3-Getting Serious About Safety


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The most essential human need—beyond the necessity for air, water, and food—is to be safe. Those of us who grew up in the fifties took safety for granted back then, but times have changed; life has become much more dangerous.

The more you know about the risks involved, the better prepared you can be to deal with them. For every potential danger you can think of, there are numerous preventive actions you can take to keep yourself safe.

One of the greatest dangers is falling. The older we get the more common and risky falling becomes. Falls lead to 10-15 percent of all emergency-room visits and are responsible for 40 percent of all injury deaths. Much less obvious are the effects of even the smallest fall on our self-confidence and sense of independence.

Four out of five Americans are afraid of being assaulted, robbed, raped, or murdered. But fear of violence is just as dangerous because it systematically destroys brain cells, which accelerates the aging of your mind.

Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary­­—the place you feel safest—but if you aren’t aware of what is around you, your home can easily turn into an obstacle course. Dropped clothes or forgotten toys left on the stairs become tripping and falling hazards.

Many hazards are hiding in your kitchen. Things you take for granted, such as your small appliances, cutlery, washer, and dryer, and of course, your stove and oven each present their own kind of risks.

There are more cars on the road than ever, and driving has become a defensive sport no matter how old you are. If you are still driving, you should be aware of changes in your eyesight, reflexes, flexibility, and knowledge of the rules of the road.

Few of us live in small towns where everyone knows everyone, and no one locks their doors. Learn to protect yourself from unwanted guests, especially in urban environments.

Keeping safe is a do-it-yourself project. While getting older is unavoidable, looking like a frail, little old person who may fall over in a stiff wind is not. Move your body, or your body will lose its ability to do things and take you places. Move your mind, or your mind will simply forget to function.