Installing Safety Grab Bars
Written by Craig B

Installing Safety Grab Bars

Installing safety grab bars can be a relatively straightforward DIY project, but it’s important to ensure their proper installation for safety and functionality. Here’s what you need to know:

Before you begin:

  • Planning and Location:

    • Identify the user’s needs: Consider their height, strength, and specific requirements when choosing locations and types of grab bars.
    • Choose the right locations: Common areas for grab bars include next to toilets, bathtubs, and showers. Ensure they are positioned for easy reach and leverage during transfers.
    • Check your local building codes: Some areas might have specific requirements for grab bar installation.
  • Tools and Materials:

    • Grab bars (choose appropriate weight capacity and style for your needs)
    • Stud finder
    • Drill and drill bits (suitable for your wall material)
    • Level
    • Pencil
    • Screws or appropriate mounting hardware (depending on wall material and chosen grab bar)
    • Optional: Safety glasses, dust mask, caulk

Installation steps:

  1. Locate the studs: Use a stud finder to mark the locations of studs behind the wall where you plan to install the grab bar. This is crucial for ensuring secure mounting as studs provide the most reliable support.
  2. Mark the mounting holes: Hold the grab bar against the wall, aligning it with the desired location and stud markings. Use a level to ensure proper alignment and mark the mounting holes through the grab bar template (if provided) or by directly marking the screw holes on the wall.
  3. Drill pilot holes (if required): This step depends on your wall material. For concrete or masonry walls, drilling pilot holes is necessary. Use the appropriate drill bit size for the screws or anchors you’ll be using.
  4. Install the grab bar:
    • Mounting on studs: If the mounting holes align with the studs, use the provided screws directly to secure the grab bar to the wall, tightening them firmly with a screwdriver.
    • Using anchors (for drywall or non-stud locations): Use the appropriate anchors and screws as per the manufacturer’s instructions. These anchors typically involve inserting them into the drilled holes and then screwing the grab bar into the anchored inserts.
  5. Apply caulk (optional): For additional water resistance, especially around bathtubs or showers, apply a thin line of caulk around the base of the grab bar where it meets the wall.

Additional tips:

  • Double-check everything: Ensure the grab bar is secure, level, and positioned appropriately before fully tightening the screws or applying caulk.
  • Consult a professional: If you are unsure about any aspect of the installation, especially if dealing with complex setups or load-bearing walls, consider consulting a professional handyman or contractor for assistance.

Remember, safety is paramount. Ensure proper installation following the manufacturer’s instructions and relevant building codes for secure and reliable grab bars.

Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) and Physical Therapy

Read on to learn more about functional capacity evaluations and physical therapy. Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs): What are they? An FCE is a set of tests administered by a qualified professional (usually a physical or occupational therapist) to assess your ability to perform daily activities and job-related tasks. What do they involve? These tests typically include: History [...]

What Is A Disability Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) Test?

A Disability Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a comprehensive assessment conducted by healthcare professionals, often occupational therapists or physical therapists, to evaluate an individual's physical and functional abilities. The primary purpose of an FCE is to assess how an individual's health condition, injury, or disability affects their capacity to perform various tasks and activities, particularly [...]

Best Balance Exercises For Seniors

Exercises for balance problems are designed to improve your stability and reduce the risk of falls, especially as you age. Balance exercises can benefit people of all ages, but they are particularly important for older adults. These exercises help strengthen the muscles that support your balance and coordination. Here are some balance exercises you can [...]

Installing Safety Grab Bars
Written by Craig B

Avoiding Falls At Home

Falls are a major cause of injuries and death among older adults. Here are some tips to help you avoid falls at home:

  • Make sure your home is well-lit. This will help you see where you are going and avoid tripping over objects.
  • Remove clutter from walkways. This will also help you avoid tripping.
  • Secure loose rugs and carpets. Loose rugs and carpets can be a tripping hazard. Secure them with double-sided tape or tacks.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom and near stairs. Grab bars can help you steady yourself when you are getting up or down.
  • Use a cane or walker if you need one. A cane or walker can provide you with extra support and help you avoid falls.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well. Shoes that are too loose or too tight can make you more likely to trip.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise can help improve your balance and coordination, which can help you avoid falls.
  • Get your vision checked regularly. Poor vision can make it more difficult to see where you are going, which can increase your risk of falls.
  • Take your time. Don’t rush when you are walking or moving around. Take your time and be careful.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any balance or mobility problems. Your doctor can help you develop a plan to prevent falls.

