ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

Seniors Stay Safe with Standards and Conformity Assessment Programs for Physical Safety and Financial Security

New York, Aug 12, 2008

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that falls among the elderly, long known as a common source of injury for this population, can be reduced through a program of adjusting treatment, assessing risk, and educating patients. Whether aimed at reducing the risk of falls or other dangers faced by the elderly, standards too can help to protect the safety and well-being of this growing population.

The study, conducted at the Yale School of Medicine, demonstrates that personalized programs of medication reduction, strength training, vision adjustment, blood pressure treatment, and other measures can reduce senior citizens’ risk of falling by 11 percent. These programs are determined by clinicians who asses the patient’s potential risks based on health and lifestyle.

Small additions to a senior’s living environment can also make a big difference in reducing slips and falls around the house. Slip-resistant mats are covered by an American National Standard developed by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), an organizational member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI/ASSE A1264.2-2006, Standard for the Provision of Slip Resistance on Walking/Working Surfaces includes provisions for reducing hazards, test procedures and equipment, and slip resistance guidelines.

As reaction time typically slows with age, senior citizens are often at greater risk for being burned. ASTM C1055-03, Standard Guide for Heated System Surface Conditions That Produce Contact Burn Injuries provides guidelines for the maximum acceptable temperature for surfaces to reduce the risk of burns. The slower average reaction time of the elderly is addressed in this standard’s guidelines for consumer goods. This American National Standard was developed by ASTM International, an ANSI organizational member and audited designator.

Physical injuries aren’t the only hazards faced by the elderly. Older Americans are often targeted by financial advisors claiming to specialize in working with senior investors. In response, Massachusetts adopted earlier this year the nation's first senior financial designation regulations. Investment advisers and broker-dealers for elderly Americans are required to prove that they have been properly trained and certified. These regulations protect senior investors from misleading titles and unethical business practices.

Under the law, Massachusetts allows only credentials accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation agency. ANSI is recognized as an accreditor of programs that offer certification for investment advisers and broker-dealers. [see related article]

While old age brings about increased risks, from falls and burns to being targeted for unethical financial practices, voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment programs are in place to assist in protecting elderly men and women nationwide.

For more information on the Yale School of Medicine study, click here.

For more information on ANSI’s accreditation services, click here.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel