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Top Tips to Help Aging & Ailing Family Members- June 2013
June 18, 2013


Lights! Camera! Action!

Let’s talk about moving around not movies. June is Home Safety month. For anyone who wants to stay at home, avoiding falls is essential. Healthy aging can be derailed by a serious fall.

Lights!

Everyone needs more light to see well as they age. Help your family member take a fresh look at lighting in their home. Do they need more lamps? Do the lamps need brighter light bulbs? Would a specialty lamp for reading create more ease and comfort?

You can also encourage the use of nightlights or leaving the light on in the bathroom for safer nighttime bathroom trips. Our family favorite is keeping a flashlight by each side of bed.

Camera!

Ok, we are not really going to talk about using a camera,that would be intrusive. Let’s substitute equipment for camera. What equipment might be good or bad to have in the house to prevent falls?

Now is a good time to check any handrails or grab bars that your family member already uses. Are they firmly connected to the wall so that when they are needed, they won’t fail? Are grab bars and railings missing? Now is right time to add them.

Check the flooring,is there a smooth walking surface? Are all the tiles, carpeting and floorboards in place? Are all the transition strips securely in place? Is your family member still using throw rugs? Make sure they are well attached to the floor or if possible have them removed.

Is your family member using any assistive devices like canes and walkers? Is it time to get a tune up on technique from the doctor’s office or a physical therapist?

Action!

Let’s talk about steps your family member can take to have better balance and avoid falls.

Ask your family member’s doctor to evaluate their balance and walking ability and to consider prescribing some physical therapy or an evaluation by a physical therapist. The therapist can recommend safer ways to stand, walk and sit and strengthen exercises for your family member.

Consider an evaluation by a balance clinic at a local hospital. These clinics have been springing up in the past few years. They can provide similar services and recommendations as a physical therapy practice.

Encourage your family member to exercise. Walking, Tai Chi and yoga are good for improving balance. Perhaps you could take a class together?

Making fall prevention a priority can help your family member safely age at home.



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