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Posts Tagged “fall prevention”

Balancing Act: Lifestyle Changes that Can Improve Balance & Prevent Falls

Scottsdale home care

Improve balance and prevent falls with these tips from our Scottsdale home care experts.

From adulthood onward, all of life can seem like a balancing act. We balance work, family, friends, community, etc. But then there comes a time later in life when, for the sake of our safety and independence, we have to consider our actual balance. As we age, our bodies naturally change, and there are many things that can affect a senior’s balance, including:

  • Low vision
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Medications
  • And more

Luckily, there are several simple, common-sense lifestyle changes that can help seniors improve balance and prevent falls.

Exercise

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and research shows that following a regular exercise routine can help older adults build muscle tone that can improve balance and reduce the risk of falling. Consider working the following types of exercise into your daily routine:

  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Dance
  • Water aerobics
  • Strength and resistance training

Adjust your diet

Generally, eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding alcohol in excess is key for a healthy lifestyle. However, some seniors may need to make adjustments to their diets in order to get the nutrition needed to improve balance. For example, seniors who have low levels of vitamin D are at an increased risk of having balance problems, falling down, and breaking bones.

Additionally, if the senior has a condition like Meniere’s disease that affects the inner ear, his or her doctor may suggest dietary changes such as:

  • Avoiding caffeine as caffeine may make symptoms like tinnitus worse
  • Eating six small meals daily rather than three large ones
  • Reducing daily salt intake to less than 1,500 mg, to reduce fluid retention
  • Avoiding monosodium glutamate (MSG), as it may cause fluid retention

Use corrective devices as needed

Often, poor balance is caused by physical changes in the body, such as reduced vision, hearing or mobility. Hearing aids and prescription eyeglasses can help reduce symptoms of dizziness and disequilibrium, and seniors should get treatment for cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration if needed.

Also, walking aids, such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs, can help seniors live safely and independently when they are properly used.

If a dizzy spell occurs…

It may not always be possible to prevent a dizzy spell, even if you take all the precautions listed above. In order to prevent loss of balance when feeling dizzy, follow these steps:

  • Sit or lie down as soon as you feel dizzy
  • Move slowly and try not to change the position of your head
  • Rest as much as you can and don’t try to go back to your regular activities before you are ready
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid exposure to things that may cause sinus congestion
  • Try to manage your stress and anxiety levels

At Nightingale Homecare, we strive to help seniors stay safe, happy, and healthy in the comfort of home by offering a full range of Scottsdale home care services that can allow them to live the lives they want. To help ensure the home is a safe place, we are always happy to provide a home safety assessment and make recommendations on how to reduce the risk of falls in the home. Additionally, our Paces Fall Prevention Program incorporates the expertise of our professional therapists, dieticians, social workers, home health aides and others to provide a well-rounded fall prevention plan that can be implemented to enhance safety even further.

Contact our Scottsdale home care team today to learn more about how we can help seniors prevent falls in the home.

Posted in Blog, Senior Health, Senior Safety on December 5th, 2018 · Comments Off on Balancing Act: Lifestyle Changes that Can Improve Balance & Prevent Falls

Ensure Senior Safety and Comfort at Home with These Tips

Phoenix live-in home health care When asked, most senior adults agree that they would prefer to age in their own homes and maintain as much independence as possible. And yet, most homes are not equipped to meet the needs of an older adult, leaving many unsafe. Unsafe homes lead to accidents or falls, resulting in over 2.3 million accidents involving seniors in their homes per year! Nearly one third of the senior population falls each year, with more than 70% of those occurring in their own home.

With Nightingale Homecare as your partner for Scottsdale senior home care services, your nurse or therapist will help identify potential hazards and make recommendations to keep you safe in your home. Therapists will also provide treatments and exercises to reduce fall risk by focusing on strengthening, balance, ambulation training with or without an assistive device, and energy conservation. Training to help keep you safe while getting ready for the day by bathing and dressing is also a priority.

