June is National Safety Month and we’d like to focus on Senior Safety. We’re focusing on helping everyone to understand that keeping mindful of a safe house is important; but especially as we age.
The National Institute of Aging found that 22% of Americans aged 70+ are experiencing a decline in their mental faculties. This means approximately 5.4 million people are affected by a decline that can cause unsafe conditions around them if not brought to the attention of others. Along with mental decline, physical decline can cause a problem with safety also.
We’d like to focus on these general areas of life to remind you about the importance of senior safety.
Kitchen and Fire Safety
- Be exceptional careful using appliances that need repaired or replaced; especially frayed cords, lamps and overloaded extension cords.
- Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher available in case of fires.
- Cooking can often result in accidents; try to use a microwave instead of a stove top, avoid grease splashes on the floor which could cause a safety hazard.
- Be sure that smoke detectors are properly installed in each room of their home and remember to change batteries regularly.
- If you cook for yourself, remember to be aware of loose, flowing clothing that can easily catch on fire. Also keep your hair back and away from an open fires.
- Candles are a beautiful touch to a home decor but the reality is that they are often forgotten and left unattended. Instead of using ope fire candles use electronic candles that can’t catch things on fire and will simply stop working if left alone for too long.
Fall Risk & Prevention Safety
- Have professionally installed shower, tub, and toilet grab bars installed throughout the bathroom. Do NOT utilize the grip type of handles; but, instead have bars installed where they will remain sturdy and well placed in the studs of the walls and tub area.
- Regular exercise that focuses on living Falls Free. These classes can focus on in-home therapy programs or concentrate on balancing program such as Tai Chi and Yoga.
- Bright Lights will keep your path well lit both inside and out. Use lighting to reduce your risk of falls.
- Sturdy Handrails, well lit stairways, and staircases that are free from clutter will help fall risk prevention.
- Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about your medications; asking if any may increase your risk of falls. Take extra precautions when on medications that can cause dizziness or vertigo.
- Exercising regularly will help keep your bones and muscles stronger and these stronger bones and muscles decrease your risk of falling.
- Keep floors clear, removing piles of papers, books, boxes and even rugs that can cause you to slip.
Driving and Car Safety
- The cost of “auto clubs” now come in a variety of ways from AAA to a small additional price added onto your cell phone bill. This service is priceless as a senior.
- Do NOT hide a spare key for your car on your car; even if you think you have a clever device to conceal it. Chances are criminals know and understand these hidden keys and can use them against you.
- Always leave for your destination with your keys in your hand, ready to use immediately.
- Lock your doors immediately upon entering your car. Once you are locked in you can get items arranged and situated the way you need.
- Park close to your destination.
- Check your surroundings when you pull into an area; always seeing at least 2 different ways to get away from a possible assailant. It is also important to know all of your surroundings, including those around you and what they are doing.
- Lock your doors no matter what; even if you are just running into a store to run a quick errand.
Financial Senior Safety
- Shred all personal paperwork with any information on it.
- Never give your social security numbers out to anyone over the phone; nor should you ever discuss banking information with someone who has called your home asking questions or stopped by to visit you.
- Never leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart or sitting on a counter in a store. Also be careful of sitting your purse on the floor of any bathroom or dressing room.
- If you must carry a wallet, carry your wallet and pertinent information in your front pocket. Your rear pocket can be pick pocketed much easier.
- Utilize automated deposits of income (social security checks, taxes, and other sources of income)
Safety in and Around Your Home
- Keep your doors locked at all times; whether you’re just running to the basement or out to the yard.
- Be certain your home is marked well with your address in case any first response vehicle needs to find you. You need to be able to see your house numbers easily from the street.
- Never open your doors for a stranger; this includes repairmen, utility men or anyone else that claims they are there and need to get in to do a job in the area. If someone approaches your door, ask where they are from and make sure you call the utility service to verify who they are.
- Leave your tv or radio playing when you step out of the house; making it sound like someone is there.
- Keep yourself safe inside; this means never allow strangers/visitors to know you are home alone, limit the amount of the home they can view. Always suspect anyone who has not been invited to your home and that you do not know; chances are they want to come into your home for a reason.