As we go into September, National Falls Prevention Month, we are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic across the US and the world. We have been sheltering in place by mandate or choice. Yet, the risks of falling do not decrease with fewer outings! And the challenges of caregiving have grown as personal visits have not been possible for many families. So there are different ways to approach the risks of falling and possible solutions but, most importantly, we need to have the conversations about falls. Falls Prevention Awareness Week, September 21-25, 2020, is designed to spread this important public health message.
Falls are a leading cause of lost independence and mobility; often leaving seniors unable to fully recover from the trauma. Their overall health declines, and care needs increase significantly. People aged 65 and older have a 25% greater chance of falling. And if someone has fallen once, their chances of falling again doubles. It seems like common sense — everybody falls, no matter what age. However, for many older adults, an unexpected fall can result in a serious and costly injury. The good news is that most falls can be prevented. If you are the caregiver, you have the power to reduce your loved one’s risk of falling, and your own fall risk as well.
The National Council on Aging in partnership with the National Alliance for Caregiving has prepared a Conversation Guide to help caregivers and family members discuss the importance of fall risk reduction. Taking the action and beginning the conversation is the first step. It is not easy to tell a family member or friend that you are concerned about their safety or chances of falling. So, the use of supportive language is a great place to start, perhaps with an offer to follow-up on a wellness appointment so the discussion of fall risks can be part of an overall conversation. As with all conversations, positive tone and body language is vital.
Remember, this conversation may have to happen more than once to gather the full view of the risks and encourage participation. In addition to wellness checks for medication management concerns, the annual eye exam can be crucial. Subtle changes in vision can reduce depth perception, making even stepping out of the house or off a curb more dangerous. If your family member wears transition lenses which change with the ambient light, one strategy may be to simply stop and wait for the time to allow the lenses and, therefore, the vision to adjust before walking further. Extra lighting along outdoor pathways and interior hallways can reduce the chance of not seeing the tripping hazard that may be present.
Doing an evaluation of the home for safety hazards can be done, even with social distancing! As the caregiver, if you look for the tripping hazards or the ways to make every day activities easier; such as a handheld shower or grab bars, it’s a start and part of the safety conversation. The safety of your loved one reduces your stress and worry as the caregiver. You can reach out for a professional to assist you in a comprehensive home safety assessment as well, if you are not near your loved one.
Age Safe® America develops training programs and certifications to empower senior services providers to better help decrease falls and fall-related injuries.
Adults aged 65 and over are the largest and fastest growing age group in our society. Historically, older members of our society were valued for their vast knowledge and contributions to society. Unfortunately, older adulthood is not universally celebrated and valued here in the US. Ageism (negative attitudes and behavior toward older adults) continues to be a serious national problem. Senior Citizens Day was created as a day to support, honor, and show appreciation to our seniors and to recognize their achievements. President Reagan established this day in 1988 and the Proclamation is still relevant today.
“Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today, and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land.
With improved health care and more years of productivity, older citizens are reinforcing their historical roles as leaders and as links with our patrimony and sense of purpose as individuals and as a Nation. Many older people are embarking on second careers, giving younger Americans a fine example of responsibility, resourcefulness, competence, and determination. And more than 4.5 million senior citizens are serving as volunteers in various programs and projects that benefit every sector of society. Wherever the need exists, older people are making their presence felt — for their own good and that of others.
For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.”
In honor of this day, call your grandparents, mother, father, brother, sister, or old high school teacher; and tell them that you appreciate everything they have done for you. Today is also a great day to volunteer at a retirement home and visit someone who may not receive many visitors.
Creating a safe home environment for senior citizens starts with the bathroom — the place where, for the elderly, most at-home accidents occur. Whether it’s a slip in the shower or tripping on the way to the restroom at night, falls and injuries are especially common in the bathroom. To improve bathroom safety at home, you need to know how to handle the hazards. Here are some important bathroom safety tips to help keep you or your loved ones safe.
1. INSTALL GRAB BARS Grab bars give you something to hold when you’re getting into and out of the shower. They also offer a way to catch yourself if you’re about to fall. Add grab bars and safety rails to the shower/ tub and near the toilet. Make sure they’re anchored well enough to support an adult’s weight.
2. ADD NON-SKID SURFACES While skid-proof decals are a step in the right direction, they don’t cover the entire bathtub surface, so slips are still possible. Look instead for a mat that covers the surface of the bathtub floor. Likewise, you may want to add a mat with a rubber backing to the bathroom floor.
3. PUT IN NIGHTLIGHTS For those middle-of-the-night trips back and forth to the bathroom, nightlights add illumination that can make all the difference between seeing your way safely to the restroom and tripping on something along the way.
4. LOWER THE WATER TEMPERATURE Set the whole-house water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower so that an elderly person is less likely to get burned.
5. PROVIDE SEATING Extended periods of standing to brush teeth, wash up for bed, etc., can be wearying to an elderly body. Add seating to the bathroom so a person can sit while getting ready. Likewise, consider adding a shower chair with a rigid back that allows for a seated position while showering.
