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Preventing falls in the community for the elderly should be a topic that is discussed more often.

However, usually when you read information about preventing falls, the focus in on the home.

But chances are that your loved one also spends time outside the house.

And although we cannot always control what happens in the community, there are precautions to take to help your loved one stay safe in the community.

In today’s post, I’ll share a few tips that will help to prevent falls in the community.

Preventing falls in the community for the elderly

Safe footwear

Wearing the right footwear is key to preventing falls in the community for the elderly.

Shoes should have:

  • A good tread on the bottom to encourage friction so a person is not likely to trip. Worn shoes which don’t have a good tread will cause your loved one to trip easily.

Orient your loved one to the area

This is especially important if your loved one will be visiting a place for the first time.

Let them know of any obstacles in the way or sudden elevations (eg. a step) so they don’t trip over those.

If it helps and where appropriate, you could visit the premises ahead of time to note those problem areas so you can prepare your loved one for them.

Glasses and contacts

If your loved one uses glasses or any other visual aid to help with a visual impairment, encourage them to put them on.

Communicate with event organizers

If you know someone on the event organization team, it might help to communicate with them ahead of time so they can make sure electrical cables are out of the way and fluid spills are wiped up immediately.

Sometimes this is impossible.

But if it can be helped, communicate ahead of the event.

Use mobility aids where necessary

Anything that makes mobility easier for your elderly loved one while they are in the community is great for staying safe in the community.

Easy communication devices

Say your loved one is walking their dog and falls down in a secluded area.

Do they have access to a communication device that will help them get in touch with someone immediately?

Several companies now have devices that the elderly can hang around their necks or otherwise gain easy access to.

You could encourage your loved one to have such a device on them in case this happens while they’re on their own.

 

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Share it with someone else looking for how to prevent falls in the community.

 

 

 

 

 


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September 27, 2018 Fall Prevention0

According to the United States Centers of Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults 65 and older.

So what can you do as a caregiver or as an older adult yourself to prevent these falls?

In this post, I will share how you can establish a fall prevention program that keeps older adults injury-free as much as possible.

Let’s delve right into it.

How To Establish A Fall Prevention For Your Elderly Loved One

Toileting Needs

Most people fall on their way to the bathroom. Thus as a caregiver, it may be important to establish a toileting schedule where you ask the older adult whether they have a need to go to the bathroom.

Offer your assistance during these scheduled bathroom breaks.

If your elderly loved one is not particularly excited about have scheduled bathroom breaks encourage them to ask for help when they do need to go to the bathroom.

If your elderly loved one has limited mobility and/or is bed-bound, consider a bedside commode.

Safety in the Bathroom

Keep your bathroom nice and safe by using items like:

  • Bathmats- these add friction to the shower and bathtub and avoid dangerous slips.
  • Shower chairs- so that your elderly loved one can sit safely during a shower/bath time.
  • Bathroom rails that they can grab onto in the bathroom.

Safety around the house

Your fall prevention program should also include safety all around the house.

Another place falls easily occur is the kitchen.

To promote independence, it is important that you encourage your elderly loved one to get involved in as many household activities as he or she wants.

It is important however that you encourage them to ask for help in places like the kitchen.

Place mats on the kitchen floor to promote add friction and decrease the likelihood of falls.

Spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible.

The edges of rugs in common areas should be trimmed or should have no frays as these can cause fall as well.

Keep walkways in the house lighted- even at night! Use night lights in your elderly loved one’s bedroom and in the path that leads to the bathroom.

In the bedroom, it may be helpful to lower the bed.

Dementia/Alzheimer’s Patients

An older adult with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is likely to fall because they may be confused as to where they are going.

In addition to the fall prevention program components above, it may be helpful to constantly reorient older adults with dementia to their surroundings.

You can say things like “There is a staircase here so watch your step” or “The floor is slippery. Hold on a minute while I clean that up.”

If it is possible, a bedroom on the first floor is great for an older adult with dementia to prevent accidents that involve the staircase.

Extra Tips

  1. Keep their eyeglasses within reach.
  2. Keep assistive devices such as walkers and walking sticks within reach.
  3. Consult with vision and hearing specialists if needed.
  4. Keep furniture in the same position. If you switch furniture around, it is important that you reorient your elderly loved one until they get used to the new arrangement.
  5. A loss of electrolytes can lead to confusion. It is therefore important that your elderly loved one is well hydrated and nourished.
  6. Look into whether your elderly loved one needs an instant alert device such as Life alert so that they can call for help immediately they fall.

Closing Thoughts- Implementing a fall prevention program

Whether you are a family caregiver or a caregiver with an agency like Green Tree Home Care, it is important that there is a fall prevention program in place.

In this post, I have shared how you can prevent falls at home for your elderly loved one. I suggest that you print out this post and use it as a guide to design your own written fall prevention program.

Enjoyed this post?

Consider sharing it with someone else who is looking for tips on preventing falls at home.


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April 23, 2018 Fall Prevention0

You realize your loved one is moving a little slower lately. Getting out of bed feels more and more difficult and the current mattress isn’t easy to get in and out of. Your doctor mentions it might be time to consider a hospital bed at home.

The term hospital bed sounds sterile and uncomfortable. But, hospital beds have changed a lot over the years. Now, they are valuable tools that make giving and receiving care more pleasurable for both parties.

Hospital beds move via mechanical or electrical means. The new models are easy to use and have controls handy for bed dwelling patients.

Hospital Beds Raise, Lower, Elevate, and Recline

There are differences in functionality among different bed models. But, most hospital beds are capable of a variety of movements. If your loved one has reduced balance and mobility, you want to ensure he has his feet firmly planted on the ground before he tries to stand. You can lower or raise a hospital bed so your loved one can stand safely. Hospital beds make the safe use of walkers and wheelchairs easier.

Hospital beds Elevate and recline. For patients who have difficulty sleeping on flat mattresses, hospital beds can adjust to create a comfortable sleeping space. Sometimes patients need to elevate legs and feet for health reasons. 

Hospital Beds are Good for Caregivers

Hospital beds support good care technique. Caregivers can control the position of hospital beds. Caregivers are better positioned to offer support in back healthy positions. They are less likely to bend and stoop while providing assistance. Hospital beds make caring for your loved one’s personal needs easier.

Hospital beds often have rails that may give your loved one something to hold onto. Even if your loved one is non ambulatory he may have upper body strength. He can use his arms to help with rolling and repositioning.

Hospital Beds are Small and Mobile

While it may be an adjustment to move from a large bed to a hospital bed, often the reduced bed size makes maneuvering in the room safer. Wheelchairs and lifts require quite a bit of space to use and position correctly. Hospital beds may have wheels for easy movement. If your loved one is bed bound, a hospital bed makes changing scenery easier.

Hospital Beds are Accessorizable

Hospital beds rails offer great hand holds. They also protect people from rolling off the sides. While you would never want to restrain someone in bed rails are great reminders for people who need help in and out of bed. Bed rails can be attached on the entire length of the bed, or half rails can attach near the top of the bed. These rails are great for getting in and out of bed and usually don’t get in the way of getting in and out of bed.

Over bed tables slide close to the edge of the bed. They create a versatile table surface that works well with the size and design of hospital beds at home. Sheet or blanket supports raise blankets off lower legs and feet. These supports keep blankets from restricting leg movement and getting tangled as your loved one moves. Blanket supports also keep the extra weight off sensitive skin to help prevent sores and friction in calves and ankles.

If your loved one is prone to pressure ulcers specialized air mattresses can help. These mattresses provide alternating pressure and help keep body weight more evenly distributed. According the the US National Library of Medicine alternating pressure mattresses are clinically shown to better prevent pressure ulcers than standard mattresses.

The adjustable nature of hospital beds makes it easier to provide incontinence support. Caregivers can use side rails and hight changes to better manage personal care. Great cleanliness supports healthy skin. Minimize risk of bed sores and urinary tract infections with quality adult briefs, especially for overnights.  https://dependabledaughter.com/product-category/incontinence/overnight/

Closing Thoughts

Hospital beds are great tools that help keep your loved one comfortable at home. For people who are bed bound or have trouble getting in and out of bed a hospital bed at home may be the solution. Hospital beds are sometimes covered by medicare. Medical professionals can help get your loved one a hospital bed at home.

