Elder Proofing a Senior’s Home

Simple falls can have catastrophic effects on the elderly leading to disabling conditions, extended hospital stays and even death. These falls can be prevented and a good caregiver can minimize any negative long term effects if one does occur.  With most falls occurring at home while doing mundane tasks, “elder proofing” homes becomes critical to those seniors that are able to stay in their homes. David York Home Healthcare Agency is intimately aware of what a safe living space for an elderly person should look like and can help set that up.  That is why our aides are instructed frequently during in-service training about safe environments for our elderly clients.

The National Institute on Aging has a handy article about making a home safe for the elderly. Tripping hazards from carpets, wires, and clutter need to be removed.  Grab bars in places like the shower, tub, and toilet as well as proper lighting often prove essential.

Here is a summary:

Stairways, Hallways and PathwaysHandicap-Shower

  1. Keep electric cords and wires next to the wall and tacked down.
  2. Affix all carpets and area rugs firmly to the floor.
  3. Arrange furniture so there are clear paths for walking.
  4. Make sure sofas and chairs are the right height for sitting and getting up.
  5. Don’t walk on wet, newly washed floors.
  6. Keep often used items in easy reach.
  7. Don’t stand on a table or chair.
  8. Have a reach stick (obtainable in hardware stores) for hard to reach items.
  9. Know where your pet is before sitting or standing so you don’t trip on them.
  10. Keep emergency numbers in large print near the telephone.

Living Areas

  1. Have handrails on both sides of the stairs.
  2. Make sure there is good lighting,
  3. Keep the walkway tidy.
  4. Check that the carpets are fixed firmly.
  5. Don’t use throw rugs or small area rugs

Bathrooms

  1. Grab bars for the tub, toilet and shower.
  2. Place non-skid mats, strips and carpets.
  3. Place nightlights.

Bedroom

  1. Put nightlights and light switches near the bed.
  2. Keep the telephone on the night table.
  3. Have all remote controls within reach.

Source: National Institute on Aging: AdPage: Falls and Fractures; September 2012

At David York Home Care Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in New York in their homes and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Preventing Falls in the Elderly

We are often so consumed with the symptoms and treatments of the diseases endemic to the elderly that we fail to see how a simple fall can have catastrophic effects. These falls can lead to disabling conditions, extended hospital stays and even death. To the elderly, commonplace activities like walking, shopping and socializing become dreaded events.  Their physical realities combined with their fears mean that the elderly come to view themselves as fragile which exacerbates their isolation and depression, all too common conditions among this group.

Ten things you can do to prevent falls include (The National Institute on Aging has a handy tip sheet):487709591

  • Regular exercise, especially those that work on balance like yoga and tai chi, can help steady the elderly adult. Weight-bearing exercises that slow bone loss and lower-body strengthening exercises are especially helpful.
  • Physical therapy may be useful for improving balance and walking confidence.  Your doctor or health care provider may be able to make that referral.
  • Stand up slowly from a seated or lying position.
  • Wear rubber soled shoes to avoid slipping.
  • Make regular eye and hearing check-ups to ensure they are fitted with glasses with the optimal prescription for clear vision.  Interestingly, even wearing bifocals while walking or on steps may blur the vision enough to cause falls.  Proper hearing can ensure no cues are missed.
  • Elder proofing a home taking elderly needs and deficits into account much as we do for babies is often neglected.  (See article below.)
  • Regular dizziness may indicate an underlying medical condition with respect to blood pressure, circulation, or sensory issues which should be checked out by a physician.
  • Have the doctor or pharmacist review all medications to identify those most likely to cause dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • Get enough sleep.
    Source: National Institute on Aging: Go4Life: Preventing Falls

David York Home Healthcare Agency  provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in New York in their homes and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. At David York Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one.

Hypertension: New Guidelines

HypertensionOnly about six years overdue, new guidelines for treating hypertension have been released by the Joint National Committee on The Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.  For the purpose of drug treatment, the committee increased the threshold for drug treatment of hypertension from 140/80 to 150/90 in the elderly aged 60 and older, thereby re-categorizing people with the lower blood pressure from mildly hypertensive to pre-hypertensive. 

Based on a comprehensive review of data of those treated for 3-5 years, the committee determined that drug therapy for mild hypertension did not necessarily reduce adverse health events such as heart attack, stroke and premature death. 

Critics of the new guidelines study feel that the basis for revision is specious since the benefits of treating mild hypertension can be exhibited beyond the five year time frame of the study.  They also feel that these new thresholds will lead to an all too lenient treatment of this silent killer. 

With the reduced incidence of stroke of 40% under the old guidelines, Dr. Samuel Mann author of Hypertension and You feels that this is no time to relax our watchfulness.  He feels the overtreatment of high blood pressure is due to other factors than low thresholds and over prescription of drugs.  Still others feel that the new guidelines have merit since they highlight our gaps in knowledge and discourage common over treatment. 

The committee recommended a healthy diet, weight control and regular exercise as important factors in controlling high blood pressure for all adult segments.  They failed to come up with a recommendation for people younger than 60, but suggested we stick with the old guidelines in order to be conservative.  They also had trouble defining a threshold for those who suffer from kidney disease and diabetes, but suggested a target of 140/90 for these segments which is higher than the 130/80 formerly recommended. 

The committee veered people away from beta blockers and toward thiazide type diuretics and calcium channel blockers.  Thiazide diuretics are often initially prescribed for hypertension; however studies have shown that older adults who take thiazide diuretics have a much higher risk of developing adverse metabolic events.  One in twelve adults developed hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels), hypokalemia (low blood potassium levels) or acute kidney injury.  As such, elderly patients on this medication need to be aware of the risks. 

David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.