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Senior Safety Guide

Senior Safety Guide
You can view our Senior Safety Guide online using the links below:

Did You Know….

You can reduce your risks by…

Prevent Yourself from Falling by…
Staying Active

Reducing the Hazards in Your Home

Eating Well

Knowing Your Medications

Having Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly

Prescription and Medication Safety

Never take any medication that has been prescribed for a friend or family member
Get prescriptions refilled far enough in advance to avoid running out of medication

Your Medications Could Be a hazard to your Grandchildren

Prescriptions for older adults are some of the most toxic medications, posing the greatest threat of a tragic outcome if swallowed by a child. Even the most loving grandparents can put their grandchildren in danger when they unknowingly overlook simple precautions.

Avoid taking medications in front of young children, as they like to imitate

Many childhood medication accidents involve their grandparent’s prescriptions. Keep your medications out of the reach of children.

Physical Health and Wellness
Physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your physical and mental health. This will also help to improve your quality of life, as you get older.

Some Activities to Choose From… Walking or bikingSwimmingGardening or working in your yardCross-country skiing or CurlingSkatingJoin an exercise groupGolfingDancing
Benefits From Regular Physical Activity Stronger muscles and bonesBetter physical and mental healthContinued independent livingMore energyMove with fewer aches and painsImproved self-esteemWeight maintenanceImproved quality of life

Food Safety

Mental Health and Wellness
Seniors and Stress

Everyone experiences stress at some point in life, including seniors. If you are not coping well, stress can have a negative effect on your body, emotions, thoughts and behaviours.

Stressors for Seniors: 
Loss of independenceLoss of control over life and environment
Loss of spouseLoss of relatives or close friends through death or social isolation
Changes in financial status after retirement
Loss of sense of purpose and productivity
Loss of memory
Deterioration of physical abilities and chronic illness
Worrying about

For information on the District Mental Health Services for Older Adults Program call 807-274-9400 or toll free 1-888-813-6503

What are the signs and symptoms of STRESS?

withdrawal or isolationirritabilityloss of appetiteweight loss
weight loss & overeatingdepressionimpatienceindigestion
increased perspirationalcohol usedrug usememory loss

10 Ways to Cope with Stress

  1. Share your feelings with supportive friends and family.
  2. Use relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, taking a warm bath, having a massage or reading a good book.
    Meet life’s
    challenges as
    they arise and have
    a healthy balance
    in your life.
  3. Regular exercise is one of the best stress remedies around. Take a walk, work on a hobby.
  4. Manage your time by doing the essential tasks first and prioritizing the others.
  5. Maintain a healthy diet and avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fats and tobacco.
  6. Get enough rest and sleep, take a cat nap once in awhile.
  7. Help others through volunteer work. There is always a group or service organization looking for volunteers and this will give you a good feeling about yourself.
  8. Take time for yourself to indulge in activities that you enjoy. Be creative!
    Have some fun!
    Laugh and be with
    you enjoy
  9. Avoid perfectionism, nobody is perfect. hoose to think positively and to process information objectively.
  10. Learn to recognize your danger signals and know what indicators show that you are under stress like: trouble sleeping, feeling depressed, losing your temper, headaches.

If you or someone you know is facing a crisis call Crisis Response Services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Toll Free at 1-866-888-8988

Frauds, Scams and Theft
Fraud is the NUMBER ONE crime against seniors. Be an educated consumer. Not everyone who has been defrauded is even aware that they have been a victim.

Seniors are often targeted by con artists for a number of reasons:

Scams can be conducted over the telephone, by mail, over the Internet, and door-to-door. Often, you will be pressured into donating or purchasing right now! Prizes, vacations, charities, club memberships, or investments can be the front used by con artists. Don’t fall for it!

There are many types of frauds, scams and thefts designed to part you from your money.