If you have fallen in the past, it is important to take steps to prevent future falls. Talk to your doctor about your risk of falls and get help developing a plan to stay safe.

Here are some additional tips for older adults:

  • Get up and move around regularly. Don’t sit or lie down for long periods of time.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you dizzy and more likely to fall.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce your risk of falls.
  • Manage your chronic conditions. Conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes can increase your risk of falls. Make sure to manage these conditions under the guidance of your doctor.
  • Stay mentally active. Mental activity can help improve your balance and coordination.
  • Stay socially active. Social activity can help reduce stress, which can also increase your risk of falls.

By following these tips, you can help reduce your risk of falls and stay safe at home.

There are many comfortable shoes for seniors on the market, but some of the most popular include:

  • Walking shoes: Walking shoes are designed to provide support and comfort for walking. They typically have cushioned soles and arch support.
    Walking shoes for seniors
  • Running shoes: Running shoes are designed for high-impact activities like running. They typically have more cushioning than walking shoes and may also have features to prevent ankle rolling.
    Running shoes for seniors
  • Trail shoes: Trail shoes are designed for walking or hiking on uneven surfaces. They typically have good traction and durability.
    Trail shoes for seniors
  • Diabetic shoes: Diabetic shoes are designed for people with diabetes. They typically have features to help prevent foot ulcers, such as extra width and cushioning.
    Diabetic shoes for seniors
  • Comfort shoes: Comfort shoes are designed to be as comfortable as possible. They may have features such as memory foam or gel inserts.
    Comfort shoes for seniors

When choosing comfortable shoes for seniors, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • The person’s foot type: Some people have wider feet, while others have narrower feet. It is important to choose shoes that fit the person’s foot type well.
  • The person’s activity level: If the person is active, they will need shoes that provide more support and cushioning. If the person is less active, they may be able to get away with shoes that are less supportive.
  • The person’s budget: There are a variety of comfortable shoes available at different price points. It is important to choose shoes that fit the person’s budget.

It is also important to have the shoes fitted by a qualified professional, such as a podiatrist or an orthotist. This will help ensure that the shoes provide the correct amount of support and comfort.

Here are some additional tips for choosing comfortable shoes for seniors:

  • Try on the shoes at the end of the day: Your feet tend to swell throughout the day, so it is important to try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest.
  • Walk around in the shoes: Don’t just stand in the shoes when you try them on. Walk around in them to make sure they are comfortable and provide good support.
  • Bend your knees: When you bend your knees, the shoes should not feel too tight.
  • Have the salesperson check the fit: The salesperson should be able to check the fit of the shoes and make sure they are not too tight or too loose.

Balance issues are common in older adults. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Age-related changes in the inner ear: The inner ear is responsible for balance, and it can start to decline with age.
  • Vision problems: Poor vision can make it difficult to see where you are going, which can lead to balance problems.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration can make you dizzy and more likely to fall.
  • Medications: Some medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, which can increase the risk of falls.
  • Medical conditions: Medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease can also increase the risk of balance problems.

Balance problems can lead to falls, which are a major cause of injuries and death in older adults. If you are a senior, it is important to take steps to prevent balance problems and falls.

Here are some tips for preventing balance problems in seniors:

  • Get regular exercise: Exercise can help improve balance and coordination.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well: Shoes that are too loose or too tight can make you more likely to trip.
  • Make sure your home is well-lit: This will help you see where you are going and avoid tripping over objects.
  • Remove clutter from walkways: This will also help you avoid tripping.
  • Secure loose rugs and carpets: Loose rugs and carpets can be a tripping hazard. Secure them with double-sided tape or tacks.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom and near stairs: Grab bars can help you steady yourself when you are getting up or down.
  • Use a cane or walker if you need one: A cane or walker can provide you with extra support and help you avoid falls.
  • Get your vision checked regularly: Poor vision can make it more difficult to see where you are going, which can increase your risk of falls.
  • Take your time: Don’t rush when you are walking or moving around. Take your time and be careful.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any balance or mobility problems: Your doctor can help you develop a plan to prevent falls.

