Elder Care in Suffolk County:
About one third of the senior population over the age of 65 falls each year. Falls are the leading cause of death from injury for the elderly. Falls not only can result in severe injury but also carry serious life-altering consequences such as, being wheelchair bound or having to move out of the home and into a nursing home.
Many of the older adults that we meet with have just started to have difficulty with walking, balance, and limited mobility and are concerned about having a fall. When we meet with our clients in their home we often see situations where clients have become accustomed to hazardous conditions such as, maneuvering around clutter, climbing older, steep stairs, or navigating through dark rooms in the middle of the night.
Some factors that can lead to a fall according to the National Council on Aging include the following:
- Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
- Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
- Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
- Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
- Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.
Below are 5 small changes with big results that can be made in the home to prevent a fall.
- Remove all clutter from hallways, staircases, and pathways.
- Repair or remove tripping hazards such as, loose area rugs and floorboards that stick up.
- Install grab bars and handrails around the bathtub, toilet, and staircases.
- Install plenty of lighting for hallways, stairways, and in the bedroom.
- Use nonslip mats around the home.
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.