6. RAISE THE TOILET SEAT To prevent overexertion from having to go to the bathroom, add a raised toilet seat that makes sitting down and getting up much easier. For anyone with knee pain, hip pain, joint pain, etc., this can be a great, practical way to improve bathroom safety.
7. HAVE ITEMS WITHIN REACH Whether it’s shampoo and conditioner easily reachable in the shower, or toothpaste and soap easy accessible at the sink, keep items in the places where you use them. This helps eliminate unnecessary reaching, searching and standing — and the potential for accidents that comes with them.
8. PROVIDE SUPERVISION In some cases, the best and most important way to protect a senior citizen in the bathroom is through the care of a loved one. Whether it’s a relative, friend or home health aide, having someone nearby greatly reduces the chance of serious injury.
Stay alert for fraud Medicare COVID-19 scams during this national emergency. Con artists like to take advantage of people when they’re distracted.
Unfortunately, scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to steal your Medicare Number, personal information, and money. And they’re using robocalls, social media posts, and emails to do it.
Remember, if anyone reaches out to get your Medicare Number or personal information in exchange for something, you can bet it’s a scam.
Be on the lookout, so you can stop scams before they happen. Here are recent Coronavirus scams to watch for:
Robocalls offering you respiratory masks they’ll never send
Social media posts fraudulently seeking donations for non-existent charities, or claiming to give you stimulus funds if you enter your bank account information
Fake testing kits, cures, “immunity” pills, and offers for protective equipment
Visit Medicare.gov/fraud for more information and tips on preventing Medicare scams and fraud.
Con artists may try to get your Medicare Number or personal information so they can steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone.
Protect yourself from Medicare fraud. Guard your Medicare card like it’s a credit card. Remember:
Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare Number or other personal information unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
Medicare will never call you to sell you anything.
You may get calls from people promising you things if you give them a Medicare Number. Don’t do it.
Medicare will never visit you at your home.
Medicare can’t enroll you over the phone unless you called first.
This Independence Day, Age Safe® America Celebrates 5 Years of Service. Never before has home safety and independence been more top of mind than right now. Now more than ever, the dedication to our mission and vision is vital. Every day we work to train and empower professionals, entrepreneurs, seniors and caregivers with essential knowledge and skills necessary to better help clients or themselves. We continue to be a trusted name for all those choosing to “age safe at home”, and a source of confidence and peace of mind to their family members. Taking the long look at safety, housing choices, challenges with health, desires for independence and finances can all be quite overwhelming for older adults and families. The population is aging, the challenges are growing, the need for businesses to support our seniors and their families who face decisions that are harder than ever, has never been more important. Age Safe America stands strong in empowering professionals to serve clients and provide the solutions.
Accidental falls among older adults have become epidemic in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the cost related to these kinds of injuries to be nearly $67 Billion annually. In an effort to help reduce and prevent falls and their associated costs Age Safe® America developed the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ certification for providers. The course empowers professionals with actionable ways to better help educate clients, older adults and their family members on the serious issues of home safety, fall prevention, financial exploitation and personal safety. Launched in 2017 the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ certification has helped to position Age Safe America as a training and consulting leader in the burgeoning aging-in-place space. The Senior Home Safety Specialist™ designation is a valuable differentiator, proven revenue generator, and a doorway to the $7 Trillion Longevity Economy.
“We are coming into a senior population explosion that is unprecedented in human history. We will need an army of trained and compassionate advocates to assist them with dignity and integrity. Today, I’m proud of the work we have done to train and empower this army, the alliances we have built and the quality of professionals we are attracting. Moving forward, we plan to further expand our offerings to better serve older adults and the aging in place industry. As a leader in this market, our respected brand and commitment to our mission, will continue to drive our success.” – Steven Bailey, Founder/Managing Director
We have trained Healthcare Practitioners, Care Managers, Social Workers, First Responders, Entrepreneurs, Executives, Home Care Agencies, Senior Living Communities, Realtors, Contractors, Remodelers, Home Inspectors, Handyman Services, Non-Profit and Fortune 100 Companies; all responding to the growing population demands for services. To date we have trained professionals throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East, so we know the message and the impact of aging and staying safe in a persons home is both a national issue and an international concern. We also launched Age Safe® Canada in 2015, and this year has been our most successful in terms of numbers of both Canadian Senior Home Safety Specialist™ certifications, and new Advisor Members. Along with Canada we have been in talks to bring Age Safe® to other possible countries.
Our full Advisor Member Training and Coaching Program is demonstrating to professionals from all disciplines and backgrounds the real opportunity to participate in the $7 Trillion Longevity Economy. Typically these individuals have already decided this is their career path and/or adding an additional revenue stream to an existing aging services business. This program offers the real life; best practices marketing and networking strategies, client messaging, tools and resources many are looking for to effectively engage this growing market, and enhance lives of clients of all ages. To quote our friend Patrick Roden, RN, PhD, “If you want a BIG Opportunity, find a BIG Problem…and Aging in Place is both.”
Over the past 5 years we have partnered with many industry innovators, leaders and organizations, such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA), and franchise organizations like TruBlue Total House Care, to expand our Aging Services Registry of vetted and ethical service providers. Many other groups, such as NIH through the Go4Life program and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have joined with Age Safe® America to promote safe and healthy aging.