Some people still regard hospital beds as clunky and sterile, but today’s hospital beds are valuable home care tools.

 


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April 20, 2018 Fall Prevention0

Your loved one suddenly seems less steady on his feet. His doctor suggests he start using a walker and shows him how to use it. When you get home you realize the house has narrow halls, or the chair sticks out too far. Home furnishings that once felt cozy now clearly look like trip hazards.

You notice how impossible a wheelchair will be to get up and down the steps. Your eye for ADA access and walker safety has suddenly come into focus and you plan to work with your father to make the home safer, but where do you start?

Clear a Path

While it might seem like a no brainer, sometimes in the fight for safety, aesthetic wins out. Tables and buffets that have held a special place over the span of 40 years feel permanent and important. Asking a loved one to use a new tool he doesn’t love, and move a piece of furniture he does love might be enough to start world war III. Often clearing pathways is more about gentle conversation than physically moving objects.

Sometimes it helps to have a professional suggest changes in the home. Your loved one may feel more receptive if difficult suggestions come from a stranger. Home health and home care organizations often have managers who will make home safety suggestions.

Walker Glides Make Moving Walkers Easier

You have seen walkers with the fluffy yellow balls attached to the legs. There are better versions of these walker accessories called walker glides. Walker glides protect the included rubber stops on the bottom of the walker, and they help make walking across carpeted surfaces easier.

For people who struggle to manage the weight of the walker friction reducing accessories make a big difference. Well worn walkers can scratch floors and make noise as the components wear out. Glides offer another layer of protection.

Different Walkers for Different Places

There are several types of walkers. Some walkers have no wheels, some have two, and some have four. Walkers are not expensive tools, so it makes sense to try different models for different activities. For outdoor use walkers with two wheels offer stability but move over uneven ground more easily. Rollators or walkers with four wheels make faster walking possible but require the user feel comfortable with using a brake.

Consider having different walkers for different levels of the house. You certainly don’t want your loved one navigating stairways will trying to carry a walker up and down. Some people keep a fold up walker in the trunk to minimize lifting and improve walker safety.

Remove Rugs, Cords, and Trip Hazards

Walkers offer stability but pathways must be clear to prevent trip incidents. Look for cords and rugs that are loose and could catch the foot of a walker. Talk to your loved one about the importance of fall prevention. Walkers help with balance issues, but falls can still happen if feet get tripped up. Rugs may seem heavy and secure where they lay, but corners and edges may lift just enough to catch a toe. Walker safety includes making sure trip hazards are out of the way.

Keep the Walker Somewhere Handy

Walkers do no good when stored in the garage, but without practice and urging that is where they can end up. Make sure walkers are in easy reach of your loved one. Keep a walker beside the bed, or in a bathroom. If there are door size issues keep one in an often used room so your loved one doesn’t need to try to fit it through the door.

Wrap Up

Getting used to a walker may take your loved one a little practice. Encourage the use of the walker by making it accessible, and easy to reach. Have walkers on different levels of a multi story homes and remove rugs and trip hazards from walkways. If your loved one doesn’t love a particular walker style, try a different one. There are lots of walker features including wheels, brakes and seats. Find the design that meets your loved one’s needs best.

If your loved one needs more encouragement using the walker when you aren’t around, or would benefit from meal preparation and light house keeping contact us for a free assessment.

 


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March 26, 2018 Fall Prevention0

As we age, our bodies lose strength and bone density from around the age of thirty on. While this natural change in our make-up may feel hopeless and enevitalbe, take heart, you can fight the effects of time!

Weight and strength training gives your body the extra boost it needs to remain strong and healthy. Weightlifting for senior adults offers many benefits including maintaining and improving muscle condition. Beyond that, there are emotional benefits to weightlifting for senior adults. People who engage in regular exercise generally report an increase in energy and positive feelings.

