Richard’s Almanac: National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month.

Did you know that June is National Safety Month? Well I did not until Senior Center Director Laurie Fanelli gave me lots of literature about what we should do.

According to the National Safety Council, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for those of us over 65. And aging does not by itself cause falls. Many falls are caused by poor depth perception and various medications.

Some problems with depth perception are the result of wearing bifocals when going up or down stairs. Other problems result from having cataracts in an eye. I know from experience that cataracts lead to vision that is not able to see three dimensions. Items appear to blend into each other.

That’s why it’s easy to trip over objects on the floor because they appear to be part of a rug pattern and not an impediment to walking.

If you feel that you might have some sort of vision impairment, by all means get yourself to an ophthalmologist. What you can do right away is to make sure that your home is well lighted.

According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), one in three adults aged 65 and older falls each year.  Of those who fall, the CDC reports, 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it difficult for them to get around or live independently and increase their risk of early death.

What should we do about it?

Whether over 65 or not, we should identify risks around our homes and improve the safety standards there.

Check and see if any repairs need to be made. Is there a loose step or tile anywhere? Fix it yourself or get someone else to do it. This service is available at the Senior Center.

By all means have a complete first aid kit in your home and know how to find it. Also learn how to identify fall hazards and fire hazards at your home and have them taken care of.

As far as medications go, the CDC says medication management can reduce interactions and side effects that may lead to falls. Psychoactive drugs and other prescription drugs, along with over-the-counter medications, can cause dizziness, confusion and blurred vision among other conditions that can lead to falls.

Did you ever read the back of medicine packages where it says, “Don’t drive or operate machinery when using this drug.” There’s something to be said for heeding that advice.

And it’s always best to check with your physician about using any medication.

Meanwhile, there’s a gigantic yard sale planned for Saturday, June 15 from 8 a.m. until noon at the senior center. All proceeds will go to the Alzheimers Resource Disease Center in Bayshore.

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