Between slips and falls, car accidents, fires and other safety hazards, millions of seniors incur preventable injuries every year. Unfortunately, the challenges of recovering from these injuries can be particularly difficult for older adults. Designated by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, April’s “Injury Prevention Month” offers the ideal opportunity to check in with your aging loved ones to help ensure that they remain safe and injury-free.
Common Threats to Senior Safety
Injuries come in all forms for seniors. From hazards around the home to polypharmacy, these threats to senior safety don’t just result in short-term injuries but can trigger the dangerous cycle in which seniors experience corresponding declines in mobility and ability.
One of the simplest ways to protect your aging loved one is to check in frequently. From evaluating his/her living environment to observing changes in physical or cognitive abilities, identifying these changes is a critical part of correcting them. If mom or dad needs assistance in the home in order to live safely, begin to explore senior care options or senior living communities and see what kind of services and support would be the best fit.
Another proven way to safeguard seniors is by encouraging them to stay active. Consider one statistic from the Harvard School of Public Health which indicates that the average woman over the age of 70 spends the vast majority of her waking hours either sitting down or lying down. An additional Nielsen study, meanwhile, reveals that people over the age of 65 watch an average of seven hours a day watching television.
When evaluated alongside a growing body of evidence attesting to strong muscles and bones in promoting both a healthy body and mind, these statistics are particularly troubling. Luckily, even the smallest amount of exercise goes a long way. Physical activity is important for older men and women of all ages. If your aging loved one is resistant, join him/her. Not only will this offer the necessary nudge to get moving, but it just might benefit you too.
It’s also a good idea to check in with your aging loved one’s health care team regarding any steps you should be taking to help keep your loved one injury-free. During a physical, a doctor can identify vision changes, cognitive changes, and/or physical impairments which can impact everything from driving to mobility. Additionally, look into events and programs in your community aimed at promoting senior health.
While accidents and injuries will happen despite our best efforts, they don’t have to be a fact of life for all seniors. A mix of planning and preparation can help you identify the biggest threats to senior wellness and take steps to eliminate them. There’s no better time than this April during Injury Prevention Month.
Millions of seniors are injured every year; unfortunately, many of these injuries are preventable.
Injuries constitute a particular threat to seniors -- particularly those who are already frail or inactive.
Injury Prevention Month offers a useful opportunity to check in with your aging loved one in order to prevent injuries -- such as evaluating living spaces and encouraging them to stay active and mobile.
Health care teams offer useful partnership in helping caregivers keep older adults injury-free.
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Connect with Marissa Salvesen
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.