If you have fallen in the past, it is important to take steps to prevent future falls. Talk to your doctor about your risk of falls and get help developing a plan to stay safe.

4 Wheel Walkers
Written by Craig B

Pick The Best Walking Frame

Walking frames can give people a greater level of support and balance. Read on to learn how one can work for you!

A walking frame, also known as a walker, is a mobility aid that provides support and stability to people who have difficulty walking. It is a four-legged frame with handles at the top and wheels at the bottom. The user leans on the handles for support and uses the wheels to move the frame forward.

Walking frames are used by people with a variety of mobility issues, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Injury
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

Walking frames can help people to maintain their independence and mobility. They can also help to prevent falls, which are a major risk for people with mobility issues.

There are two main types of walking frames:

  • Standard walking frames: These have four legs and no wheels. They are the most stable type of walking frame, but they can be more difficult to move around.
  • Wheeled walking frames: These have four legs and two wheels. They are easier to move around than standard walking frames, but they may not be as stable.

When choosing a walking frame, it is important to consider the user’s individual needs and abilities. The frame should be the right height for the user and should be stable and easy to move around. The user should also be able to reach the handles comfortably.

Walking frames can be purchased from medical supply stores or online retailers. They are also available for rent or loan from some healthcare providers.

Here are some tips for using a walking frame:

  • Keep the frame close to your body when you walk.
  • Use the handles to support your weight.
  • Take small steps and avoid sudden movements.
  • Be careful when going up or down stairs.
  • If you feel unsteady, sit down and rest.

With proper use, walking frames can be a safe and effective way to improve mobility and independence.

Here are some additional things to consider when choosing a walking frame:

  • The weight of the frame. Some frames are heavier than others, so it is important to choose one that is easy for the user to lift and move.
  • The width of the frame. The frame should be wide enough to allow the user to walk comfortably, but not so wide that it is difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.
  • The height of the frame. The frame should be the right height for the user so that they can reach the handles comfortably without having to bend over.
  • The features of the frame. Some frames have features such as a seat, baskets, or brakes. These features can be helpful, but they may also add to the weight of the frame.

It is important to talk to a healthcare professional or mobility expert to get help choosing the right walking frame for your needs.

Walking Frame Features

  • Height adjustment: The walking frame should be adjustable in height so that it can be customized to the user’s height. This will help to ensure that the user is able to reach the handles comfortably and safely.
  • Weight capacity: The walking frame should have a weight capacity that is sufficient for the user’s weight. This is important to prevent the frame from collapsing or tipping over.
  • Number of wheels: Walking frames can have two wheels, four wheels, or no wheels. Two-wheeled frames are the most common type and are the easiest to move around. Four-wheeled frames are more stable, but they can be more difficult to maneuver. Non-wheeled frames are the most stable, but they can be the most difficult to move around.
  • Wheel type: The type of wheels on the walking frame can affect its maneuverability. Swivel wheels allow the frame to turn more easily, but they can be less stable. Fixed wheels are more stable, but they can be more difficult to turn.
  • Frame material: Walking frames are typically made of aluminum or steel. Aluminum frames are lighter and easier to move around, but they are not as strong as steel frames. Steel frames are stronger, but they are also heavier and more difficult to move around.
  • Features: Some walking frames come with additional features, such as a seat, basket, or brakes. These features can be helpful, but they may also add to the cost of the frame.

It is important to consider all of these factors when choosing a walking frame. The best walking frame for one person may not be the best walking frame for another person. It is important to talk to a healthcare professional or mobility expert to get help choosing the right walking frame for your needs.

Here are some additional features that may be important to consider:

  • Folding capability: Folding walking frames are easier to store and transport.
  • Anti-tip brakes: Anti-tip brakes can help to prevent the frame from tipping over.
  • Non-slip feet: Non-slip feet can help to prevent the frame from slipping on smooth surfaces.
  • Adjustable armrests: Adjustable armrests can provide more comfort and support.
  • Seat cushion: A seat cushion can provide more comfort when sitting down.
  • Basket: A basket can be used to carry items.

