Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

October 14, 2011

Fall brings awareness for seniors, families


CNHI

— The first day of fall traditionally marks Fall Prevention Awareness.

Statistics show that one out of three adults ages 65 and older falls each year, but less than half of those senior citizens talk with their healthcare providers about it.

That’s why Senior Helpers, one of the leading in-home care providers for seniors in the nation, has trained caregivers who can help spot danger zones in and around seniors’ homes and can help seniors move around their environment more carefully.

“Up to 30 percent of those who fall suffer injuries such as hip fractures or head traumas,” Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Senior Helpers, said in a press release. “Those types of injuries not only make it hard for seniors to live independently, but those injuries can sometimes be fatal. Our caregivers are there to provide families with the comfort that someone is watching over their senior loved one and helping make sure they’re living in a safe environment.”

Fall Prevention with Senior Helpers Caregivers encourages:

- Exercise regularly — caregivers help choose activities that increase leg strength and improve balance in seniors, such as Tai Chi.

- Eye check-ups — caregivers make sure seniors have their eyes checked by a doctor at least once a year and have their eyeglasses updated as needed. A good tip is to consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for activities such as walking outside.

- Safety Proof the Home — caregivers reduce tripping hazards in the home, make sure grab bars are installed in the tub/shower and next to the toilet, ensure stair railings are installed, and improve lighting throughout the home.

- Review Medications — caregivers have a doctor or pharmacist review medications/prescriptions to let them know what may cause side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness.

“When seniors fall, they usually develop a fear of falling, even if they’re not injured,” Ross said. “That fear can easily turn into a senior choosing to limit their physical activity which in turn increases their risk of falling again. That’s where our caregivers come in; they help to prevent falls and help seniors cope with fall-related fears they may already have.”

Senior Helpers connects professional caregivers with senior citizens who wish to live at home as opposed to a nursing or assisted living facility. The company has 300 franchises in 39 states. For more information, visit the website at www.seniorhelpers.com.

 

By the numbers

- In 2008, 82 percent of fall deaths were among people ages 65 and older.

- In 2008, more than 19,700 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries.

- Fall-related fractures occur more than twice the rate for older women than for older men.

- More than 90 percent of hip fractures are caused by falls. And white women have significantly higher hip fracture rates than black women.

n Direct medical costs of falls equaled $28.2 billion last year alone.