My husband is a fall risk. Parkinson’s disease causes him to freeze, misread distances and depth, and shuffle rather than walk with feet raised high. And, research tells us that falling is the fifth-leading cause of death in seniors and expenditures related to fall injuries are expected to rise to $59.7 billion by 2020.

I knew I had to do something to keep my husband safe at home. But I did not want my home to look like a hospital or rehab center. I wanted my home to remain a welcoming retreat for us, our family, and our friends. I had no idea where to start.

Then I met with Carrie and Carrie, two physical therapists who seemed to know exactly what I wanted, and, importantly, what my husband needed. They formed a company, Stay Home Safely with the mission “to provide individuals of all ages with the opportunity to safely and independently remain in their home for as long as possible through home modifications.”

I was intrigued and set up a meeting with them. I had no idea what to expect and was surprised when they spent a morning with us and observed David’s efforts to move around our home. As physical therapists, they picked up on aspects of his mobility that I had not noticed. My husband is a proud man. He is reluctant to admit that he is not able to do all that he used to. Their gentle and professional approach melted his resistance, and he began to share his concerns with them.

What a difference their services made. Now, there are grab bars where he needs them, new ways for him to be seated at the table for dinner, and a re-arranged bedroom to make getting dressed in the morning easier and safer.  I have breathed a sigh of relief that he is as safe as possible.

Recently, I found this great checklist produced by The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). It’s a simple way to evaluate your home for safety and includes tips from getting your eyesight evaluated to installing adjustable showerheads. Take steps today to help prevent falls at home.