Like it or not, once we reach our twilight years, our tolerance for danger needs to change. That doesn't mean we need to abandon our sense of adventure or independence. We just need to modify how we pursue it.
Over the years, we've come across some great advice on how we can incorporate safety into our daily lives. So we took it upon ourselves to sift through it all and come up with our 5 favorite suggestions to increase your safety, without killing your zest for life. Here's our list:
1. PRACTICE SAFE SEX
Sex is great. Have at it. Lots of it. Just do it safely. We don't mean avoid hanging from the chandelier. We mean cover it up. Put on a hat. Get tested.
More seniors are dating than ever before. Divorcees, widowers and singles. Online dating is making senior dating easier than ever. But seniors are the fastest growing age cohort of sexually transmitted disease. The answer? Wear condoms and ask your partner to get tested before taking them off.
2. AVOID FALLING
Falls are the leading cause of injury and death from injury to older adults in the United States. They cause broken hips, sprained wrists, fractured skulls, concussions and death. A horrible cocktail. The older we get the more we fall. The more we fall, the higher the chance we'll fall again.
The good news is, falls are highly avoidable. Keep fit to maintain your balance and ability to overcome a stumble. Keep your legs strong by walking, squatting and lunging. Add grab bars on the interior and exterior of your shower and tub. Keep your home well lit. Add railings next to both sides of your stairwell. Wear proper footwear - that means getting rid of your heels and loose fitting slippers. Remove tripping hazards in your home. Add a medical alert system (also known as a life alert) to access help in the event of a fall.
3. KEEP YOUR GUARD UP
Fraudsters, scammers and abusers target seniors more than any other age group. Why? Because seniors tend to be more gullible (happens with age), more isolated and more dependent on others - all of which makes them more vulnerable.
The sad part is, that while online scammers and telephone fraudsters are plotting their evil schemes, family members are the biggest culprits of senior financial, physical and verbal abuse. The best way we've found for seniors to protect their interests is to have multiple trusted folks (family, accountants, lawyers, etc...) review and oversee their bank, investment and credit card statements, as well as all new contracts. Have multiple family members stay in close contact and visit often. You may also want to put a nanny cam with audio in your parents apartment if they have lots of caregivers coming and going.
4. VISIT YOUR DOCTOR(S) REGULARLY
Americans are living longer than ever in no small part because of better medications and medical interventions (surgeries, etc...). But far too many seniors are living with chronic disease in America, whether it be high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and a host of other ailments.
To avoid a nasty surprise go see your doctor regularly. Don't wait for an emergency event. Get your blood work done. Check for high blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate, breast cancer. There are so many diseases and conditions, that if we catch early we can avoid the worst. But be proactive. Avoiding the truth, doesn't make it true.
5. DON'T BE A GRUMPY LONER
As we get older many of us start to get set in our ways. We lose friends without making new ones. We stop going out. We stop developing new hobbies and interests. All of those habits contribute to the increasing social isolation, anxiety and depression afflicting today's seniors in massive numbers.
But we know how to avoid it. Science has shown we're social animals, happiest when we have deep and meaningful relationships, and are connected to our community. Make an effort to maintain relationships with friends and family. In fact, make new friends, both young and old, to keep life interesting. Play cards online with friends daily, have weekly dinners with family, go for walks, volunteer at the church or library, hang out with the grand kids.