VERSAILLES – During Falls Prevention Week, the Versailles Rehabilitation and Care Center, the 112-bed qualified nursing establishment, recommends that the elderly and their families carry out a rapid check of their risk of fall – something that can help prevent hospitalization for broken bones, head injuries, and more.
Falls Prevention Awareness Week, which takes place this year from September 20-24, is a national health campaign seen each year in early fall. It is designed to increase awareness of falls, health and injury prevention, and takes place during the month of September for Healthy Aging.
“Falls that occur around the home or in daily activities can have significant consequences for our loved ones,” said Carol Lyons, administrator of the Versailles Rehab and Healthcare Center. “By talking to family members at risk of falling and assessing their risk of falling with their health care provider, you could help prevent serious injuries that can affect their quality of life. “
To help family members protect their loved ones, Versailles Rehab cites several measures that the National Council on Aging recommends to reduce the risk of falls:
1. Ask your loved ones if they are worried about falling. If they are, suggest that they talk to their health care provider who can assess their risk and suggest treatments, programs or services that might help them.
2. Discuss their current state of health and find out if they have trouble remembering to take their medication, if they experience side effects, or if they think it is more difficult for them to do things than they are. ‘they used to do easily. Encourage them to speak openly with their health care provider about these concerns for help.
3. Learn about their latest eye exams. If they wear glasses, make sure they have an up-to-date prescription and use their glasses when they should. Changing lens tint can be dangerous when going in bright sunshine indoors, so consider changing glasses upon entry or stop until the lenses adjust. Additionally, bifocals can be problematic on stairs, so it’s important to be careful.
4. Notice if they are holding onto walls, furniture, or someone else when they walk, or if they seem to have difficulty walking or getting up from a chair. A physiotherapist can help older loved ones improve their balance, strength and gait through exercise. They may also suggest a cane or walker, or adjust the fits of those they are using, as the wrong size aids can increase the risk of falling.
5. Medication can cause balance problems and dizziness. Beware of over the counter medications that contain sleeping pills, including pain relievers with “PM” in their name. If your older loved ones are having trouble sleeping, encourage them to ask their doctor or pharmacist for safer alternatives. If they have trouble keeping up with medications or experiencing side effects, encourage them to talk to their doctor and pharmacist. A spreadsheet can also help keep track of medications and schedules, and a timed medication dispenser can remind them to take their medications.
6. Do a home safety assessment or have an occupational therapist do it. Several areas to focus on include lighting (especially at the top and bottom of stairs, and making sure that lighting is readily available when you get up in the middle of the night), the stairs having two secure tracks and grab bars installed in the tub / shower and near the toilet, in addition to considering a shower chair and hand shower.
About the Versailles Rehabilitation and Health Center
The Versailles Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center is a 112-bed skilled nursing facility located in Versailles, Ohio. The center is accepting new admissions for short-term rehabilitation and long-term skilled nursing care, including memory care. For more information, please call 937-526-5570 or visit the website at www.versaillesrehab.com.