Guest Blog: Tips For Preventing Falls Among The Elderly

Falls among seniors are more common than you think.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 36 million older adults suffer a fall each year.

Our muscles lose strength, and our balance and coordination decline as we get older. As our senior loved ones are already at a certain age, they are now more prone to falls, and it could only get worse as they get on in years.

However, we can take steps to keep our seniors from suffering falls. Here are some tips on how to prevent falls among the elderly.

Declutter

Make sure your parent’s or grandparent’s space is clutter-free. You can’t have random stuff lying all over the place, becoming a tripping hazard for seniors. The floors that your elderly loved one walks on should always be clear, with nothing to step, slip, and trip on.

Put Up Grab Bars & Handrails In Strategic Spots

Seniors can use additional support when walking around the house. So, it would be great if the hallways, bathrooms, and stairways are fitted with handrails and grab bars.

Add More Lights

Our seniors typically have poor eyesight, which can only get worse under poor lighting conditions. By installing additional lights (and brighter ones at that), seniors will have a better chance of seeing and avoiding tripping and slipping hazards as they go about the house.

Use Only Non-Slip Mats & Rugs

All the mats and rugs in the house should be the non-slip type or secured to the floor.

Get Them To Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is crucial to keeping the muscles, bones, and sense of balance of our seniors strong. Walking, lifting light weights, climbing stairs, or doing something as simple as standing on one leg for a minute or two can already help them stay as fit as possible. The fitter they are, the lower their risk of suffering a fall.

Tell Them To Be More Careful

Sometimes, seniors fall because they try to move too fast when walking across the room or getting out of bed. Tell them they need to be more careful when doing so and always move at a more comfortable pace.

Falls don’t have to be synonymous with getting older. By taking the necessary precautions, our seniors stand a better chance of avoiding them.

 

About the Author

 Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.

 

 

By |2021-08-27T10:59:11-05:00September 9th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Tips For Preventing Falls Among The Elderly

Guest Blog: What to Look For in a Senior Living Community

Before you look up a senior living community or Google personal care homes near me, you should first get to know about the common options available for where your aging parents can reside.

Below are the most popular and preferred options to pick from –

  • Independent Living – This type of living is good for the elderly who can largely function independently with occasional medical care required. Medical care is provided in collaboration with hospitals or medical establishments. Typical services include accommodation, laundry, transportation, housekeeping, and other amenities like pool, concierge service, library, fitness center, etc.
  • Assisted Living Assisted living centers, in addition to accommodation also provide onsite health care and help with ADLs like dressing, bathing, and medication management so residents can live independently. The setting is very home-like without the residents having to worry about maintenance, cooking, or cleaning. There’s round-the-clock supervision available.
  • Memory Care – This facility is specifically designed to treat and care for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The staff is medically trained to handle their special medical needs. The rooms and buildings are structured to avoid wandering. Supervision is available all the time with plenty of programs for socialization. There are housing and laundry services along with an emergency medical call system.
  • Enhanced Living – You can think of this facility as a move up from Independent living with a whole lot of extra services available.

 

Things To Look For In A Senior Living Community

Senior Living Culture

Now the living culture is not something that you define in words. It’s mostly just a feel or a vibe that you pick up on. At times, you just know it when you visit the facility. Other times it’s a hunch of an intuition.

To truly assess the culture, it’s better if you call up your list of communities and visit them one by one. Observe the residents and see if they seem happy. How is the staff? Are they polite to respond? Is the overall energy of the place happy? Ask for social activities to keep the residents happy.

Lifestyle & Wellness

Lifestyle and wellness largely depend on the social calendar of the place. So, be sure to look at those activities as well as exercise, health, and wellness programs. Make sure to ask about how often the residents are allowed to go out for activities.

What about housekeeping and laundry services? How often are friends and families allowed to visit? Is there a dedicated private or common area for family get-togethers? What about pets? Are they allowed?

Staff and Care

How many staff members are present at the facility? Are the staff members nice to interact with the residents? Do they seem polite? What kind of help can you expect from them? Is the medical staff made to undergo regular training to update their knowledge?

What’s the mode of communication for updating families on the health updates of the residents? Also, how quickly can you expect your questions to be answered? What kind of care is available for residents with special medical issues such as diabetes, memory, or mobility issues?

What’s Food Like?

Food is a huge part of staying healthy during old age. So, this is something you must not overlook. If possible, arrange for a tour of the mess/kitchen. Look into how the food is prepared. Are the conditions there hygienic?