Walking Frame and Cane Comparisons

A walking frame and a cane are both mobility aids that can help people with balance and mobility issues. However, they have different features and benefits, so the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances.

Walking frame

A walking frame is a four-legged frame with handles that you can use to move it forward as you walk. It provides more support and stability than a cane, making it a good option for people with significant balance or mobility issues. Walking frames are also easier to use on uneven surfaces than canes.

Cane

A cane is a single- or four-point stick that you can use to support your weight and improve your balance. It is a lighter and more portable option than a walking frame, making it a good choice for people who need less support or who want to be able to move around more easily. Canes are also easier to use on stairs than walking frames.

Which is right for me?

To decide which is right for you, consider the following factors:

  • Your level of balance and mobility: If you have significant balance or mobility issues, a walking frame is a good option. If you have less severe issues, a cane may be sufficient.
  • Your activity level: If you are active and need to be able to move around easily, a cane may be a better choice. If you are less active, a walking frame may be more stable and supportive.
  • The environment you will be using it in: If you will be using the mobility aid on uneven surfaces or stairs, a walking frame is a better choice. If you will be using it on smooth surfaces, a cane may be sufficient.
  • Your personal preference: Ultimately, the best way to decide is to try both a walking frame and a cane and see which one you feel more comfortable and secure with.

If you are unsure which mobility aid is right for you, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist. They can help you assess your needs and make a recommendation.

 

Having a home safety assessment performed to identify fall risk and provide safety recommendations followed up by installation, can greatly reduce your risk of falls in your home environment. You are unique and your needs are too!

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Written by Brian B

Home Safety For Seniors Checklist

Home Safety For Seniors Checklist

If you are looking for a complete home safety checklist for your senior loved one(s), then follow our guide below!

Home Safety Checklist For Seniors

A home safety assessment offers a unique way to proactively assess your home’s safety. This assessment can help seniors who live independently or have an older home with potential dangers. Check out the CDC’s guidelines here for more information.

A home safety checklist needs to include the following items:

Floor Safety

❒ Keep paths free of any furniture in each room of the house.

❒ Secure all throw rugs with double-sided tape or nonslip backing.

❒ Make sure there are no other objects, such as papers, boxes, shoes or blankets on the floors.

❒ Keep all wires securely taped or coiled next to walls.

Kitchen Safety

❒ Keep most frequently used items on the lower shelves.

❒ Have a sturdy step stool in the kitchen, if needed.

Bedroom Safety

❒ Tub and/or shower floors should have nonstick rubber mats.

❒ Have grab bars to use for getting in and out of the tub.

❒ Grab bars can be placed around the toilet, as well.

Bathroom Safety

❒ Light(s) should be near the bed within reach.

❒ Light the path from the bed to the bathroom well with nightlights.

Stair Safety

❒ Remove any loose objects from the stairs/steps.

❒ Fix any broken or uneven steps.

❒ Make sure there is no loose or torn carpeting in the area.

❒ Have sufficient lighting above the stairways.

❒ Make sure there is a light switch at the bottom and top of the staircase.

❒ Have handrails on both sides, making sure they are not loose or broken.

❒ Handrails should run the full length of the stairway.

Other Home Hazards

Pests and chemical hazards always pose a threat to homeowners. Use these safety tips:

❒ Test for radon and lead. Homes built before 1978 tend to contain lead in their paint, pipes and soil.

❒ Check for mold/mildew.

❒ Seal up any cracks in your home’s structure.

❒ Use natural pesticides to avoid any contamination.

Health Status Considerations

There are certainly several health factors that could cause a senior’s fall or accident at home, including the following:

  • Hearing Loss: Even a mild degree of hearing loss could become a fall risk.
  • Vertigo: This can make the elderly dizzy to the point where they can no longer balance properly.
  • Vision Problems: Seniors should undergo yearly tests to ensure any eyeglass prescriptions are up to date.
  • Medications: Certain types of medications can cause balance issues, dizziness or overall weakness.
  • Strength: Ensure strength, mobility and balance are always in good shape.
  • Foot Pain: Senior citizens experiencing pain or numbness in their feet could fall at home.
  • Dehydration: Seniors need to stay hydrated all throughout the day.
  • Vitamin D Deficiency: Low levels of vitamin D can result in reduced muscle strength and physical performance.

