From a slight fracture to an arm to a full break in the shin or fractured hip, broken bones can be serious and result in months of therapy for recovery. When the injured person is a senior, the situation can be even more serious. They may be unable to remain in their own home and care for themselves, and in some cases, they are never able to return to their former level of independence.
Causes of Broken Bones
Falls are the main cause for broken bones in the elderly. They may also suffer a fracture due to a medical condition. It’s important to determine the cause so it can be prevented in the future and medical issues treated.
If the break occurs in either the legs or arms, hands or feet, the injury site may be placed in a cast and the limb immobilized. Some injuries are serious enough to require surgery. The patient may need pins or rods installed for the bones to stay in place until they heal.
Life After the Break
After the senior receives initial treatment for the break, the next step will to figure out care requirements. Depending on the location and severity of the break, the person may not be able to stay by themselves. They may have limited mobility and require assistance for daily tasks.
Even a minor break can sideline a senior more than someone younger. They may tire out easier, especially if the break requires them to move around on crutches.
An assisted living center is one option for seniors until their broken bones heal. Another option which might appeal more would be for them to hire an in-home caregiver. Even though family may want to help out, they have their own responsibilities. In certain situations, they may be able to be a paid family caregiver, which could ease the financial burden on the family and provide the assistance the senior needs until they’re back on their feet.
The Recovery Period
The senior will need to take certain steps to ensure their recovery is successful, and they can get back to their active lifestyle. This includes eating healthy, getting enough rest, and attending physical therapy and doctor appointments as recommended.
While enduring a broken bone for a senior can involve a lengthy recovery process, they can become independent once again with the right care.
Assisted living is a long-term care facility that provides housing, support, health care, and most importantly, a sense of community to senior citizens. These facilities make it possible for the elderly to continue living on their own, with occasional assistance now and again. The benefits of living in an assisted living community are immeasurable for seniors and their families alike. Learn more about the multitude of benefits the elderly receive when they move into an assisted living facility.
- Proper, Healthy Meals: Daily meals are provided at assisted living facilities. This helps senior citizens to get the proper nutrition in their daily diet, and also lets family members feel assured that their loved ones are eating enough. Any and all dietary needs are taken into consideration. For instance, if a senior has diabetes, this is of course taken into consideration when creating their meal plan. The utmost care is used when serving seniors their meals at assisted living facilities.
- Help with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living): An assisted living facility will provide its residents with assistance completing a number of day-to-day tasks that one might not be able to do on their own. This includes dressing, eating, mobility, hygiene, bathing, toileting, using the phone, and personal shopping. Take, for example, patients with dementia or other types of memory loss who might find it difficult to remember doing the simplest of tasks. Assisted living facilities make it possible for these types of patients to continue living on their own with minimal help.
- Medication Management: This is perhaps the most important benefit of living in an assisted living community. More than 50% of senior citizens make a mistake when administering their own medication. This rate is shockingly high, and of a major concern due to potential life-threatening consequences. Assisted living staff not only ensure the right medications are being taken at the right times, but they also help to educate seniors on the importance of their medication.
- Transportation: Many seniors do not have the ability to drive anymore. In some cases, a senior simply no longer possess a car. Whatever the case may be, assisted living facilities handle any and all of the transportation necessary for senior citizens. Most of the time, transportation is needed for doctor’s visits. A senior who resides in an assisted living facility will have transportation to and from their appointments, as well as to activities outside of the facility, like shopping trips. When a family member can’t be there to take a senior citizen out and about, assisted living staff is.
- Social Interaction: Assisted living facilities are a great place for senior citizens to socialize. Like-minded individuals in similar situations are all around, and with plenty of activities to choose from, your loved one is sure to make a new friend or two. Many of the activities that take place at assisted living facilities are moderated by staff to ensure that healthy interactions are occurring at all times.
Assisted living may be the right choice for your aging loved one. Discuss this option with them, and share the numerous benefits that this type of facility can offer.
Byline: Ruth Folger Weiss is a blogger for Skyview Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a post acute rehabilitation and long-term care center in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
Aging Baby Boomers want fun, creative exercise that not only keeps them active, but also provides an avenue for making friends. Luckily, programs across the country are stepping up to meet this growing demand. Here are five innovative places and programs that are keeping seniors active, independent, and social.
SilverSneakers is a unique senior wellness program that gives older adults access to over 13,000 fitness centers and classes across the country, all free of charge through qualifying health plans. Organizations that participate in SilverSneakers offer senior-centric fitness classes like low-impact circuit training, yoga, seated exercise, water aerobics, and fall-prevention fitness. More than just an exercise program, SilverSneakers emphasizes the value that friendship and social support bring to senior health. In fact, 74 percent of active SilverSneakers members report they’ve made friends through the program.