Fritzi Gros-Daillon, Age Safe America’s Director of Education, continues to share her training and coaching skills with individual members and groups, as well as speaking at special events like the “Home Care 20/20 Lead With Vision Summit“, and the “2020 Western Regional OT Spring Symposium (WROTSS)” in Las Vegas, where Age Safe® America was a proud sponsor. This January Fritzi was proud to be honored with the NAHB 2019 Educator of the Year award at the 2020 NAHB International Builders Show®. Along with all her other duties, Fritzi is also the Chairman of the NARI San Diego chapter, and founding member of San Diego NAIPC chapter.
Late last year, Kristopher Rench, OT, SHSS was appointed Director of Health & Safety Product Sales for Age Safe® America. Kris oversees all our technology partners and product sales. Kris is a brilliant Occupational Therapist with 17 years experience as a clinician, manager, and clinical trainer in various geriatric settings. Age Safe America is the Senior Master Dealer for Electronic Caregiver™ offering innovative 24/7 Telehealth and Medical Response Systems for Seniors, including cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, at unbeatable rates and a handsome compensation plan for providers.
“Throughout the US, and the other countries in which we have trained professionals, the need for safety in the home for seniors has never been more dramatic than right now, at our 5-year anniversary. We work diligently to bring new tools, resources and training to our members, clients, partners and all the families they serve. ”- Fritzi Gros-Daillon, Director of Education
For our seniors and caregivers (both family and professional), we continue to provide training and tools to make the best decisions for home safety so they can maintain their freedom and independence. Our soon to be released consumer course will help to support families and caregivers navigate their world view and challenges. Our vision is to affect the safety, security and longevity of the world’s aging population. Today, we are leading through these current challenges to ensure that the next five years will bring proactive change to homes for the safety of older adults, those with disabilities, and families of all ages.
We at Age Safe® America are grateful for the trust our clients continue to give us, the success we have enjoyed in these first 5 years, and we stand ready to serve now in the future! Download the Press Release
It’s your heart. Don’t hesitate. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, doctors urge you to not delay seeking treatment because of COVID-19 concerns.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors across the nation are reporting a sharp decline in patients coming to the hospital for heart attacks and strokes. These conditions don’t stop during a pandemic, and the decline has doctors worried that many people experiencing symptoms may not be seeking treatment, or that they are seeking treatment only after their condition has worsened. Delaying care could pose a significant threat to your health.
“Heart attacks and strokes required emergency care before the COVID-19 pandemic, and they continue to require emergency care now,” said Sean D. Pokorney, MD, MBA, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the division of cardiology at Duke University School of Medicine. “If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor or call 911 now, as you may need immediate care to save your life.”
Contact your doctor for these heart attack & stroke symptoms
You may be having a heart attack if you have symptoms such as:
* chest pain
* difficulty breathing
* discomfort in your chest, arms, back, neck, shoulder or jaw
You may be having a stroke if you are experiencing:
* numbness, weakness or loss of movement in your face, leg or arm, especially on one side
* loss of balance
* confusion, including trouble speaking or understanding
Health experts urge you to contact your doctor or call 911 if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Hospitals have safety measures in place to protect you
Patients may be understandably nervous about going to a hospital during COVID-19, but hospitals have implemented many safety measures to protect you from coronavirus. These facilities are ready now to safely care for you if you are experiencing serious health issues.
“Hospitals are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of patients who need critical care,” said Pokorney. “With all of these measures, going to the hospital is probably at least as safe as going to the grocery store. Certainly the consequences of not seeking timely care for heart attacks and strokes are far greater than the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the hospital.”
Facilities have implemented routine screening procedures to evaluate if any visitors entering the facility might have a risk of COVID-19 exposure, even before they step foot inside the building. Many facilities are separating COVID-19 patients into separate wards or buildings to ensure other patients are protected and not exposed. Routinely checking temperatures, masks and protective equipment for healthcare workers and other staff are some of the other measures that help to ensure a safe environment.
Waiting now can cause complications later
Bad news doesn’t get better with time. Delaying treatment for a heart attack or stroke can have serious consequences, causing a bad condition to worsen and making recovery more difficult. For some patients, postponing care can be the difference between life and death.
“I’ve talked to patients who are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or warning signs for sudden cardiac death and some are choosing to take their chances at home,” explained Pokorney. “The unfortunate result is that those patients may die at home or have worse long-term outcomes from the delays in care – and that’s avoidable.”
The recovery period after a heart attack may also require critical care. “A heart attack is a potential risk factor for sudden cardiac arrest, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating,” said Mary Newman, Executive Director of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. “If you’ve had a heart attack, your doctor can help to determine if you are at risk and can discuss treatment options to keep you safe. But they can only help if you follow up on your symptoms.”If you are having symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, getting care quickly is critical to your treatment and recovery. When you seek help immediately, the care you receive is more likely to be lifesaving, you can likely get better more quickly, and you can limit the damage to your heart and your overall health.