• Preparedness for Older Americans

    May is National Older Americans Month. It’s a great opportunity for families to discuss the needs of their parents, grandparents, and other older adult members of the family.

    Preparedness is the same no matter your age, but older Americans may want to consider adapting their personal preparedness plans because of access or functional needs, such as medication needs, hearing or vision loss, cognitive or mobility disability.

    For example, an older American may take the same actions to prepare for emergencies, including:

    Disaster-Survival-First-Aid-MartAccess alerts and warnings; While younger Americans are more likely to receive via mobile device, seniors are more likely to see on TV.
    • Assemble or update medications, batteries for hearing aids and other assistive technology needs if used on a daily basis;
    • Keep a list of all medical providers and medical information in a safe place that is easy to access if needed;
    • Document and insure property; and
    Safeguard all documents.

    Additionally, if you, someone you care for, or an older neighbor receives regular treatments from a clinic, hospital, or a home healthcare service, be sure to talk with the service provider to determine back-up plans in the event of an emergency.

    You can find more information on how older Americans prepare for emergencies online:

    Download "Information for Seniors" (PDF) or the Printer Friendly version in English and Spanish.

    Read: Seniors and Scalding Burn InjuriesSeniors and Falls, Fire Safety for Older AdultsSeniors Staying Alone: A Few Tips to Make Things Easier

    Resources from AARP: Create the Good


  • Seniors and Scalding Burn Injuries

    Aside from perception and mobility hazards, older adults can be at greater risk of scald burn injuries, as poor microcirculation can also cause deeper and more serious burns.

    For Burn Awareness Week, we would like to share some precautions to take to help reduce burn and scald injuries in Seniors:

    Senior~ Older adults may have conditions that make them more prone to falls in the bathtub, shower, or while carrying hot liquids. Provide a bell or whistle for people who may need assistance to call for help while bathing and install grab bars and non-slip mats. Older adults (and people with certain medical conditions) may not be able to escape scalding water on their own. Provide a way for them to call for help, especially in the bathroom

    ~ Mobility impairments, slow or awkward movements, muscle weakness, fatigue, or slower reflexes increase the risk of spills and burns.

    ~ Moving hot liquids can be extremely difficult for someone who uses a cane or walker.

    ~ Certain medications can decrease a person’s ability to feel heat and they may burn themselves without knowing. Sensory impairments, changes in a person’s perception, memory, judgment, or awareness may hinder their ability to recognize burn dangers.

    ~ Tablecloths can also become tangled in crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs. Use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths.

    ~ Burns on the lap are common when a person attempts to carry hot liquids while seated in a wheelchair. Use a large sturdy serving tray with raised edges to transfer food from the stove to the table if you or someone have mobility impairments or are unsteady or shaky.


  • Winter Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors

    As we get older, it is hard enough to stay upright without all the daunting additions of ice, wet walks, snow, and sleet...

    Profile PicAh, winter. Blizzards, freezing temperatures, visiting the ER because you fell on the ice. For kids, winter is an exciting time. They love playing in the snow and sliding around on the ice. For senior citizens, all that ice and snow means an increased chance of slipping and falling. Here are eight things you can do to make winter a little less perilous:
    Check your footwear. Examine your shoes and boots. How's the traction? Is it time for a new pair? Better traction can help keep you more stable on icy surfaces.

    Keep your shovel and salt in your house. The reason you have a shovel and salt is so you don't have to walk on a slippery sidewalk. If you have to traverse through the snow and ice to get to your garage where the salt and shovel are kept, that defeats the purpose.

    Check the railings. If you have railings leading up to your front door, check to see if they're sturdy. If you slipped, would they be able to support you?

    Bring a cell phone when you leave the house. If you fall, it can sometimes be hard to get up. Carrying a cell phone whenever you go out can bring peace of mind.

    Slow down. Allow extra time if it's slippery out. It's when you hurry that you end up pushing the envelope of what your balance can handle. Also, keep in mind that being a little late is better than rushing and causing a fall.

    Ask for help. If you have to walk across an icy sidewalk or parking lot, try to find a steady arm to lean on. Most people are happy to help an older person navigate a slippery walkway? You just have to ask.

    Have a plan. When you are going out, ask yourself, "If I slipped and fell here, what would I do?"

    Strengthen your legs. Strong leg muscles can help you steady yourself if you slip. And if you do fall, they make it a lot easier to get back up. You should exercise your legs regularly to keep them strong. Try walking up and down your stairs repeatedly or do a set of ten squats out of a chair a couple times per week.

    These little things, when used together, can make the winter elements a little less daunting.

  • Video Game Training Improves Brain Function

    Are you a Vidiot? Good!

    Video Game Training Improves Brain Function in Older Adults

    computergameSeniors who played a specialized 3-D video game improved their ability to focus and multitask during laboratory tests. The new findings show the aging brain’s potential to improve certain skills.

