Category: Fitness

Preventing Falls

Blog provided by JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado Student and Covell Care Intern.

Top 5 Ways to Prevent Falls

Aging into later life can bring many concerns, one of the biggest concerns with aging is falling.  The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 seniors will fall at least once a year. One of the biggest predictors of having a fall is already having a previous fall.  This can be worrisome not only for the person involved, but also the families. To prevent something as serious as a fall from happening the first time, it is important to review 5 steps that have been proven to help prevent falls.

One of the first steps in preventing a fall is reviewing medications, certain medications have been linked to increasing falls in seniors.  Such medications include: sedatives and tranquilizers, antipsychotics, nighttime drugs, over-the-counter medication, medications that cause drowsiness.  If these medications are taken, it is important to review them with a doctor to assess the amount of risk of falling involved.

Checking blood pressure while sitting and standing is the second important step in fall prevention.  A substantial drop in blood pressure when a person stands up or changes position is known as postural.  Drops in blood pressure is common for older adults, especially for those who are taking medicine to lower blood pressure.  Blood pressure treatment has in fact been linked to some of the most serious falls in older adults.

The third step in preventing a fall involves a balance evaluation.  If you or someone who know has noticed difficulty with walking or standing should seek an evaluation by a doctor.  These evaluations are covered by Medicare and can be very useful in preventing a fall from occuring. Strength and balance exercises may be recommended to insure this.  Along with these exercises, taking a daily walk can be very helpful in improving balance.

A home safety assessment may be one of the most important parts to preventing a fall.  A set up of a home and placement of furniture and other household items can easily set a person up for a bad fall.  Having a home healthcare agency to have an Occupational Therapist come and evaluate the home for possible falls is an easy way to prevent something serious from happening.  

The final step in fall prevent consists of getting enough Vitamin D.  Taking 1,000 IU per day will help insure that a person is getting the recommended amount of Vitamin D.  A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to fragile bones and may cause a fall.

Physical Therapy as Preventative Care

Blog written by Kiara Tucker, University of Northern Colorado Student and past Covell Care Intern.

Preventative care is extremely important throughout your lifetime, but especially as you age. The aging process takes a toll on your body and makes everyday tasks become increasingly difficult. With a proactive approach you can lessen this impact by the use of physical therapy. Physical therapy will reduce the risk for injury by increasing your flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. With increased abilities, you can regain your independence and maintain a higher quality of life. Another added benefit from physical therapy is you can stay away from more medication and reduce your pain naturally. The most common argument to physical therapy is the cost, but when you look at all of the costs for avoiding physical therapy, you can see that it is one of the more cost-effective options. If you wait until your pain is too bad, you will most likely not be able to fix it without undergoing surgery. The cost of surgery and all the medication that comes with it is typically far more than you would spend on physical therapy.  By waiting until surgery is necessary, your quality of life diminishes daily. Even after surgery, there can be a long recovery period. This is all in hopes that the surgery will be successful. The best option is to start physical therapy sooner rather than later when you feel your physical abilities are being limited.

Give Covell Care a call today to ask more about physical therapy and the benefits. (970) 204-4331

Top 5 Ways How Seniors Can Lead Happier Lives

Thank you to Emma Jones, guest blogger who is part of the community team at Greenwood Homecare, providing a range of high quality care services. Emma is passionate about improving the quality of care that older adults receive in the UK and around the world. https://greenwoodhomecare.co.uk/

The word “seniors’’ is synonymous with everything that is negative. From retirement to elderly care and pension funds; everything about seniors sounds like a liability. Even worse, people in this age group are deemed as a sad lot and even those that try to put up a brave face are often begrudged their happiness. This is because the society considers them as individuals living on borrowed time; hence not allowed to indulge in the joys and pleasures of this time. The seniors themselves do not make the situation better either; they will often look back and only see the chances they missed in life.

Instead of counting their blessings, as it were, they will find it convenient to dwell on their past mistakes and feel sorry for their apparent ineptitude. All these culminate in one thing; a stressful life in old age. However, there are ways seniors can still salvage what’s left of their time on earth and stay happy, positive and motivated. The following are the top 5 ways for seniors to lead happier lives.

Work Less; Play More
The first strategy that seniors can employ to remain happy is to focus more on having fun as opposed to making money. After having lived decades, you have probably saved enough to help you get by; whether in terms of long-term investments or pension fund. This is not the time to focus on getting rich but rather keeping fit.

You can do with a little bookkeeping in your grocery store so as to stay in touch with the cash flow in your business but when the time comes for physical exercise, stop everything else and focus all your attention on it. Indulge in jogging, running, swimming and all the light forms of exercise that will keep you in shape as opposed to those that build your muscles.

Explore The World
Traveling is a mysterious form of adventure and it opens up our minds to greater realms. As a senior, you will find lots of happiness in exploring those enchanting tourist destinations you only read about in travel magazines. You will find it easy to interact with new people as you experience nature in the raw.

Traveling will set your mind at ease since you learn to embrace the aging process with grace as you surrender yourself to the inevitable. If you are more of the social guy, you will find a trip down to the Bahamas a great way to make new friends but if you are into the grander of Mother Nature, you won’t go wrong with a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef or spare sometime to visit the Scandinavian regions and experience the mystic Aurora.

