Senior Care in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
“Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.”
The fact above is quoted from a presentation given recently by Ed Trapasso, co-owner of The Perfect Home Care, to residents of the Atria Senior Living facility in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
Some 40 residents of Atria gathered in the facility’s common area to hear the 30-minute presentation, which explored the magnitude of the problem while also providing six simple tips to prevent falls.
“As a result of the presentation I’m going to be much more careful,” said one attendee, an 87-year-old woman. “I was aware that the problem is serious, but I had no idea it is so widespread.”
She was referring to a portion of the presentation that sized up the problem, which is huge. Last year, for example, a whopping 2.3 million older adults (those 65 and older) were treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal fall injuries, and more than 660,000 of them were hospitalized.
The monetary consequences of falling among the elderly are similarly large. Consider that in 2014, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, was $30 billion.
Indeed, when caregivers from The Perfect Homecare receive orientation when beginning new cases, they’re always reminded to be especially vigilant about preventing falls.
“It tops the list of areas we emphasize with all of our aides,” said Phil Waga, co-owner of The Perfect Home Care. “Given the statistics, we just assume there’s a fall risk and build our care plans with that in mind. Our aides understand and enthusiastically support the effort.”
The Atria audience was especially engaged during the portion of the presentation that focused on six simple tips to prevent falls. Here’s a summary:
- Make an appointment with your doctor: While visiting the doctor, older adults should bring a list of their prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and supplements, as some medications carry side effects that can contribute to falling. What’s more, certain eye and ear disorders may increase falls. Also, older adults should be prepared to discuss their health condition and how comfortable they are on their feet. For example, do they feel any dizziness, joint pain, numbness or shortness of breath when they walk? Doctors might evaluate muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.
- Keep moving: Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With a doctor’s approval, older adults should consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falling by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Older adults should also consider consulting a physical therapist who can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait.
- Wear sensible shoes: Older adults should consider changing their footwear as part of their fall-prevention plan. They should avoid shoes that can make them slip, stumble and fall, including high heels, floppy slippers, shoes with slick soles, or walking in stocking feet. They should instead wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles.
- Remove home hazards: Older adults should look around their homes to make certain their rooms don’t contain obstructions, such as boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords in walkways. They should move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas, while also securing loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing. They should consider removing loose rugs entirely. They should also repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away; store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach; immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food; and use nonslip mats in the bathtub or shower.
- Light up your living space: Older adults should keep their homes brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see. They should also place night lights in their bedrooms, bathrooms and hallway; place a lamp within reach of their bed for middle-of-the-night needs; make clear paths to light switches that aren’t near room entrances; and consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.
- Use assistive devices: Medical professionals might recommend using a cane or walker to keep older adults steady. Other assistive devices can help, too. They include hand rails for both sides of stairways; nonslip treads for bare-wood steps; a raised toilet seat or one with armrests; grab bars for the shower or tub; a sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub; and a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting.
If you or an aging loved one are looking for senior care in Briarcliff Manor, NY, call the friendly staff at The Perfect Home Care at (855) 855-5728. Call today!
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