Chris Corpuz, CEO of Reneu Health, believes exercise programs are important at any age. He and his team are licensed kinesiologists. They offer one on one training programs designed to improve strength, and combat the pain and weaknesses. Chris shares his list of weightlifting do’s and don’ts for adults over the age of 55.

Do Consult Your Physician Before Starting Any Exercise Program

This sounds like school house advice, but it is out there for good reason. Any time you intend to make significant lifestyle changes and put more stress – even the good kind- one your body, you should make sure you are physically ready. Your doctor can give you advice about appropriate activity levels. It is also a good idea to have a baseline physical to help monitor how your exercise efforts impact your overall health.

Do Start Gradually and Listen to Your Body

Many exercise injuries start from a place of good intentions. You are excited to charge into a new gym lifestyle. You join a gym, grab a dumbbell, give a great heave, and POP! There you are feeling pain and not the good muscle sore kind. When it comes to weightlifting for senior adults, working gradually up in weight is a great plan. While your 20-year-old self may have pumped iron like Popey, the more mature you should make sure your body is responding well to your new weight lifting routines. Your training plan should be based off your current health and abilities. If your need a little more support with mobility and balance training check out this article.

Do Be Consistent and Keep it Simple

Starting a new weight and strength training routine can feel intimidating. Just remember showing up and putting in workout effort should produce results. Muscle and strength gains are never overnight. Whether your goal is to walk across a room without assistance, or blast out 10 one arm pushups, consistently working at your goal is the only way to get there.

Do Make it Social and Grab a Friend or Family Member to Join

Social support often pushes people a little harder to reach goals. Connect with peers who are interested in weight training. Weight lifting for senior adults is gaining popularity as an important part of staying healthy and active. Some gyms even have special programs for adults over 65. Inviting a friend to your workout is a great way to bond and share a common goal.

Don’t Perform High Impact Exercises

High impact exercises are not necessarily better, and they are certainly harder on joints. The goal is to improve strength and mobility, and stressing joints compromises that goal. Concentrate on great form, and effective movements. Lots of jostling activity does not guarantee great results.

Don’t Work Through Pain 

We have all heard the saying “no pain – no gain”. Not true in weightlifting! While you may feel some soreness post workout. You should not feel pain during your workout, especially if it is sharp and intense. Again, listen to your body. Remember, gaining strength and muscle is a long game, so take your time.

Don’t Do Exercises and Activities You Find Boring.

Sometimes you may be tempted to do an exercise because you are “supposed to”. In reality, you are more likely to stick with an exercise program you enjoy. Experiment with different machines and free weights. Change your workouts up, add music, and have fun!

Don’t Be Afraid to Add Resistance Training

Consider resistance bands or cable machines at a gym. While this may not be what you visualize when you picture yourself weightlifting resistance training may be a valuable tool for gaining strength and mobility. Bands come in different resistance levels, and are great for recovery training.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Guidance From a Professional

Often, the biggest barrier to a successful training program is knowing where to start. Weight lifting for Senior adults is a specialty; and trainers should know specific things to watch for when creating training plans for older adults. Working with a professional trainer can set you up for success. You will receive feedback on your form, support, and accountability. Getting a personalized plan just for your goals and abilities may be the difference between thinking about weightlifting and making strength and mobility transformation!

For more information about private weight training for seniors connect with Chris and his team at Reneu Health.

 


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March 9, 2018 Fall Prevention0

Falling is easily one of the greatest fears among seniors, and for good reason. According to one estimate from the CDC, 1 out of 4 people over the age of 65 experience a fall annually. This statistic is frightening enough, but it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the broader ramifications of falling accidents among seniors.

Here are a few more stunning statistics that highlight the necessity of implementing a fall prevention program if you are over the age of 65:

  • Falling accidents are responsible for 95% of hip fractures among the senior population and at least 300,000 seniors are hospitalized for hip fractures annually.
  • 1 out of every 5 falls results in a serious injury such as a head injury or fractured bones.
  • 8 million seniors are treated by emergency rooms for fall injuries every year.
  • Falling is the most common cause of serious brain injuries.
  • According to one study, falling accidents are responsible for a loss of $31 billion dollars annually.

