We are pleased to announce the much anticipated release of the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ online course!
Our goal is to provide a holistic curriculum and a fresh look at many issues affecting seniors endeavoring to “age safe at home”.
The Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course empowers participants with actionable ways to better help educate clients, older adults and their family members on the serious issues of home safety, fall prevention, financial exploitation and personal safety. This comprehensive 6-hour self-paced audio/video course offers the only certificate of its kind to individuals within the senior services industry. This important training consists of a 10-module self-study educational program with a quiz after each section that participants must pass in order to continue. Upon successfully completing the entire course, you will receive an attractive Certificate along with a digital copy of the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ emblem to use in your own marketing efforts.
What is Covered in This Online Course:
– Fall Prevention Myths and Solutions
– Fire Safety Precautions and Solutions
– Aging-in Place Home Modifications
– Mobility and Accessibility Issues
– Home and Senior Safety Technologies
– Considerations for Alzheimer’s/Dementia
– Crime Prevention and Personal Safety
– Senior Exploitation, Identity Theft and Scams
– Communication with Older Adults and Family
– Performing a Complete Home Safety Assessment
If you have a group of 4 or more participants please use the form to the right to request a 25% DISCOUNT!
Here’s what people are saying about the course:
“The Age Safe America course is extremely well organized and informative. The instructors are knowledgeable and provide clear examples for the student to achieve success. There was not one glitch with the software which is amazing considering that amount of audio and video files attached to the training course. The idea of the point system and badges is brilliant because it provides the user with visual goals and a sense of accomplishment. Well Done!”.
Christopher MacLellan, “The Bowtie Guy” Caregiver Advocate, Founder of the Whole Care Network
“An amazing collection of information, well-presented. Good reminders of things we knew or should have known and a whole lot more new info – especially the Alzheimer’s segments. Great job! I like the way the segments are different lengths and formats also. Obviously a lot of time and effort went into the creation and production of this course”.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS NAHB Master Instructor | CAPS Instructor of the Year 2015
Age Safe America is a national membership, training and advocacy organization dedicated to meet the growing need for Home Safety Assessments and Aging-in-Place Home Modifications. The company is directed by nationally recognized experts in fall prevention, home safety, aging-in-place, universal design, home modifications, environmental assessment, and marketing to seniors and aging boomers. We provide training, consulting, certifications, product reviews, tools, resources and support to businesses and organizations providing products and services to seniors and their adult children.
Age Safe America is committed to home safety and accessibility to help older adults improve their odds for having an independent and productive life. Age Safe America offers the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course to individuals currently serving seniors, that includes education for home safety, fall prevention, fire safety, home modifications and crime prevention. The goal of Age Safe America is to help older adults and their families enjoy the comfort, freedom and independence to “age safe at home.”
Financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors and adults with disabilities. Situations of financial exploitation commonly involve trusted persons in the life of the vulnerable adult, such as caretakers, family members, neighbors, friends and acquaintances, attorneys, bank employees, pastor, doctors or nurses.
Who is at risk?
The following conditions or factors increase an older person’s risk of being victimized:
- Recent losses
- Physical or mental disabilities
- Lack of familiarity with financial matters
- Have family members who are unemployed and/or have substance abusers problems
Why are the elderly attractive targets?
- Persons over the age of 50 control over 70% of the nation’s wealth
- Many seniors do not realize the value of their assets (particularly homes that have appreciated markedly)
- The elderly are likely to have disabilities that make them dependent on others for help. These “helpers” may have access to homes and assets, and may exercise significant influence over the older person
- They may have predictable patterns (e.g. because older people are likely to receive monthly checks, abusers can predict when an older people will have money on hand or need to go to the bank)
- Severely impaired individuals are also less likely to take action against their abusers as a result of illness or embarrassment
- Abusers may assume that frail victims will not survive long enough to follow through on legal interventions, or that they will not make convincing witnesses
- Some older people are unsophisticated about financial matters
- Advances in technology have made managing finances more complicated
What are the indicators?
Indicators are signs or clues that abuse has occurred. Some of the indicators listed below can be explained by other causes or factors and no single indicator can be taken as conclusive proof. Rather, one should look for patterns or clusters of indicators that suggest a problem.
