Bette Davis, the renowned and feisty actress, lived to the ripe old age of 81 and noted quite succinctly that “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Bette probably had it right, but people now are living longer than ever and in many cases remaining extremely active physically and mentally as they progress. Does that mean getting older is easy? Probably not. Mature adults and their friends, children and caregivers still need to be on the alert for all sorts of problems that probably extend beyond what’s expected. WellWell looked into the potential and somewhat unseen dangers older individuals face and identified six looming pitfalls.
The number of older adults confronting substance abuse problems probably doubled between 2016 and 2020 to bring the number to five million, according to the National Council on Aging. It is a particularly dangerous trend because it is generally not recognized as a major problem and many of these adults are already on multiple prescriptions.
Perhaps one million people over the age of 65 make an emergency visit to a hospital every year due to product-related injuries. These problems can be the result of products being out-of-date, difficult to use or apply for the elderly or may even need to be recalled. It is a good idea to constantly monitor what’s being brought into the home of a mature adult.
Falling down is obviously a risk for older adults and, in fact, for the 2.5 million people aged 65 and older who visit emergency rooms each year due to falls. Not surprisingly, these visits are higher for mature people than any other age group. What may be more troubling still is that one-third of mature individuals visiting emergency rooms because of a fall can expect to be there again within a year.
Smoke and fire can be deadly for anyone, but older individuals may be more at risk because they may react more slowly to these problems than others. Not only may they have trouble sensing a problem, but limited mobility also makes it harder for them to evacuate a home or building in an emergency.
Elder fraud is a scourge that impacts millions of mature Americans every year as they fall victim to financial fraud and other schemes via email, social media, telephone calls and direct outreach. The elderly are good targets for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that they generally have savings, own property and have good credit ratings.
It is always a challenge to determine when someone should give up driving a car. Even limited driving can present challenges for the elderly if they are on certain medications, suffering from cognitive decline or have physical limitations. These challenges can become more pronounced driving at night, in heavy traffic or during inclement weather.
What other unique challenges do mature adults face? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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