National Senior Independence Month

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Why Fall Prevention is So Important

mdhomehealthadmin Active Living, Caregiver Information, Hiring a Caregiver, Senior Lifestyle Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , , ,

February is National Senior Independence Month, and while many are doing their part in promoting healthy living, caregiving and exercise, it is equally important to stress the risk of falls, and to join in promoting fall prevention this month. According to the CDC, one out of every three adults age 65 and over falls each year. Falling is also the leading cause of accident related deaths for this age group. This makes falling one of the single highest threats to the independence of seniors. It is for this reason that we are going to dedicate an entire blog post to the topic of fall prevention this month; in spreading awareness, and helping prevent accidents, while promoting senior independence.

Important Statistics

According to the CDC, falling is a serious and costly issue facing those 65 and older, and their website has listed the following shocking statistics:

  • 1 of 5 falls causes a serious injury–broken bones or a head injury.
  • Over 300,000 seniors are hospitalized annually for hip fractures.
  • Nearly 3 million seniors are treated in the ER for injuries resulting from a fall.
  • Over 800,000 seniors are hospitalized yearly for fall injuries. Hip fractures and head injuries are the most common.
  • Over 95% of hip fractures are caused from falling, and usually onto one’s side.
  • The most common cause for traumatic brain injuries is falling.
  • The annual cost incurred from fall injuries is $31 billion. 2/3 of this results from hospital costs.

After a Fall

After a person falls, they are likely to suffer from broken bones. Common breaks from falling include wrists, arms, hips and ankles. They may also suffer a head injury. Head injuries can be serious, and medications such as blood thinners can make them even more dangerous. If a senior has hit their head, they should see a doctor immediately to rule out brain injury. Even if the senior has fallen and was lucky enough to escape serious injury, a fall can have debilitating mental effects that could cause the person to become fearful of falling again. This is likely to interfere with their normal daily routines, and cause them to become less active. Being less active is only going to increase their risk of a future fall more in the long run, so a good therapist may be essential after a loved one has experienced a fall.

Risk Factors

The Center for Disease Control has identified the following factors for increased risk of falling. Most falls are the result of a combination of risk factors, and the more factors someone has, the higher their risk of experiencing a fall.

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Weak lower body
  • Troubles walking or balancing
  • Foot pain, or poorly made footwear
  • Medications that affect one’s balance (over-the-counter or prescription)
  • Home hazards
    • Uneven or broken steps
    • Lack of handrails next to stairs or in the bathroom
    • Throw rugs or clutter that one may trip over

Fall Prevention

The best way to help your loved one to prevent a fall is to evaluate their risk first in their home, and second with their medical doctor. You may want to ask a Phoenix home health care professional to evaluate your loved one’s home. You may even want to hire a Phoenix home care provider to visit the home of your loved one on a regular basis to clean, or assist them during daily tasks that open them up to greater risk for falling. Your doctor can help you find ways to reduce fall risk around the home, and you may want to review the medications your loved one is taking, and add a vitamin D supplement into their daily diet. The biggest factor in reducing the risk of falling is exercise. Tai Chi is great for helping increase lower body strength and balance.

For more information on preventing falls, our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.

 


February is National Senior Independence Month

mdhomehealthadmin Active Living, Senior Lifestyle Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

February is a month that is dedicated to celebrating senior independence, and putting a bit of extra time into promoting and assisting a senior in your life in any way that helps with their independence in staying at home, while receiving the care that they need. As caregivers and Phoenix home health care professionals, we are extra excited about February, and have a variety of suggestions for ways that you can join in and promote senior independence this month as well.

If you have a special senior in your life that you would like to see stay in their home, and out of hospice care, it would be a good idea to take an assessment of their needs. A needs assessment can help you to better understand the daily struggles your loved one faces, and also where they might have needs for greater health and safety in their normal routines. If you’re unsure of how to conduct a thorough needs assessment, contact your local Phoenix home care professionals, and they can send someone to the home of your special senior to conduct a needs assessment and consultation for free.

There are likely to be a variety of medical and non-medical services required in the home of your loved one, and deciding whether to help with some of these tasks, or to hire a caregiver is going to be your next decision. You may even want to split up some of the tasks between yourself and family members, while adding the help of a professional caregiver. Things like grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning the home, and administering meds may sound like reasonable tasks that you can handle, while the more medical needs will require the help of a medical caregiver. There are also a variety of non-medical needs your loved one may have, such as having someone there to help them dress each day and to bathe, that you may want to hire a caregiver to help with.

Another great way to help promote independence in seniors this month is to help promote a decent amount of exercise into their daily routines. This is something you will want to discuss with your loved one’s doctor first, to ensure they aren’t over exerting themselves, or bringing extra risk to a health condition. Any amount of consistent exercise has been found to be the single most important factor for those over 65 in promoting independence, longevity and reducing the risk of falls. Falling is one of the most prevalent risk factors for seniors, and is the biggest cause of injury death for this age group.

National Senior Independence Month will be more effective the more it is acknowledged and observed, so spreading the word is another great way to help promote awareness. A great way to spread awareness is by asking your municipal government to declare February as Senior Independence Month in your city or town. Here is a great example of a proclamation that you may use to spread the word to your local community.

Every bit of help in spreading awareness about Senior Independence Month is certainly appreciated. And for those of you who do not have a special senior in your life, but would like to help in promoting senior independence in your community, look no further than your local YMCA. They offer a SilverSneakers Fitness Program for those 65 and older, and you can get involved by volunteering, and helping facilitate senior fitness in any way that you can. If you would like more information on National Senior Independence Month, or our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742, or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.