May is Older American Month: Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow

posted May 13, 2014, 1:00 PM by Mary Peck

Older adults have made countless contributions and sacrifices to ensure a better life for future generations. Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. This celebration recognizes older Americans for their contributions and demonstrates our nation’s commitment to helping them stay healthy and active.

This year’s theme for Older Americans Month is “Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.” The theme focuses on injury prevention and safety to encourage older adults to protect themselves and remain active and independent for as long as possible.

While South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) Area Agency on Aging provides services, support, and resources to older adults throughout the year, Older Americans Month offers an opportunity for us to provide specialized information and services around the important topic of injury prevention. This information will help older adults take control of their safety and live longer, healthier lives.

Unintentional injuries to this population result in at least six million medically-treated injuries and more than 30,000 deaths every year. With an emphasis on safety during Older Americans Month, we encourage older adults to learn about the variety of ways they can avoid the leading causes of injury, like falls.

Some safety tips to prevent falls include as follows:

·       Installing handrails and grab bars where they are helpful, especially around stairs and in bathrooms.

·       Make sure there is plenty of lighting inside and outside your home, particularly around frequently used walkways. Add one or more nightlights between your bedroom and bathroom.

·       Choose shoes that provide support with no-slip soles.

·       Use a walking aid, if needed, to improve balance and stability.

You can find more information about Older Americans Month at http://acl.gov/olderamericansmonth. For more information, contact Samantha Walker, ombudsman supervisor, at the SWODA Area Agency on Aging at 800-627-4882 or 580-821-4068 or email swalker@swoda.org. Walker is also available for group presentations upon request.