Friday, December 12, 2014

Winterize to Prevent Falls

Below are five simple steps that YOU can take today to make a big impact on falls for older adults and adults with disabilities in your community:
  1. Raise awareness by posting and disseminating this simple and colorful infographic -- 6 Steps to Prevent a Fall -- from the National Council on Aging.
  2. Encourage older adults to carry a Ziploc bag filled with a lightweight kitty litter in their pocket and cast it out ahead of themselves on very slick surfaces. More information about using kitty litter for traction can be found here.
  3. ‘Tis the season for gift giving! Encourage adult children to give fall-proofing holiday gifts to their parents:
    1. Fall alarm systems that are motion triggered without hitting a button
    2. Sign a loved one up for a Fall Prevention Class
    3. Higher toilets in the home
    4. Replace multifocal glasses with single vision eyeglass lenses
    5. Grab bars in bathroom and next to outside steps or inside thresholds
    6. Install firm stair railings on both sides of stair ways and set automatic lights over stairways and by outside entrances
    7. Cover the entryway to the home and provide a table to set down bags while finding keys
    8. Give tiny flashlights to attach to keys, hats, and coat buttons. Shorter days mean more time in the dark.
  4. Begin to check ALL older adults with the STEADI fall risk screening tool as part of your normal intake and re-evaluation process. You can learn to administer the STEADI screen and you can learn how to use the Otago Fall Prevention Program and other evidence-based falls prevention programs as part of your community-based fall prevention programs.
Help make this season a safe, warm and wonderful one for your patients, your family and your community.

Source: Mindy Oxman Renfro, PT, PhD, DPT, GCS; Chair, American Physical Therapy Association’s AGPT Balance & Falls SIG; Lead, Montana's Falls Free Coalition; University of Montana Rural Institute/MonTECH programs.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A 'Purpose in Life' May Extend Yours

Study found older people who felt life had meaning had better survival

From: MedlinePlus

Another study finds that having a sense of meaning and purpose in your life might do more than just give you focus -- it might help you live longer, too.

The study, involving more than 9,000 British people averaging 65 years of age, found that those who professed to feeling worthwhile and having a sense of purpose in life were less likely to die during the more than eight years the researchers tracked them.

Over the study period, 9 percent of people with the highest levels of this type of well-being died, compared with 29 percent of those with the lowest levels, according to the report in the Nov. 7 issue of The Lancet.

The study comes on the heels of similar research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In that study, a team led by Eric Kim of the University of Michigan found that older adults with a strong sense of purpose in life may be particularly likely to get health screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Aging in Place: Does a Loved One Need a Geriatric Assessment?

From: News Wise

By a tremendous margin – over 95 percent – older Americans choose to live at home or with relatives. Families making that choice should consider seeking the assistance of a geriatric specialist, especially when they see changes in their loved one’s behavior, says Bruce R. Troen, MD, chief of the division of geriatrics and palliative medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University at Buffalo.

“Early in life, as toddlers and youngsters, we accumulate skills, which we call activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, eating and personal hygiene,” says Troen. “Unfortunately – and not necessarily as part of normal aging – some of us start losing those capabilities at the other end of our lives. When that happens, it’s time for a comprehensive geriatric assessment.”

Families should take note, he says, of any decline in a loved one’s ability to accomplish basic activities of daily living. This includes Dressing, Eating, Ambulating, Toileting and Hygiene (the acronym DEATH), and instrumental activities of daily living or community actions – Shopping, Housework, Accounting, Food preparation and Transportation (the acronym SHAFT).

“If there is a decline in any one of these, I would recommend a comprehensive geriatric assessment,” says Troen. “Such assessments can help distinguish reversible causes of cognitive decline from irreversible ones.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Vibrating Insoles May Aid in Reducing Falls Among Older Adults

From:  PT Products Online

Vibratory stimulation applied to the soles of the feet reportedly improved balance in older adult study participants, reducing postural sway and gait variability.

The findings appear in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

According to a news release from Peters Communications, the vibratory stimulation is delivered by a urethane foam insole with embedded piezoelectric actuators, which generates the mechanical stimulation. The study was conducted by researchers hailing from the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew SeniorLife, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and Harvard Medical School, all in Boston; and Merck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD) Consumer Care Inc, of Memphis, Tennessee.

The release emphasizes the study’s findings in light of the direct relation between poor balance and irregular gait with fall risk.

According to Lewis Lipsitz, MD, while the loss of sensation in the feet is a common issue among older adults that can impair balance and gait and result in falls, there are no interventions available that can reverse sensory impairments and prevent the dangerous consequences of falls.

“We are very excited to discover that small amounts of vibratory noise applied to the soles of the feet may be able to do just that,” Lipsitz says.

Monday, November 3, 2014

An Aging Nation Braces for More Deadly Falls

As the American population ages, the number of older people who fall and suffer serious, even fatal, injuries is soaring. So retirement communities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes where millions of older Americans live are trying to balance safety and their residents’ desire to live as they choose.

They are hiring architects and interior designers, some of whom wear special glasses that show the building as an old person would see it. Some have begun to install floor lighting, much like that on airplanes, that automatically illuminates a pathway to the bathroom when a resident gets out of bed.

The number of people over 65 who died after a fall reached nearly 24,000 in 2012, almost double the number 10 years earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 200,000 Americans over 65 died after falls in the decade from 2002 to 2012. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in that age group.

And more than 2.4 million people over 65 were treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls in 2012 alone, an increase of 50 percent over a decade.

READ MORE » NY Times

Friday, October 17, 2014

The next Older Adult Falls Prevention Journal Club meeting is Wednesday October 22 from 11 am to Noon. 
Please join us for a review of a meta-analysis to determine how fall prevention exercise interventions for older adults might be effective in preventing different types of fall related injuries. The results of this article can help us all to encourage participation by older adults and justify funding by our decision-makers. A copy of the article and a review of the article are available on the Journal Club tab. 

Looking for citizen groups to provide feedback on the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention campaign

A public awareness campaign is in development as part of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. Assistance is needed with citizen feedback/testing on campaign creative concepts and messaging. We are interested in working with a variety of citizen groups around the state, from urban and rural communities. Groups representing different age groups are also desirable,particularly for older adults. We would also like to contact Spanish-dominant citizens. If your organization has a citizen group in place that would be interested in participating please contact Sylvia Solis at Webb Strategic Communications, ssolis@webbstrategic.com.