Lighting For Seniors

Sure. Here are some tips for lighting for seniors:

  • Use bright, diffused light. Seniors’ eyes may not be as good as they used to be, so they need more light to see clearly. Diffused light is light that is scattered evenly, so it does not create harsh shadows.
    Bright, diffused light for seniors
  • Avoid glare. Glare can be very uncomfortable for seniors and can make it difficult to see. Avoid using harsh overhead lights or lights that are aimed directly at the eyes.
    Avoid glare for seniors
  • Use task lighting. Task lighting is light that is directed specifically at a task, such as reading or cooking. This can help seniors to see what they are doing more easily.
    Task lighting for seniors
  • Use dimmer switches. Dimmer switches allow you to adjust the level of light in a room. This can be helpful for seniors who may need more or less light depending on the time of day or their activity.
    Dimmer switches for seniors
  • Install nightlights. Nightlights can help seniors to see their way around at night without having to turn on bright overhead lights. This can help to prevent falls and accidents.
    Nightlights for seniors
  • Consider using LED lights. LED lights are a good option for seniors because they are energy-efficient and long-lasting. They also produce a bright, diffused light that is easy on the eyes.
    LED lights for seniors

Here are some additional tips for lighting for seniors:

  • Consult with an occupational therapist or lighting designer to get personalized recommendations.
  • Make sure the light switches are easy to reach and operate.
  • Consider using motion-sensor lights in areas where seniors are likely to walk at night, such as the hallway and bathroom.
  • Keep the light bulbs clean to ensure optimal brightness.

By following these tips, you can create a safe and comfortable lighting environment for seniors in their homes.

Home Safety Assessment For Seniors

If you are an older adult or have a loved one living on their own, a home safety assessment is a great way to find and eliminate any safety concerns. This assessment is typically performed by a licensed healthcare professional, including medical social workers or occupational therapists. The assessment may include things such as home improvement recommendations. Medical professionals may recommend installing handrails and extra lighting, for instance.

Since falls are one of the most common causes of injury among seniors, these assessments are a crucial preventative measure towards improving safety. One in four Americans age 65-plus fall every year, according to the National Council on Aging. Falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths for seniors today.

Thinking about adding safety grab bars, a raised toilet seat or other modifications to prevent falls in your home? Our physical and occupational therapists provide free home safety screenings, and will make clinically guided fall prevention recommendations, as well as create a customized plan to fit your individual needs. We follow up with clinically guided installation of all of our fall prevention home safety products.

Our clinically guided solutions will ensure you and your loved ones can navigate your home environment safely and with confidence. Visit our Home Safety Solutions page to learn about the products and services we provide and install (we are licensed, bonded and insured), to help you prevent falls in your home.

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Written by Craig B

Assessing Fall Risks

Here are some simple questions you can ask yourself to determine if you or a loved one may be at risk for falling in your home:

Do you exercise regularly?

  • Maintaining a regular exercise program to increase strength, balance and coordination and greatly reduce the risk of falls. Recommended exercise for fall reduction are evidence-based exercises/programs such as Tai Chi.

Sure. Here are some good exercises for seniors:

  • Walking: Walking is a low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints. It is a great way to improve cardiovascular health, strength, and balance.
    Walking exercise for seniors
  • Strength training: Strength training helps to build muscle and bone mass. This can help to prevent falls and improve mobility.
    Strength training exercise for seniors
  • Balance exercises: Balance exercises help to improve coordination and reduce the risk of falls.
    Balance exercises for seniors
  • Yoga: Yoga is a low-impact exercise that combines stretching and strength training. It can help to improve flexibility, strength, and balance.
    Yoga exercise for seniors
  • Tai chi: Tai chi is a gentle exercise that combines slow, flowing movements with meditation. It can help to improve balance, flexibility, and reduce stress.
    Tai chi exercise for seniors
  • Pilates: Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on core strength and flexibility. It can help to improve posture, strength, and balance.
    Pilates exercise for seniors
  • Dancing: Dancing is a fun way to get exercise. It can help to improve cardiovascular health, coordination, and balance.
    Dancing exercise for seniors
  • Water aerobics: Water aerobics is a low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints. It can help to improve cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility.
    Water aerobics exercise for seniors

These are just a few examples of good exercises for seniors. It is important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any health conditions.

