Shop Safely This Holiday Season
A Guest Column by State Senator Scott Oelslager
December 01, 2014
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The first snowfall of winter has reminded us that the holiday shopping season is upon us.  For older Ohioans, this can be an especially risky time of year as the hustle and bustle of the shopping season increases the risk of falling.
According to the Ohio Department of Aging, among Ohioans aged 65 or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death.  Every two minutes, an older Ohioan falls.  These adults are at a higher risk during the rush of distracted shoppers.
To help prevent this, older customers should try and shop at off-peak times.  While facing crowds is sometimes inevitable, planning ahead can help avoid unnecessary risk. We can all help reduce the risk by reporting slipping hazards such as spills to store staff immediately. 
Certainly, no one at risk for stability issues should be a hero. Many stores will offer staff to help carry heavy or large bags to your vehicle.  If you use a cane or walker, consider taking advantage of the mobility scooters so that you are not on your feet longer than expected.
Retailers can also take safety precautions.  To ensure proper protocol, a falls prevention policy needs to be established and understood by all employees, especially in busy seasons like this.  Proper flooring, lighting, stairs and shelves need to be appropriately monitored.  Educate staff on how to properly address dangerous obstacles and to assist older customers in need of help.
For further information and tip sheets, please visit the STEADY U website,
Falls can be prevented.  Together, we can work to create a safe shopping experience for everyone.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if ever I can be of assistance with any state government-related issue.  I wish you and your family all the best for a joyous holiday season.

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