Make Your Physician Your Greatest Friend
As a senior, one of the greatest challenges to your happiness is ill health. And since at this age your immunity will have taken as much beating as it can, you are likely to be bogged down by little conditions such as the common cold, flu or even headaches. It is therefore important to ensure you have your physician’s contacts close by so you can contact them anytime you experience such symptoms.

Having routine medical check-ups is one way to keep these infections at bay and lead a healthier lifestyle. During these checkups, your physician will also take the opportunity to recommend to you some nutritional and exercise tips based on your medical profile.

Let It Off Your Chest
Most seniors have lots of issues; both personal and social. And due to their age, most of them find it necessary to hide their feeling as they fear being judged and betrayed even further. It is important as a senior to understand and appreciate the good, old adage that a trouble shared is a trouble halved.

While you may not trust those around you, there is always that one friend that you can look up to. Remember that sharing your worries and agonies will not necessarily help you find a solution to them but it will take the burden off your shoulders and you will begin to feel more positive about life. Hold no grudge against anyone, forgive all and strive to be at peace with everyone.

Stay Away From Trouble
Seniors are revered members of the society and as such, they will usually find themselves arbitrating matters that often result in earning them more enemies. Unless it is a pressing need such as arbitrating disputes involving your will, try to stay away as far as possible from such feuds.

If at all possible, have a lawyer, another trusted member of the family or your close friend to help in situations in whose involvement may polarize your family or pit you against your near and dear ones.

Many may claim that happiness is a state of mind but for someone who has lived on earth for over 6 decades; it is more than just a matter of attitude. Adjusting your lifestyle to focus on things that calm your spirit is the only ideal way of staying happy as a senior.

National Cancer Prevention Month – FEB

According the American Cancer Society in 2018, there will be an estimated 1,735,350 new cancer cases diagnosed and 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States. It is estimated that 25,570 new cases will be reported in Colorado alone. Among the highest reported are breast cancer, prostate and lung cancers.

Who is at risk? Cancer usually develops in older people. 87% of all cancers in the United States are diagnosed in people 50 years of age or older. Certain behaviors also increase risk, such as smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, or not being physically active. In the US, approximately 40 out of 100 men and 38 out of 100 women will develop cancer during
their lifetime.

What does this mean for you? Be proactive and start practicing good habits now to decrease your chances. Start by following these steps and always work with your physician in best practices for you individually.

These 7 tips from the Mayo Clinic will give you some simple steps to make big improvements:

  1. Don’t use tobacco products -Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney.
  2. Eat a health diet – eat plenty of fruits & vegetables, drink alcohol in moderation or not at all and limit processed foods.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight and stay active – both weight & physical activity have been linked to cancer reduction.
  4. Protect yourself from the sun – use sunscreen & sunglasses, stay out of the mid-day sun and cover exposed areas.
  5. Get immunized – Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections.  Ask your physician about Hep B and HPV vaccines.
  6. Avoid risky behaviors – practice safe sex & limit your partners.
  7. Get regular medical care – Regular self-exams & screenings for various types of cancers can increase your chances of early detection.

For more information on 2018 Cancer facts visit: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2018/cancer-facts-and-figures-2018.pdf

In honor of Andrew Potts, one of our occupational therapists who lost his battle with cancer we continue to share his story and legacy. Visit our website to learn about what Team AMP is doing for our community. www.covellcare.com/teamamp

Prevent falls with physical therapy

As we grow older many of us find a fear has started to creep into our minds. Falling! We may find that our balance isn’t what it used to be, a few aches and pains have set in, our eyesight isn’t as strong and our movement slows down. All of these things increase the risk to fall. And when we are afraid to fall our fall risk actually goes up, too.

According to the CDC more than 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries every year. Falls are one of the leading causes of death in people over 65. It’s important we do all we can to reduce people’s fall risk.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) encourages older adults to look around their homes for fall hazards that are easily eliminated. Most falls happen in the home so reducing risks here is very important. The APTA recommends people do the following:

  • Remove throw rugs
  • Reroute electrical cords
  • Install hand rails
  • Ensure the lighting in the home is adequate during the day and at night

In addition to reducing fall risk by a few simple adjustments at home, the APTA also recommends older adults participate in an individualized exercise program that is designed by a physical therapist. This will help with strengthening, balance and mobility. It may seem just as effective to participate in  group classes or do a video at home but the ideal situation is to be participating in programming that is specific to the individual. PT’s are critical in developing strong exercise programs that will reduce risks of injury during exercise while maximizing the benefits for each client.

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Here are a few more tips to help reduce fall risk:

 

  • Have your medicine reviewed annually or every 6 months because medication side-effects can lead to an increased fall risk.
  • Ensure you are wearing appropriate foot wear for support and to prevent tripping and slipping.
  • Adjust your walker or cane so the handles are the height of your wrist. Or have a PT or OT assess your device and make adjustments.
  • Replace the rubber tips on your cane or walker when it starts to show wear and tear.
  • Avoid going outside when it is icy.
People typically work with a physical therapist on a short-term basis. After PT, it is strongly recommended that people consider working with a physical trainer to help maintain a quality, effective exercise program and progress their exercise program as gains are made. PT’s and trainers often work closely together to maximize the benefit for clients and reduce fall risk.
PT’s and Personal Trainers are both available to work with clients in their homes in Larimer and Weld Counties through Covell Care and Rehabilitation. PT is typically covered through insurance and personal training is an affordable out-of-pocket expense. Reducing your fall risk is priceless!
Blog written by Krista Covell-Pierson, OTR, BCB-PMD.