Failure: Screening & Reporting Falls in Elderly

There seems to be a big gap with respect to caring for the elderly – reporting and screening for falls. The responsibility for this failure falls to both the elderly experiencing the falls as well as their caregivers and healthcare providers.

453263573A study out of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows 12.6% of
California’s elderly population fall more than one time a year and most do not report it to their medical provider. When they do report the event, the healthcare professional treating them seem to neglect counseling them on fall prevention in 40% of the cases.

Fall prevention is critical to the elderly since it is the leading cause for injury and hospitalization among those 65 and older and the risk only increases as they age. One in 5 people 85 and older report falling more than once a year versus 1 in 10 of those between 65 and 74. The outcomes of a fall in the elderly are often fatal or, at best, have long term consequences for performing their activities of daily living.

While it is incumbent on healthcare professionals to provide counseling to all their elderly patients, these providers must also be informed of any falls by those they treat. Elderly patients must be encouraged to report any falls so that they can be counseled how to prevent falls and to elder proof their surroundings. Also, they need to warn them about certain medications that can exacerbate their lack of balance which naturally declines as they age. Those medications include*:

  • anti-seizure drugs (anticonvulsants)
  • hypertensive (high blood pressure) drugs
  • sedatives
  • tranquilizers
  • anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)
  • aminoglycosides (a type of antibiotic)
  • diuretics
  • vasodilators
  • certain analgesics (painkillers)
  • certain chemotherapeutics (anti-cancer drugs).

*From NIH Senior Health: Balance Problems: Causes and Prevention

 

At David York Home Healthcare Agency, we could provide direction to caregivers 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.  Our home health aides are certified and fully trained on how to safely care for the elderly. 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.

 

 

 

 

Too Old To Drive?

With all the free spirited Baby Boomers aging, it might be hard for them to think of giving up a big part of their vehicles of freedom – the car keys. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the past 10 years has seen about a 20% increase in licensed drivers over 65 years old on the road. As their children see more and more physical signs for concern and feel awkward about broaching the subject with their aging parents, a new area of expertise has come on the scene –  Driving Rehabilitation Specialists. These are occupational therapists that specialize in assessing and even correcting some of the problems seniors may experience as their driving skills age with them.

too old to driveIt’s all about keeping everyone safe. According to the AAA, the highest fatal car accidents occur in two distinct age groups – teenagers and those 75 and older. However, while teenagers are more of danger to others, senior citizen drivers are more of a danger to themselves. They are more fragile and don’t bounce back from injuries well at all.

On the other hand, up until the age of 65, the accident rates of older adults mirror those who are middle aged. In order to ensure that this younger senior citizen group is driving safely for as long as possible, various safeguards can be employed. Organizations such as AAA & AARP have online screening assessment questionnaires. After that, you might want to get an ‘on-the-road’ driving assessment which can be scheduled through a rehabilitation center or driving school. Finally, driving rehabilitation specialists can be called to look for things like flexibility, reflexes and range of motion in the neck and shoulders. This option can be pricey ranging anywhere from $200 – $1,000 depending on the state and the depth of analysis and instruction involved. The  American Occupational Therapy Society can help you locate someone in your zip code.

At David York Home Healthcare Agency, we are very in tune with the quality of life issues pertaining to the elderly. Our home health aides are keenly aware of the needs and issues of senior citizens as their skills decline.

David York Agency provides skilled home health aides for the elderly and ill. We provide skilled home health aide services for home healthcare and could assist you in mapping out and managing the total care of your senior loved one. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us on our website to become acquainted with all we offer. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or  LinkedIn.