A huge step is making sure your home is safe. Follow up a free screening that gives general information about reducing fall risks in your home with a professional assessment and treatment plan. We are fortunate that in Omaha, our Fire Department participates in the Remembering When Program. A fireman will come to your home and help you do a screening as a public service. You see, the fire department knows that some simple solutions can reduce the likelihood that you will be needing their services to carry you to the hospital after a fall.
The next step is an in-depth and customized home safety assessment and analysis of your fall risk by an Occupational Therapist. Did you know that this is usually covered by insurance if your Physician thinks you may have a fall risk? Research shows that understanding what a person's particular risk is and either helping them develop skills to reduce that risk or making what are often simple changes in the environment to compensate for a person's disability to reduce the risk of falling. A skilled therapist will be able to see things about your abilities and your environment that you might not be aware of since fall risk increases gradually over the years for most people. Key Complete Therapies provides outpatient services, like home safety evaluations, in the convenience of your home.
The first step is to work up the courage to think about falling and to look at your own risks and those of people you love. We know that even though one out of every four older Americans fall, only about half of those falls are reported to their doctors so that people can start to do something about the underlying causes of the fall.
People who fall aren't the only ones who hesitate to talk about falls. Many times we see people we know who seem to be at risk, but we don't say anything because we don't want to embarrass them, hurt their feelings, or get into an argument. Some people even still believe that falling is a natural part of aging so that there is nothing that can be done. Falling is not normal.
Many, many falls are entirely preventable, but only if we do something to reduce the risks not only for ourselves, but for people we know who are at risk. When therapists from Key Complete Therapies see a person in the home to help identify the underlying cause of balance issues and falling, our goal is to help a person live as safely as possible where ever they choose to live. Don't be afraid of talking about falls. That is often the first step toward a healthier, longer, happier life. Talk to your family and friends about falling. No one really wants to start the conversation, but no one wants to fall either.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in five senior falls can lead to broken hips, broken bones, and even traumatic brain injury. As a caregiver, how much should you worry about elderly care and keeping your elderly loved ones from a fall? How much do they know and are they taking the right precautions? How do you begin a conversation with them about how to remain safe without giving up too much of their independence? And just because you start the conversation, it doesn’t mean that your elderly loved one will listen to or like your suggestions. The key is to start the conversation and continue it until they have a good understanding of the dangers they could face.
Here are some areas that you can focus on to keep the conversation going:
Be Sensitive to How They Handle Information. Aging is not easy for most seniors, and there are a lot of emotions that go with it. Keep in mind that they are changing almost daily, in physical and emotional ways and that will affect their confidence or self-worth, which may be decreased more with feelings of loss of independence. It may be a difficult conversation from both sides, yours and theirs. Go slow.
Do Proper Investigation. The more facts and statistics about senior falls you have to take to the conversation, the easier it may be to discuss, as they would feel you’re not simply singling them out. For elderly seniors, they may not feel so stubborn to listen to the information if they know they are part of a large group of seniors with that experience. When they hear that one out of every three Americans over the age of 65 experiences a fall each year, they realize that they might be more at risk than they thought. Facts and figures may be your friend!
Use A Fall Risk Assessment Tool. “I only fell once, and it was a fluke!” If this sounds you’re your elderly loved one, they may need a little help to understand the dangers. A fall risk assessment tool is an excellent way for them to gauge their actual risk level when it comes to senior falls and could provide the information they require to decide on a fall prevention plan. Many websites offer these tools to gauge their risks of falling and match them with the best tools for alerting help based on their lifestyle.
Finances. The reality is that senior falls contribute to billions of dollars in healthcare bills each year. Yes, billions! Many of the expenses are incurred each year by using ambulances, ER visits, extended hospital stays, surgeries and then rehabilitation or home care after a fall. Personal insurance will cover part of it but may not cover everything. Your discussion must also talk about how they plan to pay for a fall if it does happen. Being honest about the possible expenses will help them come around and put together a fall prevention plan that works for them.
What you’re trying to do and build your elderly loved ones a safety net, so that if they fall in the bathroom or while you are not with them, they know immediately what they need to do and which course of action to take. A medical alert system is the most effective safety net you can provide for your loved one. It will keep them connected to an emergency operator 24/7, so that no matter when they fall, they’ll have speedy access to help.
