Taking care of our older adults   [back to issue]

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  • by Kathleen Vaught  
     
    At a time in their lives when the older adults among us should be enjoying the ability to retire and relax, many of them are succumbing to at-home injuries that could have been easily prevented. According to The State of Home Safety in America™, the Home Safety Council’s comprehensive study of home injuries, falls are the leading cause of home injury deaths with residential fire and poisoning coming in a close second and third. These are startling statistics for a country who celebrates more than 8,000 people turning 60 each day.  
     
    May is National Older Adult Month and the Allen Fire Department wants to help you honor our older citizens with the gift of safety and preparation. Visit www.allenfire.org to learn life saving tips not only for the older adults you care for, but also your own home. In many cases, an older adult may be more receptive to modifications or safety precautions if they know they are the same ones you utilize to keep your home safe.  
     
    A few tips include:  
     
    • To prevent falls—protect stairs and steps with a secure banister or hand rail on each side that extends the full length of the stairs.  
     
    • For fire protection—make sure the installed smoke alarm is one that can be heard by the residents even when everyone is asleep. Test the alarm while your loved one is napping so you’ll know if the sound will wake him or her up. If it doesn’t, get special smoke alarms that signal with strobe lights and/or vibration.  
     
    • To lessen the risk of accidental poisoning—use a medications tracker and always follow medications dosages closely.  
     
    National Older Adult Month is also a great time to remind the older adults in your life just how important they are to you and your family. Take the time to listen and laugh with them and thank them for all they have provided you and our community. Remember, we all have the same goal to reach our golden years—treat our older adults with the respect and honor they deserve.  
     
    May is also National Electrical Safety Month and continuing their year-long safety campaign, the Fire Department’s Public Education Division has provided numerous safety tips for both older adults and electrical safety. Visit their web pages at http://www.allenfire.org/public_education_outreach or contact them at 214.509.4413 for additional safety tips and local programs that are available.  
     
    Kathleen Vaught is a marketing specialist for the City of Allen.

     
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