- Unpaid bills, eviction notices, or notices to discontinue utilities
- Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts that the older person cannot explain
- Bank statements and canceled checks no longer come to the elder’s home
- New “best friends”
- Legal documents, such as powers of attorney, which the older person didn’t understand at the time he or she signed them
- Unusual activity in the older person’s bank accounts including large, unexplained withdrawals, frequent transfers between accounts, or ATM withdrawals
- The care of the elder is not commensurate with the size of his/her estate
- A caregiver expresses excessive interest in the amount of money being spent on the older person
- Belongings or property are missing
- Suspicious signatures on checks or other documents
- Absence of documentation about financial arrangements
- Implausible explanations given about the elderly person’s finances by the elder or the caregiver
- The elder is unaware of or does not understand financial arrangements that have been made for him or her
On this day Age Safe America joins the world in voicing our opposition to elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Today, we mark the eleventh observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in our nation and around the world. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
As Americans, we believe in justice for all. Yet every year, our country fails to uphold this principle for an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans who are the victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. It doesn’t have to be this way. Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) serves as a national resource center dedicated to engaging and empowering older people so that they may be an advocate for themselves and their communities. We recognize that it is up to all of us, as a community to ensure the right social structures are in place so people can remain connected to their communities and to society as a whole, reducing the likelihood of abuse. Through evidence based policies, initiatives, education and civic engagement, we can create a sturdy social structure that can support us as we grow older. First established by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) in 1988 as a national elder abuse resource center, the NCEA was granted a permanent home at AoA in the 1992 amendments made to Title II of the Older Americans Act. To carry out its mission, the NCEA disseminates elder abuse information to professionals and the public, and provides technical assistance and training to states and to community-based organizations.
While some progress has been made in stemming the tide of elder abuse and financial exploitation, there is so much that we still must accomplish. So, on this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we ask all Americans to join Age Safe America to help prevent and combat all forms of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
Where can you learn more?
Warmer temperatures, budding trees and blooming flowers are all lovely parts of spring, but what you really look forward to is the start of vacation planning season! Deciding where to go and what to see, making arrangements and planning your wardrobe are all exciting aspects of summer vacation planning. But before you pack up to leave on your getaway, be sure to take care of the most important asset you’ll be leaving at home – your home itself.
“Before going away on vacation, homeowners do a lot of
things to prepare for the security and safety of their home while away, including stopping the mail, powering down electronics and turning off water and gas,” says Emily Lewicki, brand manager with Coleman Heating and Air Conditioning. “Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that a home’s temperature needs to be monitored, which can easily be done by using a programmable thermostat.”
While you’re savoring the fun of your vacation planning, here are seven steps you also should take to prepare your home to remain secure while you’re away:
- Stop the mail. Home safety experts agree: a stuffed mailbox is a sign of an empty home. The United States Postal Service allows you to request a vacation hold on your mail up to 30 days before your departure date. Go to holdmail.usps.com to see if this service is available in your area. You should also put newspaper and package delivery on hold, too, as uncollected newspapers or parcels in front of your house could also alert others that you’re not home.
- Turn off water and gas. If a water or gas leak occurs while you’re not there to address it, the emergency could cause significant damage to your home. You can reduce risks by turning off water flow to appliances like the clothes washer. To conserve energy and money, you can also turn off the gas flow to your water heater.
- Adjust the thermostat. You don’t need to spend money to heat or cool your home to a comfortable level when you’re not there to enjoy it. Turn down the thermostat, but don’t turn your HVAC system completely off. Extreme temperatures can harm your home and its contents. A programmable thermostat can take care of temperature adjustments for you while you’re away. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, consider installing a model like Coleman’s Hx(TM) thermostat. The touch-screen interface makes it easy to program the system, plus a free downloadable app allows you to control the thermostat from your smartphone, no matter where you travel. Just be sure to leave your internet connection active at home so your thermostat can communicate with the app while you’re away.
- Put lights on timers or sensors. A well-lit home looks lived in and is less appealing to burglars. Put outside lights on sensors so they’ll turn on when the sun goes down. Use timers to turn interior lights on and off at appropriate times.
- Prep your kitchen. Go through the refrigerator and pantry and throw away any food that could go bad while you’re away. No one wants to come home to smelly, spoiled food. Empty the trash and arrange for a neighbor to put the trash at the curb on your scheduled pickup day. Unplug all small appliances like the coffee maker, toaster ovens, food processors, etc.
- Power down electronic devices. Items like computers, TVs and phone chargers all draw power while plugged in, even if they’re not switched on. Turn off and unplug electronic devices to reduce power usage in the house and protect electronics from power surges while you’re away.
- Secure the garage. This is especially important if your home has an attached garage with direct access into your home. Most garage doors have a simple bolt lock that can be engaged from inside to prevent the door from being raised. Remember to also lock the door from the garage into your house.
Sometimes deadbolts and alarm systems just aren’t enough to deter thieves. But there are outdoor security measures you can take to prevent property loss at the hands of a burglar. While pleasing to look at, landscaping can do more than enhance your home’s outdoor aesthetic. Consider whether your current setup promotes security or makes your home more appealing to thieves. Use these landscaping security tips to help prevent your home from becoming the target of a burglary. Here are 9 ways you can help protect your home with a well-planned landscape design.
- Use plant deterrents. Thorny shrubs and bushes like holly or roses help thwart would-be burglars. Plant barrier shrubs, which are any plants that have sharp leaves or spiny thorns. These help make your property less attractive to robbers. Common areas to plant them include along your property line — this helps to force intruders or trespassers toward visible, “official” access points like your driveway where you’ll be more likely to see them — and under your windows.
