The senior population is America’s fastest-growing demographic, and the latest census forecasts the 65+ population doubling by the year 2050. (Read WHY here.) In anticipation of this, New York City’s Department for the Aging released an “Aging in Place Guide”, which outlines ways to make housing safer so that aging Americans may live at home for longer.
In a letter to readers of the guide (which was published in 2016), Mayor Bill DiBlasio writes, “Thousands of older individuals choose to “age in place,” remaining in the homes and neighborhoods they have helped build and contributed to all their lives. This guide offers a wide range of recommendations for renovations and improvements that will protect the safety of older tenants and improve the quality of life for all residents.”
The guide includes tips on making all types of housing options safer for aging adults. From floor to ceiling, and everything in between, the NYC Department for the Aging covered all the major points. Here are a few of the highlights:
TIP: Choose Appropriate Flooring Materials
› Install soft, resilient interior flooring materials such as cork, rubber, or linoleum
› These surfaces are gentler under foot than harder materials and can lessen the impact of falls
› For surfaces requiring floor wax, use a product that produces a non-glossy surface
TIP: Install Indirect Lighting
› Aim lights at a ceiling or wall surface to avoid direct eye exposure to light sources
› Use two or more fixtures to avoid shadows; for example, use wall fixtures or sconces on each side of a bathroom mirror
› Under-cabinet and task lighting can also reduce shadows
TIP: Choose the Right Hardware
› Install lever-type hardware on all exterior and interior doors. Lever-type hardware is easier to use than round knobs or handles, especially for people with arthritis
› For doors that require locks, use lever hardware that can be operated by an electronic card, requiring only a single motion with one hand to unlock and open the door
› If a traditional key is used, provide extra lighting or color contrast to make the keyhole
TIP: Use Alert Devices
› In addition to building systems, residents may wear medical alert devices
› Building owners may be able to purchase an alert system at a group rate
› Medical alert devices without GPS capabilities may result in false alarms; for example, the fire department may arrive at a resident’s apartment if she signals the device while away from home
Our Personal Emergency Response Systems are easy-to-use, affordable, and they can connect users with emergency help with just the push of a button. Browse our product catalogue for pricing and options, and call our team to learn more about getting your loved ones connected with an Alert Sentry system.
Would you be surprised to hear that falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among Americans aged 65 and older? Here are some astounding statistics to help drive that point home:
- 27,000: the number of older Americans who died in 2014 because of falls
- 8 MILLION: Number of emergency department visits for fall-related injuries among the older population
- 7: Percentage of the 65+ American population who reported falling in 2014
- $31 BILLION: The amount that falls among older Americans cost Medicare in 2014.
These startling numbers were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, as the agency urged doctors, caregivers, and the American public to have conversations with their older friends and relatives to help prevent falls.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden was quoted in a news release as saying, “Older adult falls are increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence. Health care providers can make fall prevention a routine part of care in their practice, and older adults can take steps to protect themselves.”
Things like increased exercise, removing trip hazards in your home, and having your eyes checked are all positive changes that can help prevent falls in the home.
While there are steps one can take to help mitigate falls, they are a danger that will never fully be prohibited for an older person, especially one living alone. One of the most effective methods is using a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) like Alert Sentry, to ensure that if a fall does occur, that person will receive swift medical attention.
Alert Sentry even offers an on-the-go mobile PERS device with automatic fall detection. This means that the user doesn’t even have to press the button if the device detects their fall; help will automatically be called without them ever having to lift a finger.
Every second of every day, an older American falls. Not only do these falls inflict (often serious and even deadly) injuries, but they also cost billions in medical bills. It’s a burden on our aging American population and one that can at the very least be mitigated with the use of a PERS.
This month, it seemed that the world was absolutely consumed by “Pokemon Go,” a new mobile app that allows users to compete in an augmented reality to catch “Pokemon” animated characters in the real world… through their smartphones (Here’s a beginner’s guide to the game). Pokemon Go is yet another example of the power and reach of modern technology, and a reminder that Americans (seemingly) can’t go anywhere without their smartphones. Younger Americans, that is!
Research shows that while 86% of 18 through 29-year-olds own smartphones, but that percentages dips dramatically as the age bracket increases; Only 30% of people ages 65+ own smartphones.
While mobile phones are still quite popular with the 65+ age bracket, landlines still reign supreme with 80% reporting that they still have a landline at home.
A previous Pew Research study found that seniors are more hesitant to adopt new technologies because of the barriers they face when adopting them, including medical conditions that make it difficult for older Americans to use certain devices and skepticism about the benefits of technology. Most of all, it seems to be a lack of digital literacy that deters seniors from new technologies.
What does this mean for ageing Americans? Mobile phones certainly are not a necessity for older adults, but they can provide an immense sense of security for both elderly folks and their families. Living alone at any age has its dangers and downsides, but those dangers only increase with age, as health wanes and bodies and minds are no longer at the peak of performance.
That’s where Personal Emergency Response Systems come in; with just the click of a button, users are connected to an operator who will get them the help they need. We even offer technology that can help detect a fall, making a response time even faster for users. Rather than having to locate one’s mobile device or landline and dial a telephone number, Alert Sentry users can be connected with a first-responder with just one click of a button.
Whether you or a loved one lives at home alone, there are steps you can take to improve safety – and provide peace-of-mind – that an accident can be assessed and treated quickly and easily.
By 2060, the 65 and older age group will more than double, according to the PEW Research Center’s 2015 projections. It is estimated that 98 million Americans will make up that age group in 2060, up from just 46 million in 2014.
In comparison, the under 18 age group is expected to increase by only 11.8% between now and 2060.
So why is the 65+ population growing at such a drastic rate, while the rest of the population growth rates are expected to remain the same over the next 35 years?
- Baby Boomers are aging.There are currently approximately 74.9 million Baby Boomers (aged 51-69) in the United States. The Baby Boomer population is second only to Millennials, of whom there are 75.4 million.
- People are living longer because of advances in science…In 1900, only 4% of the US population was over 65 years of age. Today, that age demographic makes up 14% of the population. Why? Because we’ve had major advances in medical sciences, like organ transplants and radiologic imaging.
- …And improved public health initiatives. Over the last century, everything from public sanitation to education surrounding health and wellness has improved dramatically. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was created in 1946 with a mission to improve field investigation, training, and control of communicable diseases. The CDC leads the charge in educating and preventing against known, new, and emerging diseases around the world and has more than 14,000 employees serving and protecting Americans.
One such advancement in the medical field has been the creation and advancement of Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS). More than 90% of respondents to the AARP’s “Healthy At Home” study said that they wanted to live at their own home for as long as possible. PERS systems help make this a possibility for many, by providing a “safety net” for users by allowing them to call for medical help with the simple push of a button.
Studies show that those who use a PERS system lived up to 6 years longer in their own space than those without this added security. Alert Sentry’s state-of-the-art systems give our clients an added insurance of wellbeing, and our three different products offer something for everyone. Call one of our representatives, available 24/7 to learn more.