    This is a term used to describe the sale of goods/services, or canvassing for charities or conducting surveys over the telephone. Telemarketing is a recognized legitimate business practice, but may be susceptible to misuse by unscrupulous individuals. Typical examples of these telemarketing scams are: Prize Scam, Lottery Scam, Charity Scam, and Vacation Scam. Check with
    Revenue Canada
    Charities Division
    toll free
    to ensure that
    the charity is
    • When a caller asks you to send money in order to claim a big prize, it’s a scam. Do not send out any money or give out your credit card number to the caller.
    • No matter how incredible the odds may sound to you, the odds are still usually millions to one. Legitimate lottery and sweepstakes administrators never charge fees to deliver a prize.
    • Many scams are successful because the name of the charity being used in the scam is similar to an easily recognized charity. Scammers also rely on the good will and compassion of people in times of crisis. True charitable causes are worthwhile.
    A fraud that usually occurs when the con artist appears at your door and attempts to either sell you something (vacuum, home alarms, or meat freezer orders), or offers to do some type of home renovation (snow removal, roof repair or painting). As we age, we may find ourselves in need of hiring people to assist us in maintaining the comfort and security of our homes. Extra caution is needed here in obtaining services from those who may have access to our homes and our property. FRAUD
    Recognize it
    Report it
    Stop it
    • Don’t feel pressured and never let strangers into your home.
    • Never give a cash deposit or pay for work until it is done.
    • Take time to compare quality, process and warranties. If you decide to purchase something, make sure you get a proper, fully itemized contract.
    • Check out any company that you are unfamiliar with and want to determine whether it is a legitimate and reputable business. Call the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, toll free 1- 800- 889-9768.
    • Fraud artists come up with new frauds everyday to defraud you of your money and possessions. Do your homework. Get a contract. Have friends or relatives assist you.
    If it sounds too
    good to be
    true… it
    probably is
    Is a scam that reaches us through mail, E-mails, or the newspaper. It is important not to be confused or mislead by companies that sell products by mail and use contests or sweepstakes to catch your attention. Many are “too good to be true”. See these advertisements for the cons that they are. No matter how appealing these offers may sound, trust your good judgment, use your common sense and let these “opportunities” slip into the garbage. Delete the E-mails without opening them.
    Bank Related Scams are common frauds involving seniors. There have been many changes in the financial services industry over the past few years. Consumers now have greater flexibility and more options than ever before regarding their finances. Appropriate care and diligence must be exercised when making financial transactions of any kind. Phone Busters
    provides information
    on phone fraud
    Call toll free
    • Get your bank or credit card back as soon as a transaction is completed.
    • Never give out you bank or credit card number over the Internet or over the telephone to an unsolicited caller.
    • Sign the backs of new cards as soon as you get them. Cut up your expired card.
    • Never give someone a cheque without filling it out yourself.
    • Don’t endorse cheques in advance.
    • Report lost/stolen cards or cheques immediately.
    A scam that involves one con artist distracting you with conversation or a question while another person steals your purse or personal property. These scams can happen at your front door or in the middle of a grocery store. Be extra cautious when approached by strangers, no matter how innocent or official they appear.
    • Always keep all house or apartment doors locked, even when you are home.
    • If someone is at your door and is requesting access as a public utilities inspector, ask to see their credentials and then call the company to confirm their identity.
    • Never leave your purse or wallet in a shopping cart unattended.
    An increasingly popular crime in Canada as a result of recent advances in technology. Knowledgeable criminals are figuring out how to steal identities by obtaining personal information. Once someone has assumed your identity, they can create havoc in your life; run up bills on your credit cards, take out loans in your name, transfer bank balances and open up new bank accounts.

Some advice on avoiding identity theft:

Frauds/Scams Prevention Tips

Power of Attorney
Many people believe if something happens to them and they are unable to make decisions for themselves, either financial, about their health or both, their family can do so for them. This is not necessarily true, as legal authority is needed. One way to protect yourself is through the use of a Power of Attorney. This document empowers a person or persons of your choosing to act on your behalf for financial or personal care decisions.

A Power of Attorney for Personal Care, sometimes called a “personal power of attorney” is a legal document. With this document you give someone the power to make personal care decisions on your behalf if you become mentally incapable of making them yourself.

