Archive for the ‘Fall Prevention’ Category

Seniors & Fall Prevention: How Can You Help Your Aging Loved One?

March 5th, 2018 No Comments

Fall Prevention

If your aging parents or older relatives still live in their own home, you may worry for their safety when you can’t be with them. This fear is understandable, as one in four older Americans experiences a fall every year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of physical injuries–such as hip fractures and broken bones–in adults over the age of 65. Falls are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in people over 65.

In addition to the physical impact of falls, fear of falling can create intense emotional distress and even depression in many seniors. This can cause them to refrain from leaving their home or engaging in physical activity.

Is your aging loved one at risk of falling? Here’s how to help.

Do a Home Safety Assessment

It can be difficult to know which areas of your loved one’s home pose the biggest risk for falls. Many of us take a defensive position when it comes to home safety–we don’t correct an issue until a fall or stumble has already happened.

However, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to fall prevention and older people. A serious fall can lead to extreme physical pain, hospitalization or even prolonged disability.

A fall can also lead to psychological distress, including increased fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.  Fear of falling can also increase a senior’s actual fall-risk. Seniors who are afraid of falling exhibit less confidence in their movements and tend to withdraw from physical activity. Lack of physical activity then leads to muscle weakness and lack of balance. These issues compound to increase a senior’s likelihood of experiencing a fall.

A home safety assessment is one of the most effective ways to eliminate tripping and fall hazards in one go. Take a look at the home objectively and pay particular attention to potential fall hazards. You may need to rearrange furniture, enhance lighting, remove throw rugs and cords, or install railing in key spots to reduce or eliminate fall-risk.

Get Vision Correction Materials

Does your loved one have eyesight problems? Does he or she regularly visit the eye doctor and keep up-to-date on their vision prescription, glasses and contacts?

Vision impairment is one of the leading causes of falls by aging individuals in the home. Many older people don’t realize that their vision is worsening. If they are no longer driving or working, it can be difficult for them to gauge vision loss as it may have occurred gradually. It can also be difficult for them to keep eye appointments or make trips to an optical retailer.

Ask about their vision and current vision prescription. Arrange to take them to an eye appointment if they complain of worsening vision.

Improve Strength, Balance, and Gait

According to Institut Nazareth et Louis Braille, lack of balance, weak muscles and uneven gait are main contributors to falls in the home.

  • Many seniors experience muscle weakness and lack of balance as a natural part of aging.
  • Uneven gait is also common, as many seniors have experienced bone fractures or injuries that affect their posture and ability to walk.
  • It’s important to help your loved one stay active. A walk each day or other physical activity can help them build strength. Physical activity can also help improve balance.

If you worry about your loved one getting enough physical activity during the day, a home health care provider–such as professional caregiver employees from Visiting Angels–can help encourage your older parent to take frequent walks, do physical therapy exercises, and be more active overall, with confidence knowing they have a safety supervisor by their side.

Contact Visiting Angels today to learn more about our home health care and personal assistance services in New Jersey.

Fall Prevention Awareness Day: September 22. Check out 6 ways to prevent falls…

September 22nd, 2017 No Comments

Fall Prevention Awareness Day on the First Day of Autumn

The National Council on Aging has prepared an infographic of 6 steps to prevent a fall. For adults over 65, it’s especially important to guard against falls. Preventing falls is a big component of senior care.

1. Exercise will help with your balance and strength

2. Speak with your health professionals to determine if you’re prone to falls

3. Review your medications with your pharmacist or doctor periodically to make sure your drugs aren’t causing you to fall

4. Get hearing and vision checkups regularly

5. Take precautions in the home

6. Ask your family to help you stay safe against falls

Have a wonderful autumn, everyone!

7 Ways To Prevent Falls At Home

September 16th, 2016 No Comments

in-home-new-jersey-senior-care-visiting-angels

September 22nd is Fall Prevention Awareness Day!

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries of people age 65 and older. One in three adults experiences a fall each year and over 700,000 are hospitalized for injuries sustained during a fall.  Even if a fall doesn’t result in a major injury—such as a hip fracture, broken bone, or head injury—a fall can often leave seniors more fearful of falling or even depressed, making it more difficult for them to stay physically active and remain independent.

If your aging parents or loved ones are high fall risks, helping reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them maintain independence, and most importantly, to stay healthy.

Although falls are serious, the good news is that they can be prevented. Below are seven steps that seniors can take to reduce their risk of falling while at home.

