Archive for the ‘falling’ Category

Report says exercise and vitamin D can prevent falls among the elderly

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths among people 65 and over, according to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (See our recent post “Big risks from small falls“.) A medical alert system is important to summon help quickly in the event of a fall and  mitigate complications. However, its also important to take steps to prevent falls from happening in the first place. That’s why we frequently post items on our blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds about how we can improve our health and living environment to reduce the risk of falling.

This month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts mandated by Congress, sorted through hundreds of articles and thousands of abstracts help guide the advice that primary care practitioners give to their patients. Based on 16 studies that the task force analyzed, exercise can reduce the risk of falling by 13% and 9 studies provided evidence that vitamin D supplementation can reduce risk 17%.

The report is just as interesting for what it found did not reduce risk. Neither vision correction nor education alone were associated with reducing the risk of falling. One study in Australia actually found an increase in the proportion of fallers among those who got vision correction. According to the researchers, this may be because frail older adults became more active because of their improved vision, thus increasing their risk of falling.

(Photo by TooFarNorth via flickr)

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Getting Wii-fitter may improve balance and decrease falls

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Wii Bowling

Many people embraced Nintendo’s Wii and “exergames” like Wii Fit with the hopes that it would get them off the couch and provide a fun way to stay in shape. However, as Gretchen Reynolds reports in today’s New York Times, researchers are finding that the workouts just aren’t intense enough to provide real benefits to younger people. However, a few studies are starting to indicate that the elderly can improve their physical fitness through these games.

Two studies cited in the Times article found that elderly participants saw significant improvements in balance using the Wii Fit’s exercises as well as fun games like Wii Bowling. Improving balance is important to preventing falls, which are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among the elderly.

With the holidays coming, it makes you think if maybe this year, it’s time to give Junior a good book or sweater and reserve the game console for grandma and grandpa.

(photo by marioanima via Flickr)

Video Gives Helpful Tips to Prevent Falls at Home

Friday, November 5th, 2010

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York has posted several very useful videos for staying seniors and their loved ones. Their video, How to Prevent Trips and Falls in the Home is packed with great tips, all very clearly presented and demonstrated. It’s well worth watching.

A medical alert system is invaluable for summoning help in the event of a fall, it’s important to take all steps to prevents fall from occurring in the first place. A recent study highlighted the significant risks that seniors face from even simple falls.

Seniors volunteer to help nursing students

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

We like the idea of this program at Carroll College in Helena, Montana where nursing students are learning how to interact with patients by working with seniors in the community. The students meet with their “Healthy Partners” several times to check eye and respiratory health and assess their homes to make sure that there are no tripping hazards.

Original story on KFBB.tv web site.

Early Surgery After Hip Fractures Reduces Risk of Death, Study Finds

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

On Monday, we told you about a new study that had found that exercise could significantly reduce the likelihood of broken bones among older women. On a related note, another new study looked at the effect on mortality of early surgery after a hip fracture compared to delaying the surgery. The study found that:

surgery before 24 to 72 hours reduced the risk of death and may reduce the risk of postoperative pneumonia and pressure sores.

The study is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Exercise linked to lower fracture rate in senior women

Monday, October 4th, 2010

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed two groups of women over seven years and found that the group that participated in controlled leg strength, impact and balance exercises experience fewer fracture than the control group. The group that exercised also had no hip fractures, unlike the control group. Read more.

Good Advice from Hawaii: Fending off Falls

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Hawaii has a large senior population, which is no wonder. Why not spend your golden years in paradise? The Honolulu Star Advertiser, Hawaii’s largest news service, just ran a helpful 2-part series on how seniors can prepare their houses and your body to reduce the risk of falls.

Sure, there’s some advice is pretty specific to Hawaii residents—most of us aren’t likely be harvesting lychees and mangos—but most of the advice will apply to any senior, no matter where they live.

Risk factors for falls

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Several news outlets recently reported on a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that studied the risk factors for falling among seniors. Approximately 40% of people aged 65 or older fall each year. Whereas most studies just look at falls indoors, this report looked at falls that occur both inside and outside of your home.

Here’s a brief summary of the study’s findings:

  • Risk factors for indoor falls included being female, older age, inactive lifestyle, disability, having lower cognitive function, taking more medications, and overall poorer health.
  • Risk factors for outdoor falls included being male, being younger and more physically active, having more education, and having average or better-than-average health.
  • Among all the falls that were recorded, 9.5% resulted in serious injury, including 10.2% of indoor falls and 9% of outdoor falls.
  • The majority of outdoor falls occurred on hard concrete surfaces, including sidewalks, streets, curbs, outdoors stairs, and parking lots.
  • Fourteen percent of outdoor falls occurred in yards or gardens.

From this list, it’s clear that we’re all at some risk of falling: you’re either male or female, younger or older, active or inactive, healthy or not. The key is to make sure that when you fall, you can get help as quickly as possible.

LifeStation’s medical alert system works inside and around your house. As soon as you press the LifeStation button, our monitoring center is notified. If we are unable to communicate with you, we’ll immediately put your personalized emergency plan into action.

To ensure that help is available if you fall, always wear your help button when you’re at home. Also consider installing inexpensive bathroom and hallway buttons around your home.