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The Six Game Changers #1

Posted On 03/11/2015
Q:

Many different reasons can lead to seniors not meeting their goal of staying in their home. We have identified six top reasons that force people to make life changes. If you can reduce your risk of the following six events, you have a better chance of staying independent and meeting your goal of “Aging in Place”.

A:

 


We call these, “The Six Game Changers.”

  1. Falls
  2. Urinary Tract Infections
  3. Memory Loss and Having POA Assigned
  4. Doctor Compliance
  5. Ambulation And Hygiene
  6. Loneliness And Depression

Game Changer #1 - Falls

Falls are the most common cause of injuries among seniors and the top reason for a hospital admission for trauma.  One out of every three people over 65 falls every year and a fall was fatal to nearly 8,000 over 65. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that annually nearly 1 million people over the age of 65 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with the products they live with and use every day. An eye opening statistic shows that the death rate from accidental injuries in the home is approximately three times greater for elderly people than the younger population. To be more specific, there are 60 deaths for every 100,000 people aged 65 and older, while there are only 20 deaths for every 100,000 people under the age of 65.

The main causes of injury for seniors in their home are slips and falls. For easy preventative measures, the CPSC recommends that seniors use slip-resistant carpets and rugs, handrails on each side of stairs, non-slip mats in the bathtub/shower, and grab-bars in the shower and toilet areas.

Homecare by Design believes that many injuries that seniors sustain in their homes result from hazards that are easy to overlook, but are also easy to fix or correct. By spotting these hazards and taking some simple steps to correct them, many injuries can be prevented. 

We have developed our Home Safety Inspection Program to help seniors and adult children identify these hazards. If an individual chooses to participate, we will send our trained safety inspector to their home to conduct the safety inspection.  In five to seven business days, the individual will receive a full report of our findings and safety recommendations for their home. We hope clients choose to take our recommendations and create a safer environment in their home. Many of the recommended items can be done at home by the client, their family, or you may choose Homecare By Design’s Home Maintenance Services or recommended contracted vendors. 

Below are some general recommendations that you can identify and change to help reduce your risk of falls at home.  These and many others can be identified in your home by participating in our Home Safety Inspection Program.

General recommendations for items with electrical cords:

  • Cords stretched across walkways may cause someone to trip.
  • Arrange furniture so that outlets are available for lamps and appliances without the use of extension cords.
  • If you must use an extension cord, place it on the floor against a wall where people cannot trip over it.
  • Move the phone so that telephone cords will not lie where people walk.
  • Furniture resting on cords can damage them, creating fire and shock hazards. Electric cords that run under carpeting also pose as a fire risk.
  • Remove cords from under furniture or carpeting.
  • Replace damaged and frayed cords.

PLEASE NOTE:  Nails and staples can damage cords, presenting fire and shock hazards. Inspect any electric cord of any electrical appliance that is over 20 years after manufacturing and check wiring for damage.

General recommendations for rugs, runners, and mats:

It is estimated that over 2,500 people aged 65 and over were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries that resulted from tripping over rugs and runners. Below are suggestions to reduce tripping over rugs, runners, and mats.

  • Remove rugs and runners that tend to slide.
  • Apply double-faced adhesive carpet tape or rubber matting to the backs of rugs and runners.
  • Purchase rugs with slip-resistant backing.
  • Check rugs and mats periodically to see if backing needs to be replaced.
  • Place rubber matting under rugs. (Rubber matting that can be cut to size is available.)

 General recommendations for Bathroom Safety:

The bathroom is filled with tile, laminate flooring, and moisture. Wet, soapy tile and porcelain surfaces are especially slippery and may contribute to falls.

  • Apply textured strips or appliqués on the floors of tubs and showers.
  • Use non-skid mats in the tub and shower, and on the bathroom floor.
  • Use a hand held shower head.
  • Use a stool to sit while bathing, as needed.
  • Use safety bars for a solid grip.

 

Come back on March 18, 2015 to read more about Game Changer #2 – Urinary Tract Infections!

 
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