When choosing exercises, it is important to consider your fitness level and goals. You should start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you get stronger. It is also important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed.

Here are some additional tips for exercising as a senior:

  • Find an exercise buddy. Exercising with a friend or family member can help you stay motivated and accountable.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with small goals and gradually increase them over time.
  • Find an exercise that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy an exercise, you are less likely to stick with it.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that will support your feet.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
  • Warm up before you start exercising and cool down afterwards. This will help to prevent injuries.

By following these tips, you can safely and effectively exercise as a senior and reap the many benefits of physical activity.

Are you taking multiple medications?

  • Taking multiple medications can increase fall risk, due to side effects and possible drug interactions. Regularly reviewing medications with a healthcare provide can reduce the risk of medication related fall risk. It’s important to remember to dispose of unused or expired medications.

Keeping Track of Medications

Keeping track of medications is important for several reasons. It can help you to:

  • Take your medications correctly and on time.
  • Avoid taking too much or too little medication.
  • Be aware of any potential side effects or interactions with other medications.
  • Report any changes in your health to your doctor.

There are a few different ways to keep track of medications. Here are a few popular methods:

  • Medication list: This is a simple list of all the medications you take, including the name, dosage, and frequency. You can keep this list on paper or in a digital format.
    Medication list
  • Pill organizer: This is a container with compartments for each day of the week. You can use this to organize your pills and make sure you take them correctly.
    Pill organizer
  • Medication reminder app: There are a number of apps available that can help you to keep track of your medications. These apps can send you reminders to take your medications and can also track your intake.
    Medication reminder app
  • Wristband or necklace: There are also wristbands and necklaces available that can help you to keep track of your medications. These devices can be programmed with information about your medications and can alert you if you forget to take them.
    Wristband or necklace medication tracker

The best way to keep track of medications will vary depending on your individual needs and preferences. If you are taking a lot of medications, or if you have difficulty remembering to take them, you may want to consider using a medication reminder app or a pill organizer. If you are concerned about your ability to keep track of your medications, you should talk to your doctor.

Here are some additional tips for keeping track of medications:

  • Keep your medication list in a safe place where you can easily find it.
  • Review your medication list regularly to make sure it is up to date.
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any changes in your medications.
  • If you are traveling, pack your medications in your carry-on luggage.
  • Be sure to dispose of expired or unused medications properly.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure that you are taking your medications correctly and safely.

Have you modified your home environment?

  • Modifying the home environment to reduce hazards such as slippery floors, poor lighting, uneven surfaces, removal of cords and other household obstacles can reduce the risk of unnecessary falls in the home. The bathroom is the number one place for falls in the home. Addressing balance issues in the shower and commode areas through the addition of safety grab bars, shower chairs, transfer benches and toilet risers can reduce the risk of falls in the bathroom.

Modifying your home for seniors can help them to stay safe and independent in their own home. There are many different modifications that can be made, depending on the individual’s needs and abilities.

Here are some common home modifications for seniors:

  • Widen doorways: This will make it easier for seniors to navigate through the home, especially if they use a wheelchair or walker.
  • Install grab bars: Grab bars can be installed in the bathroom, kitchen, and other areas where seniors may need assistance. They can help to prevent falls.
  • Add ramps: Ramps can be installed to make it easier for seniors to enter and exit the home, especially if there are stairs.
  • Lower countertops and appliances: This will make it easier for seniors to reach things.
  • Install non-slip flooring: This will help to prevent falls, especially in wet areas.
  • Install motion-sensor lights: This will make it easier for seniors to navigate the home at night.
  • Install a medical alert system: This system can be used to call for help in an emergency.
  • Install a security system: This system can help to deter burglaries and other crimes.

These are just a few examples of home modifications that can be made for seniors. The best way to determine which modifications are right for you is to talk to a doctor or occupational therapist. They can help you assess your individual needs and recommend specific modifications.

Here are some additional tips for modifying your home for seniors:

  • Make sure the modifications are easy to use and maintain.
  • Consider the senior’s mobility and vision when making modifications.
  • Make sure the modifications are aesthetically pleasing.
  • Get help from a professional if you need it.