One look at those statistics and it’s crystal clear that falling is a serious problem that needs to be addressed among the senior community and their caregivers. So, what can be done?

Improving Balance and Mobility May Be The Best Way To Combat Falling Accidents

Impaired strength and balance are considered some of the strongest indicators of a person’s likelihood of falling. There are many other factors, such as cluttered living spaces, impaired vision, and complications from pharmaceuticals. But reductions in balance and strength are two of the most prominent causes.

Luckily, these are two of the easiest factors to address because they only require dedication to exercises designed to improve muscle tone and balance. Proper exercise plans also offer unexpected secondary benefits to seniors who stick with them like heart health and improved jar opening.

Here are a few tips to help you improve your mobility and balance and help you prevent the dreaded fall.

1.  Keep Active to Prevent Falls

Seniors have a tendency to live a more sedentary lifestyles as they age. However, it’s more important than ever to exercise because we lose muscle strength and bone density as we age. These factors add up to an increased fall risk and increase the likelihood of serious injury as a result of a fall. Exercise addresses decreases in physical strength and health.

Try to find ways to work low-impact exercise into your daily life. Many people like to join walking groups that gather at chosen locations to chat and stroll at their own pace. This is a great way to keep yourself active, prevent falls, and also an excellent opportunity to socialize with others. If you are uncomfortable walking alone, you can find a caregiver who will relish the chance to get outdoors for a little leg stretch.

It’s important to keep active, even if you are experiencing impaired mobility. Look into a bed or chair exercise program to help keep that blood flowing and get your heart rate up! Ask your doctor about exercises or stretches she can recommend.

2.  Body Appropriate Weight Training

Keeping up your physical strength is a great way to prevent falls and minimize their damage when and if they occur. Ask your doctor about how you should go about finding a weight training program that suits your specific health challenges. She will be able to help you formulate a specific plan with concrete goals you can shoot for.

Don’t let age scare you out of taking the steps you need to take to keep yourself fighting fit! If you start slowly and work your way up (always check with your doctor first), you can build up strength and stamina.

3.  Find an Experienced Trainer

Once you have talked to your doctor and assessed your needs, you can find a trainer to help you put your plan into action. Find a trainer who has experience working with physical rehabilitation and has experience working with seniors.

Discuss your goals and physical needs with your trainer. If possible, have him work with your doctor to maximize your physical benefit and reduce your physical risks. You’ll be feeling great and experiencing massive health benefits in no time at all with the help of a caring, experienced personal trainer.

4.  Improve Your Balance

Balance is obviously an important factor in preventing falls. Many seniors are turning to alternative forms of exercise to help improve their physical and mental well-being.

Talk with your doctor about taking a class in Yoga or Tai-chi. These exercise forms improve a number of health problems common among the senior community. Both exercises can improve circulation, promote healthy hearts, boost flexibility, and alleviate depression.

Many yoga and Tai-Chi schools offer classes specifically geared for older people and those with mobility concerns. It’s a great way to prevent falls, meet new friends, and keep socially active.

5.  A Little Help from Man’s Best Friend

You might want to consider working with a dog if you’re the type of person who likes animals. Walking or even just playing fetch with a dog is a fun way to get outdoors and exercise. If you don’t own a dog, this can also be an excellent opportunity to score some points with your neighbors by volunteering to walk their dog, or you could volunteer at a pet shelter.

Interacting with animals also has some surprising secondary benefits. Studies have shown that petting an animal can reduce blood pressure, alleviate the symptoms of depression, and even help you survive a coronary event! Besides, who could resist those puppy dog eyes?

Ultimately, when you set out to prevent falls you should have a specific functional goal in mind. Improving your strength and mobility through physical fitness should start with a doctor consultation. Take it slow, work your way up, and stay positive and dedicated to accomplishing your goals.

Staying fit and exercising may seem a bit intimidating at first, but neglecting your body out of fear is one of the best ways to make your fears a reality. So, put your fears to rest, get out there, meet people, get fit, and prevent falls!