It is important for all
Powers of Attorney to
include a clause that
says that the
document does not
come into effect
unless the person is
deemed incapable of
making an informed

Personal care decisions are decisions about your health care (including medical treatment), diet, housing, clothing, hygiene and safety.

A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property, lets your Power of Attorney make decisions about your property such as finances, home and possessions and continue to go on acting for you if you become mentally incapable of managing your property. To be valid as a Continuing Power of Attorney, the document must either be called a Continuing Power of Attorney, or state that it gives your Attorney the power to continue acting for you if you become mentally incapable.

Property decisions are financial dealings, such as banking, signing cheques, buying or selling real estate, and buying consumer goods.

The person you have appointed has the legal obligation to keep an accurate account of money transactions.

Be careful…

Remember to take extra care when deciding whom to appoint as your Power of Attorney. Do you consider them to be responsible, trustworthy, and good at handling money?

Theft by person holding Power of Attorney

Any person who misuses or commits theft by holding Power of Attorney may be subject to charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Elder Abuse & Neglect
Abuse and neglect of older or vulnerable persons is not a new problem. Although present for many years in our society, it has existed in relative silence, denial and isolation. It is not usually talked about, and is difficult to solve unless people recognize the abuse and let someone know it is happening. Many acts of abuse are crimes.

What is Elder Abuse? Abuse and neglect of older persons can be defined as any action or inaction by any person, which causes harm, threatens harm, or jeopardizes the health or well being of an older person where there is an expectation of trust.

All Seniors deserve
to be treated with
Dignity, Honour
and Respect

Who is Abused? Abuse can happen to any person, but certain factors can make some people more vulnerable. These include mental or physical impairment, cultural, or language barriers. Abused, older or vulnerable persons are often socially isolated with few friends or family in whom to confide.

Who Abuses? Anyone can be an abuser. Abusers can be a family member and are often people who depend on the older person for shelter or financial support. Abusers can also be neighbours, hired caregivers, friends or strangers. Abuse can also occur in institutions, like long term care facilities or retirement homes. The abusers could be staff members, family, other residents, or even visitors.

Abuse or neglect is seldom reported for a variety of reasons:

If you are a resident or a
visitor in a long term care
facility and suspect abuse
call the Long-Term Care
Action Line toll free

Elder Abuse Can Happen to Anyone and Can be Committed by Anyone, Regardless of Economic, Social, Ethnic, or Cultural Environment

Recognizing Abuse and Neglect

Signs and Symptoms
of Physical Abuse
 Cuts, bruises, burnsUnexplained injuriesPoor skin conditionAvoiding social contact
Signs and Symptoms
of Financial Abuse
 Power of Attorney has
been changedLost jewelry or other
valuablesNot having funds for the
necessities of lifeSigning documents they
do not understandHesitant or refusal to talk
about the above
Signs and Symptoms
of Emotional Abuse
 HelplessnessHesitation to talk openlyDepression and denialFear and agitation
Signs and Symptoms
of Neglect
 Inadequately clothedMalnourished or
dehydratedUntreated medical
condition or injuryHistory of accidents or
injuryHealth care needs not
beingmet by caregiverSignificant change in
Signs and Symptoms
of Self Neglect
 Inability of older or
vulnerable persons to
adequately take care of
  1. Physical Abuse
    • Slapping, hitting, shaking, pinching, punching or other rough handling
    • Sexual assault – any unwanted form of sexual activity
    • Forced confinement in a room, bed or chair
  2. Financial Abuse
    • Any act done without consent, that results in the financial and personal gain of one person at the expense of another
    • Frauds, forgery, thefts or the dishonest use of a person’s money or assets
    • Misuse of Power of Attorney or forcing someone to sign a will or sell property
    • Overcharging or high pressure sales for services or products
  3. Emotional Abuse
    • Humiliating, threatening or frightening an older or vulnerable person
    • Not allowing an older or vulnerable person to make decisions
    • Deliberate social isolation
    • Ignoring the person or treating them like a child
    • Mistreating and controlling another person through their feelings
    • Insulting, giving orders, and saying things to confuse a person
  4. Neglect
    • Failing to give someone who is dependent what he or she needs
    • Over medicating and under medicating
    • Abandonment or leaving someone in an unsafe or isolated place
    • Lack of safety precautions
    • Not treating medical conditions or injuries
  5. Self Neglect
    • Often live alone and do not have a caregiver, close friend, or relatives
    • May be confused due to some dementia or the misuse of medication or alcohol

