slick surfaces are often present. These tend to be some of the highest risk fall zones in a household, so these are where you need grab bars and handrails most.

Anywhere you have a set of stairs, you should install handrails. These will give you something to hold onto and steady yourself. Think about your front entryway, back entryway and basement stairs -- and anywhere else you have to step up and step down. Similarly, in the bathroom by the toilet, the shower and bathtub, you may want to install grab bars.

Social Security disability benefits are one thing, and they can transform an elderly Minnesota resident's life financially, but you also need to preserve the mobility you still have. The addition of handrails and grab bars around the house are a great way to help you stay safe. They're not so expensive, and they can mean the difference between staying healthy and a severely disabling injury. They also make a great gift for loved ones if you have an elder parent who needs these kinds of additions but can't afford to have them installed.

Source: MPR News, "For independent seniors, a few safety features can make the difference," Mark Zdechlik, Dec. 08, 2015

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