Although home accidents, such as burns and falls, are the main cause of injury among older adults, the good news is that most of these mishaps can be avoided.
Steps to avoid falls
When older adults have home accidents, the results can be devastating. Falls commonly cause fractures of major bones, especially the hip, leg, and spine. Older people who fall and break a hip seldom regain full mobility and independence.
Staying in your home may mean making some changes. You may need to use a walker, cane, or other assistive devices to manage your daily activities. If you have arthritis, you may need to make other modifications to your home.
Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)
When you sign up for this service, you are given a transmitter, which is usually worn around your neck or wrist. When you need urgent medical care, you activate the transmitter, and PERS automatically calls an emergency response center for help.
When you’re behind the wheel
Getting older doesn't mean your driving days are over. But if you start to notice that your reflexes are slower or your vision is not as good as it once was, you may want to consider some changes in your driving habits, such as driving only during daylight hours. You might also consider asking someone to drive you, taking buses or using community transportation services. Not sure? We can help you decide if the time is right to stop driving.
There are community services that can help you assess your current driving capabilities and provide you with recommendations. Driving assessments are often conducted by licensed Occupational Therapists or Driving Rehabilitation Specialists. In addition, you can test your driving capabilities online through programs offered by AARP, AAA, and others.
Reviewed by Tracy Lippard, MD, July 2019