7 Ways to Prevent Falls

  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing. Although you want to be comfortable at home, wearing baggy clothing can sometimes make you more likely to fall. Wearing clothing that’s properly hemmed and that doesn’t bunch or drag on the ground can keep you from tripping.
  • Brighten up your home. Having poorly lit areas in your home is a major hazard. To increase the lighting in your home, install bright light bulbs where needed, especially at the top and bottom of staircases.
  • Wear shoes when at home. Wearing socks or going barefoot may be comfortable at home but can present an increased risk of slipping. Preventing a fall at home can be as simple as wearing shoes. If you really want to wear socks, consider wearing non-slip socks that have grips on the soles.
  • Remove or repair any walkway hazards. Sometimes home fixtures can contribute to falls. While doing a walkthrough of your home, examine each room and hallway, looking for any loose carpeting, slippery throw rugs or floorboards that stick up, and decide rather you want to repair or remove those items.
  • Install handrails and grab bars where needed. Use of safety devices is critical for going up and down the stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub/shower, and getting up on and off the toilet without injury. Consider installing a second handrail along staircases and a grab bar near the toilet and in the bathtub. You should also check that all current handrails are secure.
  • Make slick surfaces non-slip. Use non-slip mats in bathtubs, showers, and kitchens to reduce the risk of falling. These surfaces and areas can become extremely dangerous when wet.
  • Slow down. Many people fall just by moving too quickly. Slow down and take your time when moving from a sitting to a standing position to ensure you have your balance before walking and going up or down stairs.

For aging adults, reducing the risk of falls also means reducing the risk of injury. Along with taking these seven steps towards preventing falls at home, ask seniors about their health and how they are feeling about their potential to fall.

It’s also important to discuss and review any medications with your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Some medications can cause dizziness, and if you’re experiencing this at any time, see your doctor for a medication review. If you wear eyeglasses, be sure to check that your prescription is up to date.

If you have an aging parent or senior who has experienced a fall, or needs help completing daily activities while remaining independent in their own home, contact Visiting Angels. Our Angels provide professional, individualized, non-medical, in-home care to older adults and seniors throughout Mercer and Burlington Counties, New Jersey.

Make it a fall-free autumn with fall prevention…

September 24th, 2015 No Comments

Visiting Angels NJ Promotes Fall Prevention Awareness

As we usher in the first days of autumn, it’s time to focus on Fall Prevention Awareness. Did you know 2.3 million injuries from falls were treated in emergency rooms across the country in 2010? Of these, 662,000 were admitted into the hospital. Many times these falls in older people result in hip fractures, lacerations, and traumas to the head. Fortunately, many falls can be prevented through simple measures such as:

  • exercise to help promote balance and stability
  • changing medications which may cause dizziness or sleepiness
  • having regular eye exams to improve vision
  • evaluating home hazards such as throw rugs and other obstacles which may cause one to trip

To lower your risk of bone fracture, eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, get plenty of weight bearing exercise, and get screened for osteoporosis.

4 reasons older people shouldn’t just “take it easy”….

April 15th, 2015 No Comments

Senior Fitness Visiting Angels Lawrence Township, NJ

Exercise improves seniors’ overall health

Fact or Fiction? “Exercising is dangerous as I get older, so I should just take it easy.” Answer: FICTION, of course!

Studies have shown that regular exercise can improve health for seniors by:

  • Improving balance and preventing falls
  • Strengthening muscles and improving endurance
  • Relieving depression and improving mood
  • Preventing some types of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes

Talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program that works for you!

It’s a winter wonderland here in New Jersey! It’s beautiful, but dangerous for seniors…

December 11th, 2013 No Comments

Visiting Angels’ back yard view in Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Yesterday’s snowfall in New Jersey created a winter wonderland at our Lawrenceville office! While the snow is beautiful, it does pose hazards for seniors, in particular. Falling is a big concern for older people in the snow.

If your loved one must go out in the snow, have them take precautions: use a walker or another person to steady themselves upon and wear protective hip gear. Shoveling snow is another snow-related activity seniors should avoid.

Shoveling snow and lifting snow places stress on the heart and increases the risk of a heart attack.

June is National Safety Month

June 2nd, 2011 No Comments

June is National Safety Month. Click on our National Safety Month resource page to read more on this important topic.

Fall Prevention Awareness Week: September 19-25

September 23rd, 2010 No Comments

 

The coming of the fall season brings the annual Fall Prevention Awareness Week. Falls are especially dangerous for older adults.

– – –How widespread is the problem?

  • Did you know that more than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States?
  • Among older people, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths. Falls also are the major cause of injuries that aren’t fatal and are the leading cause of hospital admissions for trauma.
  • In 2010, over 2 million older adults were treated in emergency departments due to falls; more than 662,000 were retained in the hospital due to falls
  • The rates of fall-related deaths among older adults increased over the past decade.
  • 20% – 30% of people who fall have moderate to severe injuries–bruises, hip fractures, lacerations, or head traumas.
  • Another factor to consider: medications. Many older adults take multiple medications to treat their health conditions. Taking four or more medications can greatly increase the risk for falling. This is because there are a greater number of side effects associated with multiple medication use and the side effects can be intense. Interactions between medications can also cause side effects.

Video from Texas Health Resources

Half of the trauma admissions at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hosptial Fort Worth involve falls. “And we did a little bit of research saying what makes people fall. Things that make them fall are the amount of medications that they have, if they have cords on the floor, if their rooms are crowded, if they can’t see properly,” said Mary Ann Contreras, RN. They developed a screening test used to determine if a patient was at risk of losing their balance. The test evaluates strength, flexibility, sensation, and visual vestibular interaction. Afterward, they are educated on home safety issues, and exercise.


Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html; 
http://www.fallpreventiontaskforce.org/falls_medication.htm