Medical alarms provide peace of mind for the individual and their family. With a medical alert system an older adult can summon help at any time. The button worn by the older adult is waterproof and can be worn when bathing. It is small and light weight and easy to wear. In-home systems use either a land line or cellular phone to connect to our monitoring center.
A medical alert device is a great first step in elderly fall prevention. As a family caregiver, taking more precautions can mean making modifications to their home, implementing a new exercise routine or changing their diet, these measures can keep your elderly parent protected. For information about Medial Alert Devices or other services that the OSRG members offer, contact us at 402-934-5500 or email us at info.OSRG@gmail.com.
Applications for smartphones or iPads can make life easier and more enjoyable, especially for seniors. But with tens of thousands of apps available (and more every day), picking the best ones that also specifically address the needs of seniors can be a lot of work. Here is a list for you that will ease that burden. These apps are meant to make life easier:
1. AARP Now App (free)
This app gives you senior-specific news, shares events happening locally and tells you what discounts you qualify for with your AARP membership.
2. EyeReader by NetSoft ($1.99 iOS)
If you hate reading restaurant menus by candlelight, you may find this magnifying glass app handy. Simply hold your phone over any text and the EyeReader will magnify it and light it up for you.
3. Find My iPhone (free)
Never lose your pricey iPhone or iPad with this app. If you leave your phone somewhere or it gets stolen, this app will find it.
4. Life360 (free iOS)
No more asking your family to call to ensure they’ve arrived home safely. This app uses GPS tracking to keep track of family members as they attend school, vacations or work. And they can keep track of you, too.
5. Lyft (free to download, but pay as you use)
You’ve heard of the buzz surrounding Lyft and Uber, but did you know these services are particularly useful for seniors? No more calling for a taxi and fumbling with cash or card. With just a couple clicks, you can have a car at your service to take you anywhere: the airport, doctor’s appointments, a party or the theatre. The payment’s already set up, so you don’t have to worry about paying or even tipping (although both Lyft and Uber accept tips now).
Uber’s come under a bit of controversy lately, so I recommend Lyft.
6. Senior Savings ($.99 iOS)
Find out which grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and theaters offer senior discounts in this app.
7. Silver Surf (free for iOS)
iPads and smartphones can be hard to use because of the tiny buttons and text, and it can be impossible for the visually impaired. This app allows you to enlarge buttons and text on iPads and iPhones.
8. Skype (free)
Use Facetime or Skype to visually connect with your children, grandkids or friends in far places. It’s truly like having your favorite people in your living room – without the mess. You have to download Skype, but Facetime comes already applied to all Apple products.
9. Yahoo! Weather (free)
There are 100s of weather apps, but Yahoo! Weather is worth downloading because it has a beautiful design and it’s simple to use. It allows you to track the weather for your location up to five days out and it includes radar maps.
Visit http://www.omahaseniorresourcegroup.com for all the resources and services you need to help an aging loved one. From long-term care, to in-home care, to home modifications, legal or financial advice, OSRG business members offer trusted resources specifically designed to benefit seniors. If you are looking for advice on how to help an older adult, contact us. We are the ONE SOURCE for all your needs.
Helping seniors to remain healthy & independent.
All services and programs connected with the OSRG are geared toward promoting improved senior living, with the goal of helping seniors remain independent when they can be through the support of staff and volunteers, thereby delaying or preventing the need for specialized care. But when the time comes for that discussion, the OSRG resources are there for you to help the next transition.
We are the ONE SOURCE for Senior resources.
The OSRG provides a connection to services for seniors making us a single, focused source of services that are readily available. From long-term care to independent living, and from legal or financial advice, to prescription monitoring, the OSRG has a connection for you!
The need for senior resources is not diminishing.
According to national figures, the number of seniors over the age of 65 is expected to more than double over the next three decades. As such, the resources we offer will continually expand to meet the needs of these seniors.
How can we help more?
With growing needs, and the increase in the number of seniors, we will need to add resources. What are you needing help with? Where are not finding help with a senior resource? Let us know! Go to our “Contact Us” page and fill it out with your need and we will try to find the resource for you!