Today, there are more older adults than ever before, and these people are more vulnerable than ever as well.
Online thieves are more sophisticated than ever. If hackers can break into Equifax and the IRS, a hard-earned retirement nest egg or a stellar individual credit rating are both small potatoes. The exploding elderly population also means that there are more patients per caregiver, and tempers are more easily frayed in nursing homes and among visiting nurses and other professional caregivers. At the same time, simple household accidents are just as common as they ever were.
Because of all these threat’s occasional security check-ups are more important than ever, because especially in this area, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
Most seniors will never fall victim to a cyberattack or identity thief, but that fact is a very small comfort for the people in these situations. Furthermore, these incidents are often devastating emotionally as well as financially, because people feel even more vulnerable when their attacker is unknown and seemed to act completely at random. Here again, prevention is usually the key to security in this area.
- Passwords: Roughly half of seniors do not password-protect their devices, accounts, and apps. An eight to twelve character password that is easy for the account holder to remember but hard for anyone else to guess is by far the most effective way to protect this information. Additionally, many apps, websites, and devices offer two-step identification upon request.
- Take a Breath: It is easy to panic when an email or message comes in that requests immediate action to avoid dire consequences. The best practice is to always assume that such messages are fake unless the addressee otherwise validates the contents or a trusted person vouches for it.
Installing security software and conducting frequent security cans is another good way to stay safe online.
Elder abuse is one of the most under-reported kinds of mistreatment, largely because the seniors do not know that they have been attacked or they intentionally refrain from reporting such incidents because they do not want the perpetrator to get in trouble, either because of a personal relationship or a fear of reprisal.
So, brain health is an important preventative tool, because these adults are less likely to be targeted. Working puzzles, attending lectures, and reciting lists (such as states and their capitals) is a good way to improve cognitive awareness.
Falls, poisonings, and fires are the most common household accidents among older folks. Bear in mind that poisoning usually does not mean swallowing a toxic substance by mistake, but rather medication-related incidents, such as unexpected allergic reactions.
Space heaters and cooking your own meals are both great things, but be aware of the possible risk and never put heaters anywhere near curtains and never wear loose clothing while cooking. Furthermore, if there is ever a fire in the home, don’t try to put it out. Instead, leave immediately and call 9-1-1.
Using what’s available is one of the best ways to prevent falls. If you walk with a cane, always use it. If the home lacks basic safety add-ons, such as a handicap toilet seat with grab bars, instal them. Also, be sure the floor is free from obstructions, especially after the grandkids come over.
As for medicine issues, make sure the doctor knows about all medications, even over-the-counter ones. Furthermore, always read and abide by the label, and make sure the poison control hotline number is close at hand.
Over fifty is a great time of life, and it’s even better when safety is a priority.