What about the food menu? Does it look interesting? Is it extensive and accommodates special dietary restrictions such as gluten-free and vegan-friendly foods? What are the dining hours like and is there food sampling available?

Extra Amenities

It’s not uncommon for people to get stuck between two close contenders. Sometimes two communities can look exactly the same; making it difficult to pick one. When faced with such a dilemma it’s often the extra amenities that help you make the right choice.

See if the laundry and housekeeping services are free. Some facilities charge extra for those. Look into community events, transportation, or socialization activities. Anything extra is a good thing to consider.

History and Reputation

How long has the community been in business? For how long has the management been with the community? What about the staff? For how many years they have been working there?

One of the best things to discern all this and more is to go online. Check out reviews and see what they have to say. Pay attention to how the community has responded to negative reviews. Only avoid the community if you come across something disturbing like bad handling of residents or complete neglect on part of the staff.

Bottom Line

Selecting the right living community for your senior can seem like a daunting task. But, if you invest a little bit of time and effort, it should be a cakewalk.

By |2021-09-07T10:42:59-05:00September 7th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: What to Look For in a Senior Living Community

Guest Blog: How the Internet Has Changed How Society Cares for Seniors

Today’s technology is not only for the young. The digital age has brought with it innovations which aim to benefit seniors. A new age of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has made senior care better, more efficient and less costly. It aims to eliminate isolation, which has been a major concern for many years. It has provided caregivers in the healthcare industry a tool to allow seniors to be more independent and remain connected with friends and family.

When it comes to senior care, the IoT is revolutionizing the way seniors are living their lives. Assisted living communities are using the internet to connect and humanize senior care. Communities such as the K4Community leverage technology to make seniors’ life simpler, healthier and happier. These communities integrate IoT wearables such as watches or belt clips. They also have floor sensors that provide real-time monitoring to prevent falls and other injuries. Other types of sensors monitor heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels to immediately alert caregivers when there’s an emergency.

To lead a healthy, active lifestyle, IoT devices go beyond the standard activity trackers. Devices are more targeted towards the individual’s needs, alerting them when to rest, whether they’re standing up or down too fast and when to give their knees a break. Food and hydration is also considered, with wearables reminding seniors when it’s time to eat and how often to drink to maintain proper hydration. When it comes to sleep, sensors can also alert caregivers whether a senior needs help getting in and out of bed. With the internet being all about connection, keeping seniors in contact with friends and family is one of the best things the IoT can provide to improve senior health. Seniors are spending more time online, using social networks and other platforms to connect with loved ones.

This trend is only going to get more prevalent. Research shows that using the internet makes people happier and increases life satisfaction, especially for seniors. A study published in the Journal of Computers in Human Behavior shows that life satisfaction was much higher among seniors who use the internet than those who don’t. The ability to keep in touch and prevent the cycle of loneliness and isolation in an advanced age has done more for senior health than any medication. It is no wonder then that internet use among seniors rose from 8% to 34% between 2003 and 2012, as cited by the Journalist’s Resource. The empowerment that the internet and technology have given seniors is invaluable to their health. Such developments revolutionized the way society and healthcare providers care for the elderly.

With Baby Boomers contributing to an increasingly aging population, the need for caregivers and connected assisted living communities is becoming greater than ever. In order to provide quality healthcare to seniors, healthcare is not just about technology but also about the people who provide it. Maryville University details how general healthcare workers can specialize in senior services to provide care for an aging population. Healthcare and senior care are becoming two of the fastest-growing industries. Boosted with the aid of technology and IoT devices, they provide a way to create a better quality of life for seniors, while reducing the costs of healthcare at the same time.

Article submitted by Tanya Olivers

By |2021-08-02T12:12:56-05:00August 5th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: How the Internet Has Changed How Society Cares for Seniors

Guest Post: Keeping Seniors Safe at Home

While there’s no 100% absolute way to ensure your elderly parent or loved one doesn’t fall,
there are things that can be done to help minimize the risk. I’ll give you a quick checklist of
five steps to a safer home for a senior. Likewise, click here for some alternative ways to
steer clear of falls.

1. Furniture, accessories, and narrow pathways:
Is there furniture crowding a room or creating narrow pathways? Are there inessential
items or decorations all over the house? None of us like to throw things away and we all
know seniors love to keep antiques and knick-knacks, but sometimes they can pose a
hazard to elderly home safety. That old rug underneath the coffee table can trip you easier
than you think. Make sure there is nothing impeding easy travel throughout the house. A
straight path is the easiest path so there should be no navigating around corners or edges.

