Tips for Seniors

Drug Safety: Use One Pharmacy

Pill Box If you fill all prescriptions at one pharmacy, all the important information about what you take and when you take it is in a central location. Ask the pharmacist if any over-the-counter medicines or herbal supplements will interact with your prescriptions. He or she will have your complete medication information and be able to give you immediate feedback.

With many people (of all ages) using more than one medication, it is crucial that drug interactions are noticed by the supplying pharmacy before they harm the patient.

Fire Hazards

Cooking accidents have been cited as the leading cause of fire-related injuries for older Americans. Of all rooms in the home, the kitchen is deemed the most active and dangerous.

The leading cause of fire deaths among older Americans is the improper use of smoking materials.

Heating equipment in the homes of seniors is responsible for a large number of fires. Extreme caution should be exercised when using alternative heating appliances such as space heaters and wood stoves.

Fire Facts for Seniors

Of all Americans, one of the greatest groups at risk of dying in a fire is people over the age of 65. There is an average of 1,000 elderly people die in fires. People over the age of 85 are five times more likely to die in a fire than the rest of the population.

There are steps that people can take to prevent becoming a victim of a fire. What makes this group of individuals so vulnerable to injuries and death due to fire?

  • Older people may not respond quickly enough in the presence of a fire to avoid injury and even death.
  • Taking routine medications may impair their ability to make quick decisions in the presence of a fire.
  • Suffering an injury while at home alone can delay emergency notification.


Smoking materials improperly discarded have been known to claim the lives of many older Americans. If you smoke, be sure to use a non-combustible ashtray or extinguish the lighted cigarette into a container with water.

As always, having a working smoke alarm on each level of your home dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. Everyone in your household should be familiar with your family's home escape plan and know exactly where to meet in your neighborhood.

Bathroom Safety

Bathrooms are frequently used rooms in most homes. Some common accidents that happen in bathrooms include falling on slippery surfaces, poisoning from various medications, and injuries from various personal care items like razors or curling irons.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in homes and communities, resulting in more than 25,000 fatalities in 2009. The risk of falling, and fall-related problems, rises with age and is a serious issue in homes and communities.

Common locations for falls:

  • Doorways
  • Ramps
  • Cluttered hallways
  • Areas with heavy traffic
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Areas prone to wetness or spills
  • Unguarded heights
  • Unstable work surfaces
  • Ladders
  • Stairs

Fall prevention tips:

  • Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas
  • Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats to keep them from slipping
  • Remove tripping hazards (paper, boxes, toys, clothes, shoes) from stairs and walkways
  • Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps, and repair damages immediately
  • Never stand on a chair, table or other surface on wheels
  • Clean up all spills immediately