Although safety should be a concern and a priority for people of all ages, safety is especially important for people who are age 65 and above. With age comes vulnerability to incidents like disease, robbery, falls, or accidents. In 2017, there were 257,000 older adults who were hospitalized due to motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, 24% of cyber-crime victims were people above the age of 60. However, steps can be taken in order to protect yourself, your home, and your surroundings to help prevent the risk of any incidents – regardless of whether it is a physical or virtual crime.

What Could Possibly Be Done?

Thankfully, there is no need to change your entire lifestyle, move from your home, or take drastic steps in order to protect yourself as an older adult. Taking small steps can go a long way when it comes to protecting yourself. All you have to do is be proactive in the areas of your life that may be the most vulnerable. Changing your personal habits when you are home and outside of the house can help reduce the chance of being involved in any unfortunate or dangerous incidents.

Home Safety

For a majority of people, including older adults, our homes are the place where we seek comfort and tend to spend most of our time. However, some households can be more dangerous than welcoming if they do not adhere to basic safety standards. Simply modifying, adapting, or cleaning areas of your house can be a life-saving adjustment. Here are a few tips on how to make your home as safe as possible for you as an older adult:

  • Attach any/all loose extension cords and cables to the walls
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • When you are away, keep a few lights on to make your home look lived-in and discourage break-ins
  • Install motion-sensing lights in the front and backyard
  • Obtain security cameras that you can view at any given moment
  • Place anti-slip rugs in your room, bathroom and living room
  • Install handrails at every staircase
  • Make sure your bed isn’t too tall for your height
  • Place a non-slip bath mat in your bathtub
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your house at all times
  • Buy remotes or switches for hard-to-reach appliances, such as fans
  • Place a telephone near your bed for any emergencies
  • Keep a flashlight by your bed or in your nightstand
  • Place lights in all your rooms and in any staircases
  • Clean your home to allow for more walking space

Outside the Home Safety

Now that you have secured the inside of your (or a loved one’s) home, it is time to secure the outside of the house. Environmental factors can be just as threatening as any other danger and, similarly, are out of your control. No matter where you live, things like rain, snow, sleet, and hail can impact your safety. Below are a few senior safety tips that can help protect the outside of your home:

  • Install a garage door that can open automatically
  • Do not leave your house key outside of your home
  • If it is snowing, apply salt to your driveway to melt any ice or snow
  • Have a contractor come at the start of every season to remove any hazards on the roof and in your gutters
  • Avoid walking outside while it is raining, or if the ground is still wet
  • Maintain a clean yard to avoid any roots and weeds you might trip over
  • When it is cold outside, close your windows to keep the heat inside
  • Place handrails on the sides of any outdoor staircase(s)
  • Hire a pest control expert if you see any signs of insects that can harm you, such as a beehive or a wasp nest
  • Make sure your home entrance and driveway are free of clutter
  • Do not place any furniture or plants directly in front of your door
  • Replace any uneven surfaces, including stairs or sidewalks
  • Place lights along your driveway and the walkway to your door
  • Always leave the house wearing shoes to avoid slippery surfaces and accidental falls

Personal Safety

Just as taking steps towards safety in our homes is crucial, taking steps to our personal safety is equally important. As an older adult, you or a loved one may be more at risk to be victimized by predators. It is important to take into account your surroundings at all times and to take any steps necessary to reduce this vulnerability. For example:

  • If you wear a purse, make sure it is visible and in front of you at all times
  • Avoid falling asleep on public transportation
  • Do not give away personal information to any stranger
  • Make sure to never be alone in dark or isolated areas
  • If someone is coming to your home for maintenance, ask someone you know to stop by and visit while they are over
  • Always wear your seat belt while driving
  • Avoid any distractions while driving such as phone calls or eating
  • Familiarize yourself with common scams, such as insurance fraud
  • Try to keep a telephone on you at all times for emergencies
  • Keep all your valuables hidden while you are outside of your home
  • Wear comfortable shoes to avoid chances of falling
  • Stay in well-ventilated areas and stay hydrated while outside
  • Always stay a safe distance away from any roads or railroads
  • On public transportation, always try to get a seat (instead of standing) and avoid wearing headphones
  • Always be aware of your surroundings

If you follow even a few of the tips we’ve outlined above, you should have no problem staying safe as an older adult. Of course, you can never protect yourself from 100% of life’s threats – but with a little effort and common sense, you can definitely secure yourself, your home, and your finances from the majority of them.