 


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March 7, 2018 Fall Prevention0

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports: one out of three adults aged 65 years and older fall every year in the US. As we age, our ability to bounce back from a major injury significantly diminishes. A few days in the hospital can cost precious muscle strength, and mobility. Fall prevention is an essential component for maintaining adult independence.

One fall is a strong indication that more falls are likely. Many seniors experience a regular cycle of falls and hospitalizations until they can no longer remain safely at home. According to the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services, 7 older San Diegans are expected to die from falls every day in 2030 if there are no changes to current fall trends. Creating a safe living space, getting the appropriate tools, and lining up caregiver support all ensure an environment of fall prevention.

2.  Maintain and Build Strength and Balance

As we age we naturally lose muscle mass and flexibility. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t fight to win it back. Staying active, and focussing on appropriate strength exercises can help seniors remain strong, independent, and upright. Even if your loved one has already experienced a reduction in strength and balance it is never too late to speak with your doctor about doing more. Fall prevention is about maintaining proper form and stamina. Strength and balance are very much use it or lose it skills, especially as you age. If you or your loved one feel weakness or balance issues try adding a few of the following activities to your routine ( with your doctor’s permission of course):

  • Go for a daily walk with friends or your dog
  • Join a yoga class
  • Body appropriate weight training
  • Medicare reimbursed physical therapy support
  • Water based activities
  • Bed and chair exercises

There are so many ways to maintain strength and balance for fall prevention! Find one that fits you or your loved one and get moving!

2.  Practice Medication and Health Management

Side effects for miss-management of medications and chronic health issues contribute to the high fall rates in San Diego county. If you or your loved one often miss medication doses, it may be time to enlist outside help to ensure medications are properly dosed. Conditions like fluctuating in blood pressure or unmanaged diabetes can cause dizziness and may contribute to falls. There are many health issues that affect the senior community. If you notice a medical condition is contributing to the weakness or instability of a loved one, you should bring it up to his doctor. Sometimes changing medications or making lifestyle modifications can greatly reduce the incidence of falls. Even something as simple as drinking more fluids and eating more nutritious, health appropriate meals can do a lot for fall prevention.

3.  Use Assistive Devices Correctly

Have you ever seen a person carry a cane like an umbrella rather than the assistive walking device it is? Yep – it happens all the time. Sometimes, people don’t like the mental stigma they feel goes along with walkers, wheelchairs, and canes. It is important your loved one feel comfortable using whatever assistive device is most appropriate for his needs. If you or your loved one need help using assistive devices, the doctor is a good place to start. Doctors can order therapy services. Home health physical therapists can work with a patient to get the most out of an assistive device.

4.  Bring in a Caregiver to Help with High Fall Risk Activities

Bathrooms are high fall areas. Bringing in a caregiver can help with fall prevention, especially during tasks like bathing and using the restroom. If your loved one is repeatedly falling at night or when showering there is a good indication you can help reduce falls by hiring support during those times. Caregivers can also assist with nutrition and medication support. They can offer a level of oversight on critical tasks to help with fall prevention. If you are interested in finding out more about San Diego Home Care, check out this article.

San Diego Home Care – Everything You Need to Know 

5.  Home safety modification

Take a look around your loved ones home. Most of the falls that occur in San Diego County are the result of slips trips and stumbles. Walkers and toes can get caught up on the edges of carpets and other obstacles in the walkway. Take a look along walking paths, and make sure there is lots of clearance so feet and assistive devices don’t get caught up. Adding grab bars in the shower area supports fall prevention. Make sure to look through the house for places your loved one might have trouble navigating. Steps in and out of the house can transform into ramps. First floor offices can convert to bedrooms to cut down on stairway risk. You can easily add chair lifts and bed rails to help a loved one navigate a cherished home.

 

The hardest part about fall prevention is getting used to necessary changes that support a safe environment. Talk to your loved one about the risks of taking no action. Take small steps to create big gains in mobility and independence. If your loved one has a history of falls, take immediate action and work together to make the environment one he can remain in safely for years to come!


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