Visiting Elderly Neighbors Can Help Save Their Lives

April 22, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. reassurance (n.)
 [ree-uh-shoor, -shur] –the act of making someone feel confident and less afraid or worried
Example: Her neighbor gave her reassurance that she will be willing to help in time of need.

2. overlook (v.) [oh-ver-look] –  to fail at noticing something
Example:  Accidents may happen if broken appliances are overlooked.  

3. faulty (adj.) [fawl-tee] –  not working well
Example: The handyman fixed the faulty fire alarm.

4. measure (n.) [mezh-er] – action or procedure done for a specific purpose or result
Example: Using a seatbelt is a safety measure when driving. 

5. vulnerable (adj.) [vuhl-ner-uh-buhl] – easily exposed to danger or any form of harm
Example: Having a weak health can make babies vulnerable to viruses.

Read the text below.

A research in the UK suggests that paying friendly visits to elderly neighbors not only offers them support and reassurance, visits can also help prevent accidents and save their lives.

An online survey of 1000 people aged 60 and older showed that many elderly people risk getting into household accidents because they tend to overlook some safety measures.

Almost 50% of elderly people said they had forgotten to turn off the iron or gas at some time in the past. Over half answered that they do not know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, while 94% said that they did not know who to call in case of a faulty gas appliance. Many of them also admitted that they do not always ask the identification of strangers they let into their homes. 

However, even with these risks, research shows that only 1 out of 10 people of working age feel the need to visit and to check on the elderly. Survey results also showed that 25% of elderly people had visitors only once a month or less.

Energy supply company National Grid had the survey conducted as part of Safer Homes Week, a week-long campaign that promotes household safety for the elderly. The company encourages younger people to visit or check their elderly neighbors more often, as well as to remind them about household safety measures.

According to the UK Office for National Statistics, more than half of deaths in 2010 were caused by household accidents among people aged 65 and above. As such, organizations emphasize the importance of sharing safety information with the community's most vulnerable members.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

     Should younger people be responsible for the safety of their elderly neighbors? Explain your answer.
     In your culture, how are elderly people treated?

Discussion B

     What safety measures at home do you follow?
     Can you think of other ways to make sure that the elderly are not at risk of accidents at home?


April 22, 2012