Here are some genera tips your therapist or nurse will review with you to help ensure senior safety:

  • Keep all your pathways clear of clutter and pets.
  • Install smoke detectors.
  • Keep emergency numbers within reach of your telephone.
  • Keep fire extinguishers serviced and throughout your home.
  • Use medications safety.
  • Make sure that loose cords, such as telephone wires, are tucked under furniture and out of the way.
  • Rearrange furniture to keep walkways clear.
  • Remove all throw rugs or secure tightly to the floor and ensure there are no edges that could be a tripping hazard.
  • Check all furniture for stability and ensure unsteady furniture is removed or repaired.
  • Don’t walk over or around cords or wires.
  • Avoid the use of extension cords and don’t place them over walkways.
  • Lift up feet when walking and walk with proper equipment as prescribed (cane, walker, crutches, gait belt).
  • Install automatic nightlights that turn on when the room is dark so that pathways are lit if you get up in the night.
  • Make sure to use chemicals according to the directions on the package, and make sure that the containers are properly sealed when not in use. Drain cleaners, bleaches and strong acids can be dangerous if mixed, causing explosions or dangerous gasses.

At Nightingale Homecare, it’s our goal to help seniors achieve their desire to remain in the comfort of home through a full range of senior home care services. We’re always happy to provide a home safety assessment to make recommendations on how to reduce the risk of falls and other accidents. Additionally, our Paces Fall Prevention Program incorporates the expertise of our professional therapists, dietitians, social workers, home health aides and others to provide a well-rounded fall prevention plan that can be implemented to enhance safety even further.

Make home the safe haven it’s intended to be with a little help from your care partners at Nightingale Homecare! Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our Phoenix in home care and the surrounding communities we serve!

Get Fit and Don’t Fall into Fall with These Senior Fitness Tips!

senior fitnessAging can take a toll on our agility and flexibility, making everyday activities such as picking things up off the floor, reaching up onto higher grocery store shelves, or even getting up from a seated position more difficult. We’re also at a heightened risk of falls as a result of these changes. But there are steps seniors of all fitness levels can take to become more fit, build strength and endurance, and improve balance and coordination.

Dance expert and choreographer Celeste Carlucci has designed a program just for older adults, helping hundreds of seniors overcome some of the physical challenges of aging. Her goal was to enable them to experience more efficiency and gracefulness in their everyday lives, while at the same time reducing fall risk. She shares some particularly effective senior fitness exercises towards that end:

  1. Stepping Over The Suitcase
    With feet together and hands on hips, lift one foot straight up (with knees lifted high), then to the side, and then down again. Repeat ten times, and then switch to the other foot.
  2. Pump The Gas
    Sitting up straight, raise one leg, point and flex the foot five times. Repeat with the other leg.
  3. Windshield Wiper
    With legs together, sit up straight and place both hands against the outside of the knees, tightening the stomach muscles. Begin to part the legs while pushing against them with the hands to provide resistance. Then place hands on the inside of the knees, and push against them as you bring the knees together. Repeat ten times.
  4. Strike A Pose
    Allow your creativity to flow and have fun with this one! Simply make large, strong movements with your body in any direction and repeat ten times with varied moves.
  5. Stop It
    Especially good to help train the body to prevent a fall, hold onto a chair or counter with one hand, lunge the body forward with one foot and arm reaching forward, and then say aloud, “STOP!” and return to the starting position. Alternate legs and repeat ten times.

Remember that it’s important to check with the senior’s physician before beginning or altering any exercise program. Once you have the doctor’s approval, call on Nightingale Homecare for help in implementing it! Our home health care experts are skilled in providing motivation and encouragement to make senior fitness enjoyable. We can also provide transportation to exercise, dance or yoga classes, take walks together, and ensure the home is as fall-resistant as possible to keep seniors safe and thriving. Call us at (602)504-1555 to learn more about respite care Phoenix and the surrounding area depend on!

Finding Balance to Prevent Falls

home care fall preventionThe statistics are staggering – literally! Millions of older adults were injured as a result of falls between 2000 and 2013, and fatalities from falls have more than doubled in that time. Annual costs for senior falls are already in excess of $30 billion and are predicted to double by 2020.

