Of the 300,000 people over the age of 65 who are hospitalized with a hip fracture annually, over 75% of them are women. This crisis is worsened by osteoporosis and falling, especially falling sideways. For people who fall in this age group, 2/3 are likely to fall again with a year’s time.
What can we do to reduce the risks? According to the CDC, there are several important steps to take! When we talk with the doctor, discuss fall risk, review your medications to avoid interactions that could cause dizziness, the possible addition of D3 supplements and balance/exercise programs.
We can take action ourselves by choosing exercises for balance and flexibility that can be fun, too. Even a chair yoga program is a great place to start.
Having our eyes checked annually, especially if we wear bifocals to ensure that we can see well, keeping our depth perception for tripping hazards in mind.
In our homes, the CDC also recommends the following:
- Get rid of things you could trip over.
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Put railings on both sides of stairs.
- Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs.
Each action step we take is vital to reduce the risk of falling and the agony of a hip fracture.
Memorial Day 2019 occurs on Monday, May 27. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend, an excellent occasion for a backyard barbecue, and a chance to get the year’s first sunburn. Memorial Day is where we honor and pay tribute to the many brave generations who have fallen. All gave some, some gave all.
Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those many heroes who have given so much to secure the freedoms we today take for granted here in the U.S. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.
Have a safe, happy and meaningful Memorial Day weekend, from Age Safe® America.
Are you a caregiver providing support for a spouse, friend, or relative? As we say in the Family Caregiver ESSENTIALS™ course, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. Even though it can be a challenge, take sure you are making time for yourself, eating healthy foods, and being active. Finding some time for regular exercise can be very important to your overall physical and mental well-being.
Physical activity can help reduce feelings of depression and stress and help you improve your health and prevent chronic diseases. Making a plan and getting exercise onto the schedule with all the other activities can help make it happen.
Here are some ways for caregivers to be physically active:
- Take exercise breaks throughout the day. Try three 10-minute “mini-workouts” instead of 30 minutes all at once, especially to get the reminder of its importance.
- Make an appointment with yourself to exercise. Set aside specific times and days of the week for physical activity.
- Exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support.
- Ask for help at home so you can exercise. Getting the respite for yourself is invaluable.
- If possible, find ways to be active with the person you’re caring for. Both of you can benefit from physical activity!
Time to move in the right direction this spring season! Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Now that spring is here, it’s a great time to get outside. Try these fun activities from Go4Life to get moving that won’t cost you a dime.
- Spring is a great time to get outdoors! Find new, safe, fun activities fromGo4Life.
If you have encountered a rehabilitation team during your life, whether it is for your loved one, or for yourself, you have experienced them issuing a walker or a cane to assist with balance during recovery of injury or illness. As we age, it may even become part of our everyday existence, first a cane for outside, then a rollator, then progress to a rolling walker even when inside. Heck, they even come in stylish designs and have all sorts of accessories for storage of personal items, or food trays. However, when a person is diagnosed with dementia, does this continue to be the safest option? After all, these mobility aids are meant to aid you in not falling.
Why does this become a dangerous idea for them? For an answer, I referenced Physical Therapy professor Susan Hunter. She believes that using mobility aids are a far more complex cognitive activity than we initially believed. Credit: University of Western Ontario
It seems counterintuitive that the using a mobility aid, such as a cane or a walker, can actually increase the risk of falls in older adults. Yet in individuals with dementia, that’s exactly the case. In fact, people with dementia are three times more likely to suffer a fall when using a mobility aid versus not using one at all. By using a mobility aid a person needs to have a lot more cognitive fitness and capacity. You now have one more object to maneuver around obstacles. This can be compared to texting while driving…how many things can you do at the same time to not cause an accident.
Professor Hunter has studied this question consistently in her academic career and she has found that using a device only increases the cognitive work slightly in healthy adults. The work load increases up to 40% for people with dementia. This is staggering. Does the extra brain work result in increases of instability? Does the patient actively use the walker without extensive cues? Do they forget to put it away, adding another tripping hazard in a hallway or kitchen?
It is important to assess for reasoning skills when a person is using an ambulation device. If a person with dementia is provided with a mobility aid to help physical support, but, this has become a new complex task, does it make them safer and less likely to fall? Can we do a better job of training our caregivers in the use of these aids?
Much of my practice involves safety strategies. I am passionate about fall prevention and accommodations to enable people to remain home. Sometimes this means adding items, grab bars, raised toilet seats, stair lifts, etc. Sometimes this means deleting items, throw rugs, movable obstacles, too many kitchen items for people to manage, etc. If a person is not able to successfully demonstrate reliable, consistent, proper use of a mobility aid, perhaps it is time to rethink the use of it for them.
Kristopher Rench, OT, OTD, OTR/L, CLVT, CMT II, CSHSS
CEO, SeniorSAFE, LLC
Age Safe America Advisory Team Member
Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). The 2019 theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:
- Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation.
- Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.
- Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.
Communities that encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger! By engaging and supporting all community members, we recognize that older adults play a key role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks, and lives.
Throughout the month of May 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL) website https://acl.gov/oam/2019/older-americans-month-2019 will promote #OAM19 with materials to help you #ConnectCreateContribute.
It’s a big holiday weekend here in the United States and Canada with Easter and Passover underway. All of us at Age Safe® America and Age Safe® Canada send blessings of joy to you and your families!
Why We Celebrate Easter
Easter is the most important feast day on the Christian calendar.
Regularly observed from the earliest days of the Church, Easter celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead, following crucifixion. It marks the end of Holy Week, the end of Lent, and the last day of the Easter Triduum (starting from the evening of Maundy Thursday, through Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday), as well as the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year. The resurrection represents the triumph of good over evil, sin, death, and the physical body.
In 2019, Easter falls on Sunday, April 21st. You probably already knew that Easter falls on a different date each year… but why? According to a Fourth Century ruling, the date of Easter is set for the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full Moon of Spring, occurring on or shortly after the Vernal Equinox. March 22 is the earliest Easter can occur on any given year, and April 25 is the latest.
What Is Passover
The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, April 19 – April 27, 2019. Passover 2019 begins at sundown on Friday, April 19, and ends Saturday evening, April 27. The first Passover seder is on the evening of April 19, and the second Passover seder takes place on the evening of April 20.
Passover (Pesach) commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Pesach is observed by avoiding leaven, and highlighted by the Seder meals that include four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus. In Hebrew it is known as Pesach (which means “to pass over”), because G‑d passed over the Jewish homes when killing the Egyptian firstborn on the very first Passover eve.