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Older Adult Safety

OLDER ADULT SAFETY

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Health & Falls







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Falls

Preventing falls can help prevent traumatic brain injuries among older adults. Falls are the most common cause of brain injuries among those 75 years and older, and severe brain injuries contribute to the leading cause of injury death among Americans 65 years and older. Falls also cause more than 95 percent of hip fractures among older Americans, after which many people are no longer able to live on their own. This loss of independence often leads to a continual decline into poorer health and a much lower quality of life.

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  • Download the CDC’s MyMobility Plan for tips and resources to make a plan to stay mobile and independent as they age.
  • Older adults should ask their doctor or pharmacist to review medicines–both prescription and over-the counter–to reduce side effects and interactions. The “Are Your Medicines Increasing Your Risk of a Fall or a Car Crash?” fact sheet can help you learn more about the medicines that might have side effects associated with falls and the Personal Action Plan can help you identify questions you should ask the doctor.
  • Follow a regular activity program to increase strength and flexibility.
  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as required.


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Dementia

As well as making the home safer, it is important to make sure the person with dementia is as safe as possible if they go outside the home.

  • Have them wear an identification bracelet
  • The State of Ohio has a Next of Kin Emergency Contact program that allows you to assign your emergency contact to their drivers license or state ID number.  If they do not have either, put family emergency contact numbers in their wallet.
  • If the individual is living in your home, or you in theirs, put a bell on any exterior doors, windows and gates.

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  Driving

     In 2016, about 7,400 older adults (aged 65+) were killed and more than 290,000 were treated in emergency departments for motor vehicle crash 

     injuries. This amounts to 20 older adults killed and 794 injured in crashes on average every day. Older adults can take several steps to stay safe on the   

     road:

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  • Older adults should ask their doctor or pharmacist to review medicines–both prescription and over-the counter–to reduce side effects and interactions. The “Are Your Medicines Increasing Your Risk of a Fall or a Car Crash?” fact sheet can help you learn more about the medicines that might have side effects associated with car accidents.
  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as required.
  • Find the safest route with well-lit streets, intersections with left turn arrows, and easy parking.
  • Plan your route before you drive.
  • Leave a large following distance behind the car in front of you.
  • Avoid distractions in your car, such as listening to a loud radio, talking on your cell phone, texting, and eating.
  • Always wear your seat belt and never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs/medicines.
  • Limit driving during bad weather, at night, and on high-speed roads
  • Consider potential alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend, ride share services, or using public transit, which you can use to get around

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Home Hazards

Safety-proof your home

  • Make sure all hallways, stairs, and paths are well lit and clear of objects such as books or shoes.
  • Use rails and banisters when going up and down the stairs. Never place scatter rugs at the bottom or top of stairs.
  • Tape all area rugs to the floor so they do not move when you walk on them.
  • Set the thermostat on the water heater no higher than 120° F to prevent scalding.
  • Have grab bars installed in the shower and near the toilet to make getting around easier and safer.
  • Put rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping.
  • If you are having a hard time getting in and out of your tub, or on and off the toilet, ask your provider to help you get a special tub chair or bench or raised toilet seat.

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  Fire Prevention

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  • Protect against fire and related dangers using the  Home Fire Safety for Older Adults Safety Awareness Program Toolkit 
  • If there is a fire in your home, don't try to put it out. Leave and call 911. Know at least two ways to get out of your apartment or home.
  • When you're cooking, don't wear loose clothes or clothes with long sleeves
  • Replace appliances that have fraying or damaged electrical cords.
  • Don't put too many electric cords into one socket or extension cord.
  • Install a smoke detector and replace the battery twice a year.
  • Never smoke in bed or leave candles burning, even for a short time, in an empty room.
  • Make sure heaters are at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, such as curtains, bedding, or furniture. Turn off space heaters when you leave the room.

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Protect Against Abuse

  • Keep your windows and doors locked at all times.
  • Never let a stranger into your home when you are there alone.
  • Talk over offers made by telephone salespeople with a friend or family member.
  • Always ask for written information about any offers, prizes, or charities and wait to respond until you have reviewed the information thoroughly.
  • Do not let yourself be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or making donations. It is never rude to wait and discuss the plans with a family member or friend.
  • Report any physical abuse to family and law enforcement.

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Health & Falls







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Emergency Numbers

Always keep a list of emergency numbers by each phone. Write this information in large enough print that one can read it easily if you are in a hurry or frightened. Be sure to list numbers for:

  • 911
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
  • Family member or friend to call in case of emergency
  • Healthcare provider’s office

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Health & Falls







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Health & Falls







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