- Prune vegetation regularly. Unkempt hedges provide hiding spots where perpetrators can lurk. Prune back any stands of ornamental grass, hedges and shrubs in your front yard to a height of 2 feet or less. Plants that are taller than this are commonly used by robbers to sneak up to your house without being seen by you or your neighbors.
- Trim the trees. Leave sufficient distance between tree branches and the roof or second-story windows to limit intruder access. Leave a clear line of sight to windows or doors. Blocking these views leaves your home more vulnerable to break-ins.
- Invest in accent lights. Illuminate your yard to eliminate potential hiding spots. Check monthly to verify that any existing lights on the exterior of your house are in working order. Consider installing automated lights that turn on with a motion sensor, focusing the lights on access areas to your home, such as a side door or your garage door. Install additional lighting. Don’t just rely on the porch light. Consider adding motion-sensitive lighting to help ward off possible intruders.
- Put gravel beneath ground-floor windows. Burglars rely on silence; stepping on gravel can be a startling repellent.
- Protect the back door. Many thieves try this less obvious point of entry first.
- Replace solid privacy fences. Solid fencing helps intruders go undetected. Partial privacy fencing is a more secure option.
- Lock all gates. It seems obvious, but it’s still worth a mention. Keep front and back gates locked at all times. Lock up your garden shed and always store garden tools, such as shovels and hammers, under lock and key. Such landscaping tools are commonly used by robbers to break windows or force entry into your home.
- Keep your grass mowed, yard raked, flowerbeds regularly weeded and your mail picked up. An unkempt lawn or newspapers and mail on your front step often signal to robbers that you aren’t home often. If you plan to travel, hire someone to maintain your landscape while you’re gone.
Cold Callers are people who come to your door that you do not know. Some doorstep sellers are honest, but unfortunately there are some rogue traders who target their victims by making uninvited ‘cold calls’ and offering to provide goods or services. The rogues target seniors and those less able to check the quality of the work or who may be easily intimidated into parting with large sums of money. These goods or services are poor quality, but when consumers try to complain they find it difficult or impossible to contact the trader who often refuses to return or has disappeared.
A couple common ‘scams’ include:
Someone knocks on your door claiming to be working in the area and that they have some materials with which to resurface your drive at a cut price rate. They may state that they have been doing work for the city or county and have materials left over. Work done is usually of very poor quality and the final bills are often far higher than what was originally quoted. Although they can be quite charming in their attempts to get you to agree to the work, they often turn threatening when it comes to the time to pay. Many go as far as to drive older people to the bank in order that they may withdraw more money. A few months later, when there are weeds coming through the asphalt and the company has vanished with little hope of finding them.
Roofing, home repairs & garden maintenance
Sometimes workmen cold call and offer to do home repairs like roofing, guttering, fascia work or garden maintenance. Often the work they do is unnecessary and in some cases did not need doing at all. Even if the work was required, it may be done to a very poor standard and the final bill will be far higher than their initial verbal quote. These workmen may become threatening when they demand payment and will leave an invoice with very little contact information. If there are problems with the work, it will then be very difficult to contact them to get them to come back and resolve any problems.
It is sometimes difficult to say ‘No’. Doorstep traders are often trained in high pressure sales techniques and can be very persuasive. You always have the right to say ‘I do not buy from cold callers.
Take control of the situation
It is often difficult to spot a rogue company so:
- DON’T buy from doorstep traders.
- Fix a security chain to your door and use it.
- Display a sticker on your door saying No Solicitors.
- Only open the door if you have the chain on.
- Check identification of callers and ask to see their ID and then phone the company.
- If you have any doubts about the person on your doorstep say ‘No thank you’ and close the door. If they refuse to go away tell them that you will call the police.
- If you are alone ask the caller to come back and arrange for someone else to be present.
If you have any evidence that workmen are using ‘scams’ in your area, don’t confront them. Just get as much information as you can and contact your local Police.
- Don’t make a ‘snap’ decision. Never be persuaded by the argument that this is ‘the only opportunity because this offer ends tomorrow’ or ‘we are only in the area this week’.
- Don’t sign a contract until you are completely happy with it.
- Don’t pay a deposit unless you have to and only pay a very small amount.
- Don’t pay for the work or materials in advance. Most reputable builders do not need payment in advance.
- Don’t pay cash. Pay with a check (which can be traced if necessary) or if the service or goods cost more than $100 then use a credit card as this offers extra protection.
- Don’t let the trader escort you to the bank to take out money to pay them. If they are threatening or insistent then call the police on 911.
Some final words of advice
Do not assume that all advertisements in Yellow Pages, other business directories or local papers are from bona fide traders. It is rare for publishers to check the credentials of people who advertise with them. Similarly an address and 800 number do not necessarily signify a reputable business.