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18 Fearless Years
Caregiver.com

 

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chiefLike a Good Neighbor

Gary,

I am trying to help my 89-year-old neighbor. His wife is very close to the same age. His daughter is here (in Florida) from Washington State to see what can be done.  He has fallen three times within the last few days, due to an imbalance issue and very little strength in his leg muscles.

Can you give me any information that I can pass along to my neighbors to give them the ability to stay in their home?

Karl

Dear Karl,

First of all, thank you so very much for taking a role in supporting your neighbors. We should all have neighbors like you!

The most important way we can show concern for senior loved ones who are living in our community is to enable them to stay in their own homes. To do that, we must start to pay attention to the possible slip and fall danger zones; especially, the bathroom. One third of all falls that occur at home happen in the bathroom. And falls are a leading cause of long-term care placement.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 234,000 adults were treated in U.S. emergency departments in 2008 for injuries that occurred in bathrooms. Four out of five of these injuries were caused by falls—and almost one-third of adults aged 65 and above who were injured in bathrooms were diagnosed with fractures. Among adults aged 85 and older, 38 percent were hospitalized as a result of their injuries.

There are many things that can be done to help avoid bathroom falls, but the solution starts with awareness. We all know about non-slip rugs and grab bars and shower seats, but did you know that just picking someone up off the toilet seat can be dangerous to them and to their caregiver?

As another CDC study stated:

Numerous studies have shown that training caregivers how to use proper body mechanics to lift residents is not an effective prevention measure because lifting the weight of adult patients is intrinsically unsafe…

If you are concerned about the safety of your neighbors, consider consulting an experienced home modification expert for advice. A call to the ElderHelp line at the local Area Agency on Aging organization is also a great first start.

Be aware there are many really great new devices in use these days to help ensure a safe home. One reason I like the Caregiver Friendly nominations that come into the office so much is that I am always pleasantly astounded by the solutions being invented for situations that can harm caregivers and their loved ones.

Finding out about effective and innovative assistive devices that can keep your neighbor at home and in good health for as long as possible—now that’s truly an act of neighborly love – and just in time for the Easter holidays.

 

Gary Barg
Editor-in-Chief
Today's Caregiver magazine
gary@caregiver.com

 

 
Friday March 29, 2013

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