How can you, as a caregiver, minimize the risk of falls for seniors?

Communicating with caregivers and nurses, I often emphasize the importance of fall prevention for the elderly. Falls are way more dangerous than you might think. 

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, over 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year as a result of a fall injury, most commonly a hip fracture or a head injury.

In addition to using an emergency alert system, you can consider these five fall prevention strategies:

  1. Inspire seniors to keep moving. It can be any gentle exercise, such as walking, water workouts, or tai chi. An active lifestyle reduces the risk of falls by improving balance, strength, flexibility, and coordination.
  2. Ask them to wear sensible shoes. Properly fitting, flat shoes with slip-resistant soles minimize the risk of falling and reduce joint pain.
  3. Remove room/home hazards, such as electrical cords, boxes, or plant stands from walkways; remove loose rugs and use non-slip mats in the bathroom.
  4. Keep the room brightly lit to avoid stumbling over different objects.
  5. Purchase assistive devices, such as non-slip treads for bare-wood steps, a toilet seat with armrests, a sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub, and more.

And remember: proper care can prolong life.

How can technology enable medical information exchange for improved senior care?

While we all understand that data on seniors' mental state and physical activity can add up to the overall quality of healthcare, we're still adjusting to modern health technology. Yet, the faster we can integrate remote solutions into our senior relatives' lives, the higher the quality of help they will receive.

The remote monitoring solutions are designed to provide actionable data to caregivers, helping them prevent costly emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and more. There is a variety of digital services that help seniors stay healthy, including telephonic nurse advice, medication adherence, fall detection and prevention, safety alerts and activity tracking through wearables.

If you're currently discovering what tool options are out there, I'd recommend checking out the following ones:

Remote Nursing Advice - this can be a useful solution for seniors who want to stay connected to their doctor when they are away from home or travelling.

Fall Detection - alert systems help detect the fall and notify family members, caregivers or emergency services so they can take appropriate action quickly before serious injury occurs.

Medication Adherence - certain apps help seniors adhere to their medications by providing reminders via text message or phone call at scheduled times each day so they don't forget what time they need to take their medication or if they have already taken it that day.

50% of seniors miss out on the professional care they need, according to the Gerontological Society of America.

The reasons for such statistics can vary greatly from one community to another: some lack the financial means to request support, and others may face a lack of care workers in the area.

Either way, we should focus on the solutions that can help address the issue in the most time-efficient way. In this case, I believe it’s the technological support.

When designing a routine for older adults, you can start with simple solutions that can help organize the schedule and logistics of certain tasks like taking medications on time or ordering food.

Once all the basic needs are covered, think of how you can establish continuous and reliable support for a senior. In some cases, they can monitor their daily health performance on their own with a tool like a smartwatch. In other cases, it may be useful to find a solution that also enables direct connection with emergency services. It can be especially helpful for older adults who have conditions like dementia.

Truth be told, you couldn’t always be there to react in case of need. But what you can do is make sure a senior gets immediate help even when you’re not there.

Can telehealth optimize the quality of healthcare services for seniors?

More and more medical facilities are investing in telehealth services, such as applications that provide the elderly with access to emergency care, improve chronic disease monitoring, and enhance diagnostics.

But before widespread adoption, it is important to understand the implications of telehealth on provider-patient relationships, considering the majority of seniors have not been involved with health and wellness initiatives beyond the standard office visit.

However, with greater access to patients' behavioural and social well-being information, health care providers have a greater opportunity to influence their patients' health positively.

I believe we should also think ahead of time and consider possible concerns of such medtech integration. For example, we must navigate a way for providers to ensure competence and patient data security before telehealth services extend widely across the medical care sector.

So what can healthcare institutions and health tech providers do to cooperate efficiently? Check out the article below to find out.

Why should we develop a continuum of care for seniors?

From monitoring for early signs of disease, through treatment and recovery, to managing long-term consequences, the continuum reduces the need for costly emergency department visits, inpatient hospitalizations and nursing home stays. As a result, this preventive approach can help seniors remain independent for a longer period of time.

So what key elements of the continuum of care can benefit older adults?:

1. Assessments. They are used to identify potential issues that could lead to a decline in health or function. The assessments may include medical, psychological and social factors such as diet, exercise, sleep and medication compliance.

2. Monitoring. Monitoring for early signs of disease can help identify issues before they become serious problems that require an emergency department visit or hospitalization.

3. Treatment and Recovery. Treatment may include medications and physical therapy, while recovery might include implementing strategies to prevent future episodes.

4. And last but not least, management of long-term consequences/chronic conditions.

Do you think such a preventive approach could prolong seniors’ independent living?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

The quality of senior living and technological advances in society are directly related.

The more efficient healthtech solutions we develop for seniors today, the more benefits we will receive from healthcare in the future.

Many people think of senior living and technology as opposing forces. In reality, the more a population embraces healthtech solutions for seniors, the healthier and happier society will become as we age.

In fact, there is a medical revolution happening right now that will transform our lives and make it easier for seniors to live independently at home rather than being forced into nursing homes.

Check out the recent report by AARP to see how technology can transform senior living by improving their quality of life and providing new opportunities for socialization.

Fall prevention is vital to keeping seniors safe, especially when they decide to age in place.

According to the American Geriatrics Society, more than one-third of all adults 65 and older fall each year.

The number of falls increases with age; by 85 years old, over half of adults fall at least once per year. Now, if we consider that the most important risk factor is a previous history of falls, imagine the likelihood of falls among those above 85.

In many cases, physical balance is key to avoiding falling among seniors. Yet it is a complex sensory system that combines information from your eyes, ears, muscles, joints and skin.

For that reason, reducing the risk of falls among older adults requires focusing on the small things, like posture and being aware of how you move. Exercise and regular walks will also help with balance and mobility.

If you suspect a senior loved one is at risk of falling, it may be time to seek professional care. Whether it’s a minor incident or a fall caused by an underlying condition, immediate care is essential.