*Requires Adobe Acrobat
Keepsake Companions
Community Service Program


Improve Your Odds

It Can Really Pay Off When Seniors Think Safety & Prevention

It may be a subtle difference. You may not be able to reach the top shelf in the cabinet anymore. Or you may find yourself struggling to follow the conversation when among friends. Maybe you are putting yourself in more situations where you have to slam on the brakes of your car. It is important to take notice of such warning signs, discover the related cause, then make personal and lifestyle adjustments.

Be aware, our physical and mental abilities change with age. These slight (or not so slight) declines can lead to embarrassing mishaps, as well as serious accidents. Knowledge. awareness and action can often decrease an individualís risk. Denial usually makes things worse.

Of course, there is no guarantee of safety in this world. However, making adjustments to live within oneís "current" abilities and avoid "preventable" accidents can improve the odds of having a good day.

Keeping electrical cords away from walking areas (or taping them to the floor) can improve the odds of avoiding accidents in the home.

Progression

Symptoms

It helps to know what risks are out there and what the current odds are. Here are some safety-related statistics that seniors and their caregivers should be aware of.

  • Each year, about 30% of the seniors over the age of 65 take a fall. Many of these falls lead to hip fractures and broken bones.
  • When it comes to falls, the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house.
  • People over the age of 65 make up about 13% of the U.S. population, yet represent about 30% of fraud victims.
  • Fraudulent telemarketers direct 56-80% percent of their calls at older Americans.
  • Drivers 75+ have the highest number of traffic accidents per mile. Their crash rate is 37% higher than younger drivers.
  • Older adults are 2.5 times more likely to die in fires than the overall population.

With age comes experience and wisdom. These attributes can be combined with awareness and common sense to help deal with the following changes in abilities that may also come with age.

  • The mind loses some of its sharpness. Concentration, quickness of response and endurance may be affected.
  • In addition, be on guard for a decrease in cognitive abilities caused by disease or by the side effects of medications.
  • Eyesight issues can include a difficulty in distinguishing colors, blurriness, loss of detail and contrast, distortion, black spots in the field of vision and a sensitivity to glare.
  • Muscle strength and range of motion may decrease as much as 25%.
  • Illnesses and disabilities may also restrict movement. The pain they cause can lead to distraction and a lack of focus.
(Sources: AAA, U.S. Fire Admin.)