You don’t have to be a Cubs fan to understand the value of being “safe at home.” According to the AARP nearly 90% of older adults want to age-in-place and maintain independence. But here’s the problem: 85% have done nothing to prepare their homes for aging. Approximately one-third of adults age 65 years or older fall each year; the majority of these falls occur in and around the home. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries and fractures for older adults. Falls often result in seniors being institutionalized, losing their functional dependence, and/or developing a paralyzing fear of falling. The good news is that Age Safe® America exists to help educate families and professionals on the serious issues of home safety, fall prevention, financial exploitation and personal safety.
Many seniors who are still relatively active, lucid, and spry, tend to ignore the possibility that they could become a victim of an accident (at home, no less!). Family members tend to be more realistic about the need and benefits of accident-proofing a parent’s home. By having a caring and candid conversation about the likelihood of a fall, a son or daughter can demonstrate their concern as well as help arrange a comprehensive home safety assessment. There is truly no better time than NOW to consider home safety initiatives.
Safety is a perpetual challenge that needs periodic management because of the dynamic nature of the home environment – bulbs burn out, floor spills happen, throw rugs become disheveled, etc. The elimination of identifiable threats is relatively inexpensive. Solutions range from grab bars to non-slip surfaces, from motion detector lights to fire escape ladders, from security systems to monitoring devices and personal emergency response systems, and from easy-entry bathtubs to temporary ramps or simple threshold entry mats.
The seniors in our community deserve to enjoy their golden years by safely aging-in-place, in their own homes. Risk reduction can keep them safe while delivering on their desire for independence.
By John Burke, Senior Home Safety Specialist, contractor and Age Safe® America Advisor Member.
To learn more about Senior Home Safety visit: www.AgeSafeAmerica.com