The month of September is always a highlight no matter what year it’s in, and for several good reasons. The intense summer heat is starting to lessen, but the days of sunshine and pleasant temperatures are still aplenty. The long awaited football season finally begins, and the state of Wisconsin puts on their finest Green and Gold once a week to cheer on our Packers. And of course, September is the perfect excuse to visit your local apple orchard or sip on a pumpkin spice latte.
But we also must take this beautiful month to focus our attention on more serious topics, topics that impact the health and wellbeing of countless people in our society; those that are 65 and older. For us at Milwaukee Catholic Home, we are always thinking of ways to improve the lives of our beloved residents, and do whatever possible to keep them as safe, as happy, and as healthy as possible. This week in particular, we pay special attention to the topic of falls, as September 21-25, 2020 is National Fall Prevention Awareness week.
The drastic impacts of a fall cannot be overstated; this common and everyday accident can have serious and long lasting impacts, especially for the senior population. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, falls are the leading cause of injury and accidental death in seniors. The most common causes that can cause a serious stumble include everyday distractions, excessive clutter, and an individual’s poor balance.
Luckily, a few simple steps can greatly decrease a person’s likelihood to be injured. Here are some tips that can help older adults effectively risk their reduce of falls.
Remove clutter in the apartment, and walk carefully when there are potential hazards, such as throw rugs.
If something is out of reach-ask for help! Never stand on chairs or similar unreliable structures to get an object you can’t easily access.
Consider a nightlight in the bedroom or bathroom.
Stay active in order to maintain endurance, balance and strength. One of the best ways to do this at Milwaukee Catholic Home is to attend a Strength and Balance exercise class. This is offered for residents three times a week and improves an individual’s flexibility, overall fitness, and aerobic capacity.
Make sure your mind stays active too! One of the best ways to do this at Milwaukee Catholic Home is to participate in one of our Brain Fitness Programs, which focus on keeping one’s mind engaged, attentive and aware.
While it’s understandable that the threat of a fall can cause seniors to stop doing the activities they daily enjoy, fortunately, an occupational therapy practitioner can use your daily activities as a basis of therapy to help ensure that a resident of Milwaukee Catholic Home can still live a life that is fully engaged.
Here are some of the things an occupational therapist will do to prevent the risk of falls in a private residence of an older adult and their living community.
Give recommendations on how to arrange furniture in the apartment so that the resident can move freely.
Ensure items that are frequently accessed by the resident are easily accessible.
Give recommendations on installing crucial equipment such as railings, grab bars, or rubber matts in critical locations.
Increase an individual’s physical conditioning by focusing on their favorite activities.
September is the time of year to enjoy pleasant weather, cheer on our favorite team, and break out the fall sweaters and scarves. But it’s also the time of year to remind ourselves of our duty and our priviledge to keep the residents of Milwaukee Home safe and healthy. During National Fall Prevention Awareness week and every week of the year, the Milwaukee Catholic Home family makes it our mission to ensure that our residents are appropriately protected from falls.