The YMCA and YWCA offer a wide range of fitness programs designed for seniors. Whether you’ve just hit your senior years and want to stay fit with Zumba, or you’re limited to chair exercises but still want to get out and stay healthy, your local Y has a senior fitness program for you. Most Ys also have pools, which means that seniors of all ages can enjoy low-impact water exercise to build flexibility and endurance without straining arthritic joints. Seniors can make friends in class and join senior group outings led by YMCA staff.
Multigenerational Community Centers
Senior centers are becoming a thing of the past, and multigenerational centers are taking their place. The new multigenerational centers mix the therapeutic recreation typically found in senior centers with social activities, fitness classes, and recreational sports that appeal to all ages. By creating a place where active people of any age can come together — without neglecting the unique needs of aging adults — multigenerational centers let seniors stay healthy side-by-side with friends of all ages. And since interaction across ages has been shown to be more beneficial to senior mental and cognitive health than senior-to-senior socialization alone, multigenerational centers can help keep seniors stay fit in more ways than one.
Ageless Grace combines physical and mental fitness to keep seniors healthy in both body and mind. With lessons that range from memory recall and imagination exercises to upper body strength and joint mobility, Ageless Grace takes a holistic approach to senior fitness. The classes are taught by independent instructors and can be found in churches, retirement homes, schools, and community centers around the country. Since Ageless Grace lessons incorporate both physical activity and mental games, they provide ample opportunity for seniors to interact and make friends. Ageless Grace participates in the SilverSneakers program, so qualified seniors can access their classes free of charge.
Senior Sport Leagues
Nothing promotes bonding quite like team sports, and senior sport leagues are a great option for active older adults who want to meet friends while staying fit. Seniors can access established programs like Granny Basketball, Senior Softball, National Senior League Wii bowling, or the National Senior Games Association. There may also be team sports for seniors available through local community and recreation centers. And if there’s no established league in your town? Enterprising seniors can start their own social league by advertising through existing fitness and community centers.
Staying active in your later years does more than keep you fit. In addition to helping you retain flexibility, improve your balance, and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, staying active can also be an excellent way to maintain a vibrant social life. And socialization comes with its own health benefits, from a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia to better physical mobility. With such a diversity of programs available, there’s a way for every senior to stay active and social.
Image via Flickr by sima dimitric
Seniors grew up in a more polite time. They’re more likely to talk to strangers, they’re less likely to hang up on people, and they are often home during the day to answer their phones, making them tempting targets for fraud. Seniors over the age of 60 are the target of 49% of telemarketing scams involving medical care services and products, 41% of scams involving sweepstakes and prizes, and 40% of scams involving magazine sales. Unfortunately, it’s hard to spot it when it’s happening. Fraud can come at seniors in a variety of different ways: through the phone, mail, internet, and even in person.
Grandparent Scams target seniors by calling up, pretending to be a grandchild, and admitting that they’re in distress and need money to get out of a tight spot. Scammers may claim to be in jail and need bail money, to have had an accident, or simply to have ended up away from home without the gas to get back.
- Fake Check Scams ask individuals to deposit a check, then send money to another location. Unfortunately, the check is fake, and ultimately, the bank wants their money returned. Alternatively, criminals will gain access to a seniors blank or canceled check and then proceed to siphon funds out of the seniors account—especially if checks do not incorporate security features that help combat counterfeiting and alteration.
- Medicare Scams get the senior’s Medicare number, then bill Medicare for high-dollar products—all while providing inexpensive substitutes to the senior who genuinely needed that product.
- Bogus Charities call up and solicit donations for foundations and charities that aren’t really charities at all. In many cases, they don’t even exist.
- “You Have Won” Calls and Mail solicit personal information, including account details or requiring a “small payment” in order to collect the winnings.
- Living Trust Scams aim to convince people to create unnecessary living trusts, offering promises that they never follow through on. In many cases, callers will try to convince seniors to act immediately so they don’t have time to think it through.
- Imposter Scams work much like grandparent scams: they convince a senior that the individual on the other end of the phone is a loved one and ask them to send money.
- Advance Fee Scams promise high levels of rewards—either goods or services—in exchange for a “small” up-front fee.
- Phishing Scams ask users to “update” their personal information, thus providing that information to people who can then steal their identities or account information.
- Cashier’s Check Scams use fake cashier’s checks to pay for goods.
- Door-to-Door Solicitations force seniors to make snap decisions about overpriced services or goods, often those that won’t really be provided.
- “Free Lunch” Seminars offer unsolicited, often unethical or illegal investments that are designed to part seniors from their money.
- Chain Letter Scams offer “get rich quick” opportunities that are really designed only to take money from gullible seniors and other individuals.
- Bank Scams are aimed at convincing seniors to provide bank account information to scammers. Seniors may also be asked to take a “friend” to the bank to cash a check, only to discover that the check wasn’t real and the money disappears from their account.
- Work-at-Home Scams indicate that they will provide seniors the opportunity to make some money while they work from home. Unfortunately, they have huge start-up costs and little reward.