By following these tips, you can make your home a safe and comfortable place for seniors to live.

Have you had a home safety assessment to determine if you are at risk of falls in your home?

  • Studies have shown that addressing multiple fall risk factors from daily activities and exercise, medication, footwear, eye exams and home environment, have the ability to reduce fall risk as statin medication does for cardiovascular disease.

A home safety assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of potential hazards in and around your home. It is conducted by a qualified professional, such as an occupational therapist, social worker, or home safety inspector. The purpose of a home safety assessment is to identify and eliminate potential hazards that could cause injury or illness.

The home safety assessment will typically cover the following areas:

  • Fall hazards: This includes uneven surfaces, slippery floors, and missing handrails.
  • Fire hazards: This includes combustible materials, faulty electrical wiring, and blocked exits.
  • Slip and trip hazards: This includes clutter, loose rugs, and uneven surfaces.
  • Security hazards: This includes weak locks, unsecured windows, and poor lighting.
  • Accessibility hazards: This includes narrow doorways, steps, and lack of grab bars.
  • Other hazards: This could include anything else that could pose a safety risk, such as poisonous plants or pets.

The home safety assessor will make recommendations for how to correct any hazards that are found. These recommendations may include making repairs, installing safety devices, or changing your behavior.

A home safety assessment can be a valuable tool for improving the safety of your home. If you are concerned about the safety of your home, or if you are a senior or have a disability, you should consider having a home safety assessment performed.

Here are some benefits of having a home safety assessment:

  • It can help to identify and eliminate potential hazards in your home.
  • It can help to make your home safer for you and your family.
  • It can help to reduce the risk of injury or illness.
  • It can help you to feel more confident and secure in your home.
  • It can help you to save money on home repairs and medical bills.

If you are interested in having a home safety assessment performed, you can contact your local occupational therapist, social worker, or home safety inspector. They can help you to find a qualified professional who can conduct the assessment.

Having a home safety assessment performed to identify fall risk and provide safety recommendations followed up by installation, can greatly reduce your risk of falls in your home environment. You are unique and your needs are too!

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Written by Craig B

Conversations to Have with Your Aging Parents: Creating a Falls-Free World

We often worry about our aging parents’ safety, well-being and even fiscal health, and many adult children find themselves in the sometimes-awkward position of having to bring up these sensitive conversations with aging parents.

Among these concerns, fall prevention may be the hardest to bring up – especially if your parents have chosen to retain their independence by aging in place. Many older adults experience a certain amount of denial about their physical capabilities, which makes it hard to ring up sensitive issues like fall prevention.

Keep reading for some simple ways to broach the conversation with your parents.

Find Support in Family and Friends

This is a tough conversation but a necessary one. Ask your loved one if they are concerned about falling or have taken any spills. Many older adults recognize that falling is a risk but believe it won’t happen to them – even if they’ve already fallen in the past.

If they’re concerned about dizziness, environmental concerns, medications, foot issues or balance, suggest that they talk to a health care provider who can assess their risk and recommend services that can help.

Discuss Current Health Conditions

Are your loved ones experiencing challenges managing their own health? Having problems or concerns about medication management? Forgetting to take their medications?

Things that were once easily doable tasks are now more challenging for them. Make them aware that Medicare offers preventative benefits which they can take advantage of – such as the Annual Wellness visit. Encourage them to speak openly with their health care provider about all their concerns.

Ask About Their Last Vision Exam

If your elderly family member or friend wears glasses, make sure their prescription is current. Many are not aware that using lenses where the tinting changes can cause problems when going from bright sunlight into darkened areas.

Changing glasses upon entry or exit is often helpful to allow time for their lenses to adjust. Those dealing with low vision issues should consult their eye doctor.

Observe Behaviors of Holding onto Walls, Chairs, Tables, etc. for Ambulating Their Environment

These are all signs there might be balance or other related issues which a trained physical therapist could diagnose. Through physical therapy, increased balance, strength and conditioning and reduce fall risk.

Additionally, the physical therapist may recommend walking and/or assistive devices to help keep them safe when transferring sit to stand or being mobile in their home and outside environments.

