“But It Was Right Here This Morning… I Think”
An old man walks into a bar, sits down and starts crying. The bartender comes over and asks, “What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”
“I married a beautiful woman two days ago. She’s young, incredibly intelligent, my best friend, and intensely passionate in bed.”
“But, that sounds great!” says the bartender, “So why the tears?”
“I can’t remember where I live!”
Everyone misplaces or forgets a thing or two once in a while. But for 1.6 million elderly Americans in nursing homes, 1.0 million Americans in assisted-living facilities, and an equal number of seniors living home alone finding those lost things, even trying to remember names, appointments, birthdays, or whatever was so gull-darned important about April 15, can be no joking matter. Often, it`s more than frustrating.
Mostly congenial, the elderly can also be befuddled at times, cantankerous too, verbally abusive, and even physically aggressive. Whether sitting at the bar, behind the wheel, or in the shower any person without all their faculties becomes a danger to themselves and/or to others. But especially so for seniors, who can be both vulnerable and obstinate, suffering chronic ailments, taking multiple medications thus less aware and vigilant, and sometimes easy prey for identity fraud artists, petty thieves, and investment schemers. A wide range of personal safety and security issues pose ever-present risks for all of us but can have far more serious repercussions for seniors.
“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
– Mark Twain
At a recent “Senior Summit” in Detroit hundreds of older residents expressed their legitimate fears about personal safety when venturing out from their apartments onto the streets of Detroit. One 80-year-old lady said that she had decided to carry a handgun but had quit “carrying” because it was hard to compete with weapons already out there. Fumbling around for the gun in her purse would be more dangerous to her than to anyone else, she said.
“Packing heat” is just one of a long list of increased risks to seniors that can be described within three broad categories:
- Personal Safety