2. Doorsills and steps:
Now, these two sound like obvious culprits, but you’d be surprised how often they’re
underestimated. A quick remedy is to paint doorsills a different color or buy reflective tape
for the edge as a reminder that they’re there. This goes for the edge of stairs as well.
Confirm that there’s no loose carpeting, unstable wood, or erosion of any kind on steps or
doorsills. Also, make sure any area with a step or uneven surface is very well lit.

3. Lighting:
This one is perhaps the easiest of all. Double-check that all areas of the house are well lit,
with bulbs at least 60 watts or higher in each socket. Remove all exposed cords and make
sure any lamp or light-switch is within easy reach. If the lamp closest to a favorite reading
chair is hard to reach while sitting, move it closer. Also, check that there is no risk of any
lamp falling or being tripped over. Again, lamps should remain within reach, but still out of
the way.

4. Telephones:
Keep a telephone, within easy reach, in each room. This prevents your elderly loved one
from feeling compelled to rush to a ringing phone. Not only can getting up too quickly cause
light-headedness or dizziness, but it can also cause an elderly person to lose focus on their
surroundings and mistakenly fall in an easily preventable situation.

5. Bathrooms:
Bathroom floors and shower tubs can get slippery, we know this. To combat slipping,
guarantee there are either bars affixed to the wall or a counter to grip while getting up and
down off the toilet and in and out of the shower. Also, purchase adhesive grip-tape for the
tub bottom and again, provide adequate lighting throughout the bathroom. Shower rugs
can also slip so place double-sided tape on the bottom of the rug to impede the rug’s
movement.

If you are worried about a loved one, these are very easy and painless steps to minimize the
risk of in-home falls. As mentioned before, however, there is no 100% way to prevent accidents so medical alert systems provide a great backup. Not only do they give you peace
of mind when you’re not around your loved one, but they make the wearer feel safe as well.

Jacob Edward is the manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix Arizona. Senior Planning is geared towards helping
seniors and the disabled with finding and arranging types of care, as well as applying for state and federal
benefits.

By |2021-06-30T11:50:49-05:00July 27th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Post: Keeping Seniors Safe at Home

Essential Tools for Seniors with Parkinson’s

A senior couple. The wife is caring for the husband.

If you or someone you care for has Parkinson’s disease, you may encounter a wide array of symptoms on a day to day basis from tremors to muscle rigidity to slowed movements, balance problems, and speech changes. Non-physical symptoms can accompany the disease as well including trouble sleeping, mood changes, urinary urgency, constipation, even loss of smell.

When it comes to managing this type of chronic autoimmune condition, in addition to a comprehensive treatment planned laid out by your doctor, assistive equipment can go a long way in simplifying daily life:

Adaptive Utensils
Advancements in science and technology have made their way into the kitchen market providing relief to people who may otherwise have difficulty feeding themselves. Adaptive utensils are specially designed to help counteract tremors someone with Parkinson’s may have in their hand when holding a fork or spoon, for example.

Other helpful dining aids may include weighted cups and bowls (that are less likely to tip over), and plate guards or high-rimmed plates that prevent food from falling out.

Bedroom Equipment
People with Parkinson’s are at increased risk of falling so supportive equipment around the bed can definitely make this fall-prone environment safer. Install bed rails to aid seniors with limited mobility or try a super pole that stands fixed beside the bed or a pull strap that connects to the end of the bed and makes it easier to sit up.

Bedside commodes can also simplify the task of night time toileting, especially for Parkinson’s sufferers with incontinence issues.

Dressing Aids
As dexterity and finger nimbleness falls prey to the contracture of muscles and joints in the hands, getting dressed on your own can become difficult. This key marker of independence may be retained in some respects with dressing aids that allows a person with Parkinson’s to dress themselves. Tools like button hooks, zipper pulls, one-handed belts, dressing sticks, and shoe horns can all go a long way to promoting self-reliance even as the disease progresses.

Bathing Tools
Maintaining personal hygiene has the ability to improve your sense of confidence and your mood, no matter what Parkinson’s brings your way. Equipment that makes bathing safer and reduces the risk of falling includes shower transfer chairs, grab bars (inside and outside the shower), and non-slip bath mats. Additional bathroom tools may include weighted holders for toothbrushes, razors, etc. as well as removable shower heads and long-handled bath sponges and scrubbers.

By |2021-06-17T09:27:59-05:00June 28th, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Essential Tools for Seniors with Parkinson’s