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Preventing Home Fires for Seniors Aging in Place

The month of November is just a day away, and traditionally it marks the beginning of the holiday season. There is nothing more traditional in New England than a warm house as the winter snows pile up outside. According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature drops 10 degrees from 57 on the first to an average of 47 degrees by the end of the month, which means that indoor heating season begins in earnest, and unfortunately, as the temperature decreases, the risk of house fires increases as do the fatalities -- dramatically.

Fires can spread rapidly in older homes

Fire deaths from December through February run more than twice as high as those between June and August, reports the National Fire Protection Association, and there is no group more affected by these tragedies than our seniors.

Older adults over the age of 65 are the fastest-growing segment of the American population. More than 1,200 Americans over the age of 65 die as a result of fire each year. Older adults comprise more than 25 percent of fire deaths of all ages, and 30 percent of fire deaths that occur in the home. For those over the age of 75, the death rate is double the national average and for those over 85, the rate is four times the national average. So the next logical question is, why?