- Home Improvement Scams tell seniors that they will complete work around the house, but never finish the job or offer shoddy work and low-cost materials.
- Investment Fraud convinces seniors that their assets are being invested when really, they’re disappearing.
- Medical Equipment and Quackery Scams offer seniors “medical equipment” or other remedies that ultimately accomplish exactly nothing.
- Nigerian Schemes are classic offers: “Send me this much money so that I can complete X task, and then I will make you rich for helping me.”
- Business Opportunity Scams offer investment opportunities that really offer the senior no return on their effort or money.
Avoiding These Scams
People who wish to avoid scams can follow several simple tips:
- First, never give away personal information. This includes checking out companies and their offers with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau before sending money. Credit card and checking account numbers should never be offered to other people, and your social security number should remain confidential. If you’re going to donate to a charity, take the time to make sure that it’s legitimate first. It can be useful to use independent sources to verify information from anyone who has reached out to you.
- Next, never deposit or cash a check for anyone. Non-cash payments like checks, money orders, etc. should be verified by either calling the bank where the check was issued or asking your bank teller to verify its authenticity before depositing. Check to make sure that there is nothing on the check to create a flag for fraudulent activity before accepting it.
- It’s also critical to avoid making snap decisions. If an offer is “limited time” and seems too good to be true, it probably is! If you’re being pressured to make an immediate decision, walk away. No legitimate opportunity is going to expire if you don’t make a decision on the spot. Keep in mind that con artists will attempt to create a false sense of urgency and a need for secrecy. High emotions are more likely to lead to poor decisions. If you’re getting a call from someone you think is a loved one, make sure to verify their identity: ask something only they would know, reference inside jokes, or refuse to keep their secret, insisting that you’ll need to share their story.
- Keep an eye on “confidentiality.” If you’ve been told not to discuss the offer with anyone else, it’s probably a scam. Con artists know that when you consult with someone you trust, they’ll be found out. Always take the time to discuss an offer with friends or relatives if you aren’t sure about it.
- Never pay a premium in advance. Handling charges and taxes shouldn’t be part of your responsibilities on winning a prize or being invited to participate in a business opportunity. Don’t accept work-at-home opportunities that require money in advance or wire transfers. If you don’t remember putting your name in for a contest, realize that you didn’t win it.
- Finally, get it in writing. This is especially important if you don’t understand what’s being asked of you or if the details seem murky. Scammers will be reluctant to commit their so-called promises to paper, which you can reference later and show to other people.
Scammers are eager to get their hands on any bank account they can. With education and prevention efforts, however, you can keep yourself safe. Take control and protect yourself and your loved ones by knowing what’s out there and how to avoid it.
Most people don’t realize just how big of an impact architecture can have on the lives and well being of elderly individuals. For many years, innovative designs for care homes and retirement living have gone a long way in helping to both support and reassure elderly residents so they feel comfortable in their surroundings, and will do for many years to come. Here are three key ways in which architecture benefits the elderly.
Exposure to sunlight
One of the first architectural considerations for any residential project is ‘how does the building sit in relation to the sun?’ This can influence many factors such as the garden, conservatories and large windows, all because we want residents to have the best exposure to natural light as possible. Designs for many care homes ensure that there are no rooms that face exclusively north, so all residents receive direct, natural sunlight into their room at some point during the day. Not only are there psychological benefits of enjoying the sunshine, but exposure to the sun in moderation provides a healthy dose of Vitamin D, absorbed into the body to help strengthen bones which is a huge boost for the elderly to starve off the effects of frailty with age.
Residential architecture is not just about the building, but landscaping the garden area too. Retaining some green outdoor space is important for elderly residents for whom it may not be possible to venture to the nearest public park whenever they wish, so they can relax outdoors without completely leaving their home. For more mobile elderly residents, gardens also provide the opportunity to continue with a relaxing gardening hobby, or to even take it up. In care homes, gardens are kept in pristine condition all year round by qualified gardeners, and when the months begin to get warmer, residents can enjoy the various plants and colorful flowerbeds – some of which they may have helped to plant themselves.
Built to adapt
When it comes to care home facilities and retirement housing, architectural designs must cater for the ever-changing needs of the residents. Therefore, it has to be built to adapt. Many elderly who use wheelchairs will require spacious rooms with height adjustable surfaces, particularly in the kitchen, and ramps fitted on all entrances and exits. These features take even more prominence in care homes with more residents present, with designs also incorporating wide corridors to allow residents in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters to pass one another with ease, and interior walls within a resident’s living space fitted as panels that can be easily knocked out to create a larger open plan floor space if necessary.
Author bio: Mick Goode is a co-founder and co-director of Croft Goode Architects, based in Lancashire, UK. As a BIM-focused practice of chartered architects, we have a vast range of experience designing for all kinds of projects, including those for retirement living and healthcare buildings for the elderly and disabled.