We clearly need to view fall risks in seniors as a crisis that requires immediate attention to protect our loved ones, and yet surprisingly, many health care providers haven’t yet made fall prevention a priority. Thankfully, however, there are steps being taken to help seniors stay safe and steady on their feet, such as the CDC’s new program, STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries).

One great way to help seniors reduce their fall risk is by encouraging them to participate in balance training classes, often available through local senior centers. Or, try some of these simple balance and strengthening exercises at home (after first checking with the physician to make sure he or she approves):

  • One-leg stand. While performing routine tasks, such brushing teeth or making a sandwich, practice standing on one foot for a count of 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Heel-to-toe. Use a straight line on the floor, such as between hardwood floor boards or floor tiles – or, place a strip of tape securely across a carpeted surface – and walk carefully across the line, placing the heel of one foot in front of the toes of the other.
  • Rise and relax. From a sitting position in a sturdy chair, simply stand, sit back down and repeat several times.
  • Balance balls or boards. A trainer at the gym or in a strengthening class, such as tai chi or yoga, can teach proper techniques for using these pieces of equipment to improve balance.
  • Weights. Raising and lowering small weights, or even cans of soup or vegetables, can improve not only balance, but muscle tone and bone strength as well.

We welcome you to call on the Phoenix in-home nursing care experts at Nightingale Homecare for more tips and hands-on assistance with balance and exercise programs to help your senior loved one improve his or her overall health, strength and wellbeing, and remain safe at home. Our Paces Fall Prevention Program incorporates a full team of fall prevention specialists, including physical therapists, nurses, occupational therapists, dieticians, medical social workers, and home health aides to ensure that the seniors in our care remain steady on their feet and reduce their chances of experiencing a fall. Contact us any time at 602-504-1555 to learn more!

Supporting Your Senior Loved One to Age Safely at Home Home Safety: Adaptation and Technology

home care safetyHome Safety: Adaptation and Technology

This is the second in a 7-part blog series provided by the registered nurses at Nightingale Homecare to help family members and caregivers master the necessary supports needed for older adults to age safely at home and to prevent hospitalizations or admissions to a long-term care facility. This blog is focused on Home Safety: Adaptation and Technology.

Although there are numerous environmental factors and health-related conditions that can contribute to falls, any fall should be viewed as a symptom of an underlying condition, and thoroughly evaluated by a physician. However, families should not wait until a fall occurs to get a personal emergency response system, or to install safety aids.

Technological safeguards are available that will alert loved ones and emergency services should there be a change in the parent’s health needs and condition. Many personal emergency response systems are sophisticated enough to detect a fall even if the wearer does not press the emergency button. This is a critical safeguard for those who fall because they lose consciousness, such as during a heart attack, or those who lose consciousness as the result of a fall, such as by striking their head.

Families should also ensure home safety and adequate accommodation for when there is a decline in the senior’s ability to move around, as is a normal part of aging. The home should be periodically evaluated for risk as needs and abilities change. Installation of grab bars, improved lighting, reduction of clutter, and other necessary safety measures can reduce injuries and falls.

A certified home health care agency can provide nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and other professionals to evaluate your loved one and the home environment, as well as identify which modifications will be likely to keep him or her safe and comfortable at home. Certified home health care agencies providing medical social workers and registered nurses along with certified geriatric care managers can also provide numerous technological referrals and recommendations for loved ones to help them stay better connected with how the senior is managing at home.

Nightingale Homecare is uniquely qualified in assisting your loved one to age safely at home. Nightingale’s PACES Program is specifically focused on fall prevention. Our expert team determines the specific factors that might lead to a fall for each individual and creates a custom-fit fall prevention plan for each individual client.

Our goal is to provide the guidance and care necessary for your loved one to remain safe and independent at home. For more information contact us online or call us at 602-504-1555.

Look for next week’s blog on Household Management: Trust and Support and find out more about how to help the older adult in your life age in place successfully at home!

Posted in Blog, Home Safety on May 27th, 2015 · Comments Off on Supporting Your Senior Loved One to Age Safely at Home Home Safety: Adaptation and Technology