Taking Action on Abuse and Neglect

Many types of abuse or neglect are crimes. If you have been abused, or if you think someone else is being abused, call the police. This is a very important step in protecting yourself or those you may believe are in jeopardy.

Experience shows us that when abuse is not identified and stopped, the level of abuse often increases. 1% to 10% of seniors are known to be experiencing some form of abuse. These numbers are conservative because elder abuse is known to be under reported.

When calling the police you can remain anonymous. However, you may be asked for your name and phone number, should more information be required. Where personal injury or property damage is feared, a peace bond may provide protection from the abuser. If the evidence is sufficient to believe that a crime has occurred, charges may be laid against the abuser.

It is important to note that in many cases, the police can assist in resolving the matter outside the judicial system.

For information on the Ontario Strategy to Combat Elder Abuse contact Regional Consultant, Lee Stones at 1-807-343-8563

What You Can Do About Abuse and Neglect

If you are still hesitant about calling, and know of someone who is being abused or neglected, you can contact Northwestern Ontario Crime Stoppers 1–800–222-8477 and your information will remain anonymous

Safety in Your Home
Seniors should feel safe and secure in their own home. It is important to take a few simple steps to make sure this is the case for you.




Safety in Your Apartment

Seniors living in apartments should also feel safe and secure.


Imagine a world…
where all seniors are respected and safe.

Fire Safety
Seniors should be prepared and know exactly what to do and where to go if a fire occurs. Protect yourself and your home from fires with these helpful tips:

Replace smoke
detector batteries
twice a year. This is
easier to remember if
done with the time
change in the spring
and fall

If you have any questions about fire safety, contact your local Fire Department.

Safety on the Street
Most street crimes can be avoided by following a few simple precautionary steps:

Be alert and cautious…

When you are out walking…

Keep a record of all
documents that you
have inside your
wallet or purse and
store the list
somewhere safe

When carrying a purse or wallet…

Safety and Your Vehicle
People are generally distracted when approaching their vehicle, carrying parcels, looking for keys, etc.

The following tips can help you keep safety in mind:

When you are driving a vehicle…

In most areas call 911 for emergency situations or 1-888-310-1122 for police assistance. Know the local Police Service number that is appropriate to your area.



The North West Community Care Access Centre (NWCCAC) helps people obtain health care and social services in their homes, their community and in Long-Term Care Homes. We:
•    provide the public with information and referrals regarding the NWCCAC’s services, Long-Term Care Homes and other health-related organizations and social services available to them;
•    assess people’s needs and arrange for health and personal support services in their homes;
•    manage all admissions to Long-Term Care Homes; and
•    authorize and arrange health services for children at home or at school.

This service is offered throughout the Kenora/Rainy River District in the communities and surrounding areas of:
Atikokan • Dryden • Fort Frances • Rainy River
Kenora • Red Lake • Sioux Lookout • Thunder Bay – Head Office

For additional information on the NWCCAC and services offered please call 1.877.661.6621 or 1.800.626.5406 (head office) or visit our website at:

The mission of the Northwestern Health Unit is to encourage healthy behaviours by promoting and protecting conditions in which all people can achieve an optimal level of health.

Public Health focuses on three areas: preventing conditions that may put health at risk (protection), early detection and prevention of health problems (prevention), and changing people’s and society’s attitudes and practices regarding lifestyle and societal choices (promotion).

The Northwestern Health Unit has 14 offices throughout the Kenora/Rainy River District. For more information about specific services and/or office locations, call 1-800-461-3348.

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