    Com04As we get older, changes can affect our ability to reason, think, and remember. One function that may be altered is multitasking—the ability to do several things at once. You’re multitasking if you write an email while talking on the phone. When driving, you’re also performing many tasks at once, such as scanning the road, steering, and braking.

    To learn more, a team of NIH-funded scientists asked a small group of healthy adults, ages 60-85, to do multitask training by playing a specialized 3-D driving game. The seniors used a joystick to drive a virtual car along a winding road. They were told to press a button only when specific road signs appeared. As the seniors improved, the game got harder.

    Seniors played the game on a laptop at home for 1 hour a day, 3 times a week for 4 weeks (12 hours of total training). The training significantly enhanced their ability to multitask in laboratory tests. Their multitasking scores were even better than those of untrained 20-year-olds. Gains were still seen when the seniors were tested 6 months later.

    The training also led to improvements in tests related to memory and attention—abilities that often decline with age.

    “The finding is a powerful example of how ‘plastic’ the older brain is,” says study leader Dr. Adam Gazzaley of the University of California, San Francisco, referring to the brain’s ability to adapt and change.

  • Protect Older Adults from Falls and Injury

    Senior-FallWe all want to protect our family members as they age and help them stay safe, secure, and independent.

    Knowing how to protect older adults from falls, a leading cause of injury, is a step toward this goal.In recognition of National Fall Prevention Awareness Day, September 22, 2013, learn how you can help older adults reduce their risk of falling and live better and longer:

  • Estimate Your Social Security Benefits

    Whether you're getting close to retirement or planning for the future, estimate your Social Security benefits.

    The estimator gives you an idea of what your monthly Social Security benefits would be, based on your current record of Social Security earnings. Your actual benefit amount cannot be determined until you apply for benefits.

    As you plan for your retirement, keep in mind that you'll need 70-90 percent of your pre-retirement earnings to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. Social Security benefits will only make up a part of this percentage and should be supplemented by a pension, savings, and/or investments. Check out 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement

    Compilation of first aid kit images Always have First Aid Kits on Hand!


  • Summer is Heating Up... Think about Fire Prevention

    Photo: Man showing a fire detector to an elderly man

    Protect Your Family from Fire

    Fire Safe Seniors Tool Kit

    CDC has developed the Fire Safe Seniors Tool Kit to help you effectively implement a smoke alarm installation and fire safety education program targeting older adults. The tool kit includes:

    • An implementation guide with helpful information for planning and running a comprehensive fire safety program for seniors.
    • Three different training curricula.
    • Tools for conducting home assessments, education, smoke alarm installations, and process evaluation.

    Place your order for a FREE Fire Safe Seniors Tool Kit and additional items today.

    The Risk is Real

    The risk of injury and death from home fires is real. Consider that:

    • In 2011, fire departments across the country responded to 384,000 home fires.
      • These fires claimed the lives of 2,640 people and injured another 13,350.
      • Approximately 4 out of 10 home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.
    • The main reason smoke alarms fail to operate during home fires is missing or disconnected batteries.

    Keep Your Home Fire Safe

    Your home should be a safe and comfortable place—and you can help keep it fire-safe by following these prevention tips.

    Cook with care. When you cook, never leave cooking food unattended on the stove. Keep anything that can catch on fire, like potholders and towels, away from the cooking area. Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves that can catch on fire. Also, keep pot handles turned in.

    If you smoke, attempt to quit. Don't smoke inside your home. If you do smoke in your home, never smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended. It is unsafe to smoke while drowsy or under the influence of alcohol or medications. Also, don't empty burning or hot ashes in a trash can, and keep ashtrays away from upholstered furniture and curtains.

    Stay warm—safely. If and when you use a space heater, keep it more than three feet away from anything that can catch on fire, like draperies.

    Graphic: When it comes to protecting children against burns...

    In an effort to raise parents' awareness about the leading causes of child injury—including burns— in the United States and how they can be prevented, CDC launched the "Protect the Ones You Love" initiative. Parents can play a life-saving role in protecting children from injuries. Information is available in English and Spanish.

    Learn more.

    Be alarmed. Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement, and make sure you have smoke alarms near all sleeping rooms. For better protection, install smoke alarms in sleeping rooms, especially if they are occupied by a smoker. Test all smoke alarms once a month using the test button.

    Make and practice an escape plan. Create a home fire escape plan. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible, and have a meeting place outside. Practice your escape plan twice a year with everyone living in your home.

    For more tips on protecting children from burns, visit CDC's Protect the Ones You Love.

    More Information

    Video screen capture: A Time To Act.An online video available through CDC-TV, "A Time to Act", explores one of the most common causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States.

    CDC Resources

    External Resources

    Burn First Aid & Fire Safety Burn First Aid & Fire Safety

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