PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Falls are a leading cause of injury, and even death, for people 65 and older, but most seniors want to stay in their own homes as long as possible.

So, Angie’s List has some advice on how to keep your loved ones safe at home.

Katie Collins, 78, is a vibrant lady, but her arthritis can get the best of her.

“It had become pretty tough to get in and out with the steps. I really didn’t want to leave my home,” said Collins.

New handrails were a huge help, but she needed more. Her bathtub became tough to climb into, so it was replaced with a walk-in shower. Grab bars were also installed.

“Now I’m able to go into the shower. I have two seats in my shower. I can sit down and wash up real good and get up and shower myself, wash my hair, whatever,” Collins said.

“For many senior citizens, being in their own home as they age can be a real benefit,” says Angie Hicks, of Angie’s List. “It can help their well-being, and it also it can be more cost efficient than other housing options, so updating their living space for them can be really important.”

“It’s real important that you look at it in a holistic way of all the things that could become barriers and meet that,” said John Ausbrooks, a disability professional.

Ausbrooks takes pride in providing products and services that allow older folks to lead an independent lifestyle.

He says scooters, ramps and lift chairs can be life-altering, and he remembers installing a stairway lift for one man who hadn’t seen his basement in years.

“The guy came down the stairs and he just began to weep because memories came flooding back to him,” Ausbrooks said. “So it was a very moving experience – still is, many years later – to see the guy experience the memories that he had probably thought he was never going to see again.”

Collins feels that same joy every time she showers or easily manages her steps.

“I’m just happy because I never had anything like that before,” she said. “It’s so nice and convenient. I don’t have to worry about, like I said, falling anymore because everything is just convenient, and I’m grateful.”

Also, make sure you work with a “certified aging-in-place specialist” who has specific training in home modifications for the elderly.

If cost is an issue, contact your local agency on aging. They may have programs that can help.

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