In Home Fall Prevention Exercises and Strategies

Blog written by Galen Friesen, past Covell Care Intern and CSU Graduate.

In 2014, 28.7% of community-dwelling adults 65 years or older reported falling, resulting in 29 million falls [1]. Luckily, exercise is one of the most effective interventions for falls, and there are many modalities of exercise to pick from. The minimum requirement for exercise in elderly populations is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week to see benefit [2]. Many individuals who have suffered a fall find themselves worried that if they engage in exercise they will fall again, however, it is more beneficial to begin a supervised exercise program than to completely avoid activity altogether.

First and foremost, always consult your primary care provider before starting a new exercise program; see if they have any recommendations as to what exercises would be most beneficial. Simple exercises that can be done at home include (use a chair or wall for extra stability if needed): single leg balancing, sit-squats, floor bridges, step-ups, bird-dogs, and planks. Explanations and pictures for these exercises can be found here: https://blog.nasm.org/fitness/exercise-tips-fall-prevention%E2%80%8E/. Another great resource would be your physical or occupational therapist, and they might even know a personal trainer or fitness class that they could refer you to.

Along with exercise, a great way to reduce the risk of falls in the home is to
reduce the number of obstacles in your environment – removing decorative rugs, keeping a clear floor, and providing space around corners and in walkways reduces the likelihood of environment induced falls. Take your time while transitioning from seated to standing and while entering rooms or turning corners to make sure you have a constant mindfulness about your center of balance.

[1 Grossman, D. C. (2018, April/May). Interventions to Prevent Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.
[2] Exercise – the Miracle Cure. (2016, June 16). Retrieved from http://www.aomrc.org.uk/reports-guidance/exercise-the-miracle-cure-0215/

Diet vs. Healthy Eating

Our stomach drives our decision on when to eat but it is often our emotions, available time and ease that may drive the decision of what we eat. We are living in a fast-pace society where demands can be high in our career and how we manage our family structures. This makes it hard to take the time to think about eating healthy…or at least that is what we tell ourselves.

There are many diets out there today that give us a guide on what we should eat, taking some of the decisions out of our day. But are those diets sustainable over time? Should we trash the diets and just focus on making healthy decisions?

Healthy eating, along with understanding your health is the answer for long-term success. If you are living with a chronic health condition (including depression, incontinence) keep in mind what food options help manage your condition’s symptoms and implement those options into your meal planning. This shouldn’t add any additional stress or time, and in the long run will potentially save on healthcare dollars and have a positive impact on your overall health.

So what to do next…know your needs. What health conditions are you living with? Are there certain foods that help or hinder your condition? What are you currently eating? And how to you need after? Are you at a healthy weight for your height and age? What areas do you struggle with when it comes to eating? What can you substitute that would be a healthier option?

This is gives you a good starting point. If you need more support please contact our office to work with our Registered Dietitian. She can help make this process simple and achieve your goals. Call us at (970) 204-4331.

Vacuum Cupping as a therapy intervention

Vacuum Cupping, also know as Myofascial Decompression can be useful in the treatment of chronic overuse injuries such as bursitis, tendinitis, tendinosis, and myofascial pain syndromes. It can also be effective with post-op scarring and related pain.

So how does vacuum cupping work? Good question. This technique uses negative pressure to decompress adhesions, where the connective tissue is stuck and allow better flow for the exchange of nutrients. The pressure will increase blood flow to the area to help with healing process.

When it comes to massage therapy, cupping can most often allow for an area to release quicker then traditional manual massage. So results can happen fast! Great news.

Vacuum Cupping can help with the following:

  • Break down scar tissue
  • Break down trigger points and adhesions
  • Decrease pain
  • Improve performance
  • Decrease post-op/post-injury healing time

If you are interested in learning more or trying a session with cupping contact our office at (970) 204-4331.

Home Hazards…Are they related to falls?

A 2018 study titled, The Potential to Reduce Falls and Avert Costs by Clinically Managing Fall Risk, by Judy A. Stevens, PhD and Robin Lee, PhD, MPH estimated the prevalence of seven fall risk factors and the effectiveness of seven evidence-based fall interventions.

Stevens & Lee defined a “fall risk factor as an attribute or characteristic of an individual that increases the likelihood of a fall occurring”. They go on to say that many fall risk factors are potentially modifiable (e.g. poor balance, mobility problems, impaired vision, and insufficient vitamin D). Contributing factors increase the chance of falls such as the side effects of medications and the presence of home hazards.

Lets take a focus on home hazards. Most of us feel our homes are the place we feel most safe and comfortable. But does that mean our home is truly “safe”. Here are some questions to ask your self to determine where your home sits on the safety spectrum and some techniques you can use to enhance safety.

Can you safely enter and exit your home? 
Do you have stationary chairs with arm rests that do not rock or glide? 
Does every room have a night light? 
Can you read your medication bottles? 
Can you enter and exit your shower or tub without a loss of balance?
Can you transfer to and from your toilet without difficulty? 
Do you have clear pathways throughout the home? 
Are your kitchen goods stored between the height of your knees and your shoulders? 
Are you able to retrieve items from under your bathroom sink with ease? 
Do you have throw rugs picked up? 
Do you know how to use your microwave correctly? 
Do you remember to turn off the stove or oven when finished? 
Are cords clear from being in the walkways? 
Do you know how to use your thermostat? 
Have you been free from falling in the last year?  
Do you take your medication on time consistently? 
Is there a table next to your bed for a light and to set items on? 
Is your carpet and flooring free from tears and ripples? 

Home Safety Strategies:

  1. Remove all scatter rugs, repair frayed carpet, tape or tack down loose carpet edges.
  2. Arrange furniture to allow adequate space for safe walking between and within all rooms.
  3. When using oxygen, do not smoke or use an open flame.
  4. Do not overload circuits – unplug appliances when not in use.
  5. Wear close-fitting sleeves to prevent spills and burns that could happen with loose, long sleeves.
  6. Clean up spills immediately.
  7. Use a step stool or reacher to reach high shelves – do not stand on chairs or stools.
  8. Place safety strips or a non-skid mat in bathtub/shower and install grab bars – do not use soap dishes or towel racks for support when sitting or standing.
  9. Keep closet doors and drawers closed to prevent bruises or tripping.
  10. Keep walking aids within reach and keep a nightlight on or flashlight within reach of your bed.

If you are interested in having an occupational therapist conduct a home safety assessment in your home please contact our office at (970) 204-4331. And keep in mind, most insurance plans cover the visit.

The Potential to Reduce Falls and Avert Costs by Clinically Managing Fall Risk Judy A. Stevens, PhD,1 Robin Lee, PhD, MPH2

Suicide and Depression

Depression is at the top of the list when it comes to suicide. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Covell Care would like to bring light to this difficult and often too common issue.

Regardless of age depression can creep in. Depression can be caused by a number of different factors such as change in health, recent loss of a loved one, transition to a new place/home and financial issues. It is up to all of us to keep our eyes and ears open to what those around us are saying and doing to be aware of depression symptoms. That way we can help prevent suicide in our community.

Below are warning signs that the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers. What to Watch For if You Feel Someone is at Risk:

If a person talks about:

  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves

Specific behaviors to look out for include:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety

Don’t know where to turn? Contact Covell Care to learn about our mobile counseling services. We support people who struggle with depression, anxiety, grief & loss and much more. (970) 204-4331