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Adler: We Need a Plan to Protect Older Americans

In 2004, staff at my agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, estimated that the combined injury and death costs to older Americans totaled more than $100 billion per year. In the coming months, we will prepare our first updated annual report in almost a decade on deaths and injuries to older Americans. I believe our new data will assist in a larger national effort where all stakeholders work to determine which hazards to our seniors are easily addressable and which hazards require new types of technology and consumer education.

The CDC’s national plan on children’s injuries states it will require “bold actions, effective leadership, and strong partnerships” to accomplish its purpose of reducing injuries and saving money. We need the same national commitment for older Americans. It is not often that children blaze a trail for their grandparents, but this seems to be one of those moments.

Robert Adler is a commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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