With life expectancy increasing, households getting smaller and congested, there seem to be stress in joint and extended families across India. Even if they co-reside, because of the generation gap and changing lifestyle, there is a feeling of isolation and insecurity among the senior citizens.
At the present there are 77 millions older persons living in India and the number is expected to rise to 170 million in the next 25 years. In such an ageing scenario, there will be an immense pressure on all aspects of care for the older persons.
There are a number of rather simple precautions seniors can take to keep them safe. Having lived this long, don’t let simple preventable accidents take your quality of life
Seniors Inspecting the Home and Make it Safe
Just as you clean the house regularly, it will pay off to inspect your home for safety problems. Here are a few of the things you can look for:
- Locks should be in place on doors and windows.
- Use an alarm system, smoke detectors, fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector.
- Answering machine should say “we” even if living alone.
- Steps must be kept clear to avoid falls. Paint edge of steps to help with visibility.
- Avoid area rugs as they are known to cause falls
- No hiding places for keys – someone watching can see you get the key.
- Install a peep hole on front door, and see that area is well-lit.
- Organize electric cords so they will not cause tripping, putting by wall and/or behind furniture.
- Avoid storing things on the floor to prevent falling.
Seniors Give Special Attention to Kitchen Safety
- When finished with a meal or when leaving kitchen, develop a routine of walking around the kitchen after each meal, doing a safety check for turning burners and appliances off.
- Unplug unused appliances.
- Clean up any spills on floor immediately to avoid falls.
- Use timers and buzzers loud enough to hear from another room. When timing, do not turn on radio, TV, or earphones as they can keep you from hearing timer. You could stay in kitchen reading while waiting on a timer or carry a timer with you in your pocket.
Older Adults Practicing Habits Which Keep Them Safe
- Leave spare key with a trusted neighbor you know quite well.
- Befriend your neighbors; they will look out for you.
- If you have an electric garage door, do not unlock the car door until garage is completely shut.
- Carry a cell phone when in or out of the house. Have important numbers in phone’s memory for quick dialing.
- Use your deadbolts and locks – they won’t help if they are not used faithfully.
- Don’t be predictable; change things up so someone watching stays confused.
- Never share personal information on phone or in public: schedules, last name of self or friends, or say you won’t be home at a certain time or day (that invites burglars).
- As you drive or walk up to house, glance around before you turn into the driveway to assure no one is nearby. If you see something amiss go on by and seek help.
Seniors Staying Safe Going Out and About
- Be sure someone knows where you are going and approximately when you should return, especially at night.
- Avoid ATM’s, especially if in closed-in area, someone is close around, or at night. (If a car or person is nearby, drive around the block till they’re gone and try again.)
- Leave valuables and anything that might look like a purse or valuable in trunk to avoid theft.
- Limit credit cards to one if possible, and have the number to call if stolen clearly findable.
- Carry at least the minimal medical and emergency information with you at all times.
- Ask security or trusted friend to walk you to your car (which you parked in well-lit area).
- If walking, use a buddy system by walking with another person or persons.
- Use fanny pack or similar device or front pockets only to avoid valuables dangling in purses or in a back pocket.
- Avoid uneven surfaces when possible. Use walking stick or cane as extra caution when you must walk on such places.