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Older Americans Month: Safety is Key for Aging in Place

PHOTO: Older American Month promotes safety and activity for good health while aging. Photo credit: Medoli2/morguefile.
PHOTO: Older American Month promotes safety and activity for good health while aging. Photo credit: Medoli2/morguefile.
May 5, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Staying safe is critical to good health as people age. That's why during Older Americans Month, Indiana Area Agencies on Aging are providing opportunities for older adults to learn how they can take control of their safety.

Maureen Walby with LifeStream Services, Yorktown, says they will be providing information on safety and injury prevention so people can stay in their homes as long as possible.

"Frequently, these folks are at risk of losing their independence. We want to make sure that they have every tool in available to them so they can age in place," Walby says.

Falls are one of the main reasons people end up in the hospital and can be related to dizziness from medications, weakness or objects in the environment, she says, adding that her organization is also helping older Hoosiers learn more about motor vehicle safety, consumer product safety and medication safety.

Elva James, executive director, Area IV Agency on Aging, Lafayette, says safety and health are critical for older adults who want to stay active in their retirement.

"Elders now are more interested in giving back to their community, more interested in being active and having a high quality of life. Continuing to stimulate the mind and continuing to get physical exercise and socialize with others makes a huge difference," James says.

James adds that family members, friends and neighbors can play a role in keeping older Hoosiers safe.

"Help the person to stay active, invite them out to the community to do things with them, help them to look at their environment to eliminate risks, maybe go with them to the doctor if they're willing to have them go," she suggests.

Other events to celebrate Older Americans month in Indiana and promote safety include health screenings and seminars, movie viewings, and fitness fairs. It's estimated that unintentional injuries in older adults result in at least 6 million medically treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths every year.

More information about events this month is available by checking with the Area Agencies on Aging at 1-800-986-3505 or visiting the Indiana Division of Aging website, www.in.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN