People of all ages fall prey to some of the creative frauds that are around today, but seniors seem to be at particular risk. Here are a few typical schemes you should watch out for:
(a) High pressure door-to-door or telephone salespersons:
It is your home so you have a right to be in charge. Ask questions; tell them you are not interested; or ask them to call back. Feel free to use your local help lines.
(b) Home repair deals:
Depend on recommendations that you trust. Shop around. Be skeptical of the door-to-door repair workers.
(c) Miracle cures:
Remember, there are no miracle cures. The old traveling medicine man is still around hawking wares and promises of instant and magical relief from arthritis, baldness, heart disease, cancer, failing memory and other things. Do not buy them; instead invest your money in research that will someday help in curing the disease through correct medication.
(d) Get-rich-quick schemes:
There are all kinds of scams that play on your desire to get rich quick and your gullibility and trust. If a person poses as a banker, government agent, or "the millionaire's agent" check out the story with reliable sources before you hand over your hard-earned money.
(e) Special discounts:
Hospitals and insurance companies are very accommodating while dealing with seniors. Read all ads and information carefully. Talk with any knowledgeable friend or relative you may have about the offers made and pick the best one. Make sure the discounts offered are legitimate.
||3. MAKING YOUR HOME CRIME-FREE
Most police departments offer a service to inspect your home and suggest how you can make it more secure. This is helpful because often it is easy to overlook something that makes your home attractive to burglars that can be modified easily.
Many break-ins occur because a window or door was left open or unlocked. Deadbolt locks and secured windows are important safeguards. It helps to keep the exterior well lighted and, if you have a dog, leave it at home to bark at strangers. Mark or engrave your valuables and keep a list of them in a safe-deposit box. Finally, be careful about opening your home to strangers. Insist upon identification or ask them to return when someone else is present at home. Remember the best offence is a good defense.
||4. ACCIDENT PREVENTION FOR SENIORS
Traffic accidents: Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental death in the older population. Some of the normal changes that older people experience can aggravate the risk of automobile accidents. The ability to drive may be impaired by slower reaction time, more sensitivity to glare, diminished co-ordination, and changes in depth and color perception.
Some police departments and retirement organizations provide creative programmes to assist older drivers in detecting changes that might affect their driving abilities. Being open to the feedback of people who ride with you, may alert you to any major or minor changes in your driving patterns.
If you identify some changes in your driving, arrange your driving schedule in a sensible fashion. For instance, you may drive less at night and more in the daylight hours, less during the rush hours and more in low traffic times. Simply slowing down might not only be safer but will diminish your impatience. Common sense practices such as always wearing seat belts and not driving after drinking alcohol or taking medication will certainly reduce the possibility of injury.
Accidents in the home: The most common accidents at home involving seniors are falls and burns. Maintaining physical and mental health can prevent many accidents. The following checklist of safety habits can provide that ounce of prevention that may eliminate the need for a cure.
- Make sure stairways, doors, and porches are well lit. Both sides of stairways need sturdy handrails.
- Tack down area rugs to prevent them from sliding.
- Keep outdoor steps and walkways in good repair.
- Put slip-resistant mats and handrails in bathtubs and showers.
- Keep all electrical cords in good repair.
- Have furnace and fireplaces checked regularly for gas fumes.
- Make sure smoke alarms are working properly,
- Put nightlights in bathrooms.
- Plan fire escape routes and practice using them.
- Make sure emergency telephone numbers are clearly marked and readable, even at night.
- Never smoke in bed or when you are feeling sleepy.
- Do not wear loose fitting clothes while cooking,
Make sure the water temperature in the hot water heater is low enough to prevent scalding.
Most people do not think about emergencies until it is too late. Through the years, you have learned the benefit of making plans for things you want to do. Stop for a few minutes and think about what you have done to prevent accidents in and around your home. Think through an emergency plan. Do you keep emergency numbers by the phone? Do you keep your home and car in good repair? Do you have regular hearing and vision check-ups? Do you know the fastest route to the local hospital? Have you developed a reciprocal neighborhood watch and/or support system? Do all members of your household know what to do in the case of fire? Review these safety issues and stay in control! By doing so, you will feel even more secure.
||5. MANAGING YOUR MEDICINE
Many seniors believe that modern medicine has the cure for whatever bothers them. Some are disappointed if the doctor does not prescribe 'something' at every visit. Wise use of drugs can definitely add to your quality of life, but abuse or misuse can lead to a decrease in your health and well-being. As discussed earlier, you must consult your doctor, health care professional and pharmacist to take better care of yourself.