Have a Conversation About Medications

If your older loved one is having a hard time keeping track of medicines or is experiencing side effects, encourage them to have a conversation with their doctor or pharmacist. Suggest that they have their medications reviewed each time they get a new prescription.

My mom had an elaborate spreadsheet to keep track of her medications and schedules. Adding a timed medication dispenser that my sister refilled each month promoted her peace of mind and allowed us to ensure her adherence to the prescribed regime.

Also, beware of non-prescription medications that contain sleep aids—including painkillers with “PM” in their names. These can lead to balance issues and dizziness. If your older loved one is having sleeping problems, encourage them to talk to their doctor or pharmacist about safer alternatives.

Do A Walk-Through Safety Assessment of Their Home

There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. For professional assistance, consult MEASURAbilities Home Safety. Our physical therapist provides free home safety assessments and customized, clinically guided recommendations and installations.

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Minimizing Fall Risks When Leaving Hospital
Written by Craig B

Minimizing Fall Risks When Leaving Hospital

  • There is a high incidence of falls after hospital discharge, particularly among patients who are functionally dependent. Major fall risk factors at discharge include: decline in mobility, use of assistive devices and cognitive impairment/confusion.
  • Patients who were functionally dependent and needed professional help after discharge had the highest rate of falls.
  • Hospitalization in older adults, including those who are admitted for medical problems, rehabilitation and acute care, has been shown to be associated with decline in function and mobility – creating a higher risk of slip and fall accidents.
  • The period after discharge has been shown to be associated with high risk of falls, social problems and medication errors, with up to 30% of older people experiencing an adverse event following hospital discharge.
  • 45% of older people fall in the period following discharge.
  • One study examining the incidence of falls in older, recently hospitalized medical patients requiring post-discharge home care, found that falls were substantially increased during the first month after hospital discharge.
  • Research has shown that fall prevention home safety assessment and home safety modification intervention immediately following discharge critically reduces the risk of falls once at home.
  • A full clinical assessment of function as it relates to how individuals are navigating their environment doing daily tasks (restroom, shower, walking through the home). Installation of safety grab bars, commode risers, shower chairs, ramps and rails are just a few of the modifications which can be made that will reduce fall risk.
  • Typically, upon discharge, families and are overwhelmed and often don’t know where to turn for resources (you can bring in MB home safety here if you’d like). Coming home following discharge is a critical time, where patients are often in a weakened, tired and cognitively impaired state. Family members rush to “get something in”. Just having a “safety grab bar” won’t do the trick, where your bar is placed and clinical attention to the placement of any modification is imperative in not risking further injury.

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Minimizing Fall Risks When Leaving Hospital
Written by webtechs

Fall Risk at Discharge – What You Need To Know

  • There is a high incidence of falls after hospital discharge, particularly among patients who are functionally dependent. Major fall risk factors at discharge include: decline in mobility, use of assistive devices and cognitive impairment/confusion.
  • Patients who were functionally dependent and needed professional help after discharge had the highest rate of falls.
  • Hospitalization in older adults, including those who are admitted for medical problems, rehabilitation and acute care, has been shown to be associated with decline in function and mobility – creating a higher risk of slip and fall accidents.
  • The period after discharge has been shown to be associated with high risk of falls, social problems and medication errors, with up to 30% of older people experiencing an adverse event following hospital discharge.
  • 45% of older people fall in the period following discharge.
  • One study examining the incidence of falls in older, recently hospitalized medical patients requiring post-discharge home care, found that falls were substantially increased during the first month after hospital discharge.
  • Research has shown that fall prevention home safety assessment and home safety modification intervention immediately following discharge critically reduces the risk of falls once at home.
  • A full clinical assessment of function as it relates to how individuals are navigating their environment doing daily tasks (restroom, shower, walking through the home). Installation of safety grab bars, commode risers, shower chairs, ramps and rails are just a few of the modifications which can be made that will reduce fall risk.
  • Typically, upon discharge, families and are overwhelmed and often don’t know where to turn for resources (you can bring in MB home safety here if you’d like). Coming home following discharge is a critical time, where patients are often in a weakened, tired and cognitively impaired state. Family members rush to “get something in”. Just having a “safety grab bar” won’t do the trick, where your bar is placed and clinical attention to the placement of any modification is imperative in not risking further injury.

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