Our most recent Healthy Aging Day was held Friday, September 26 at the Mustard Seed Market & Cafe in Solon, Ohio. The event brought together Kendal at Home members, staff, and partners who spent the day discussing balance and falls prevention.
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you know falls represent a serious health risk to older adults. In Ohio, a person 65 or older is injured in a fall every 2 minutes on average, resulting in an emergency room visit every 8 minutes, two hospitalizations per hour, and three deaths per day, according to Steady U, an Ohio Department of Health initiative.
This Healthy Aging Day, members heard from Terri Lanham, Kendal at Home Care Coordinator, regarding simple balance exercises to help reduce their risk of falling; Michael Carlin, St. John Medical Center Director of Pharmacy, on reducing the risk of falls by way of careful medication management; and Mike Sherrill, Simplified Facilities Group Founder and President, on minimizing falling risks in the home.
For those who couldn’t join us, we share a summary of the information they presented below.
“Balance Basics” with Terri Lanham
Lanhambegan her presentation with a few simple questions: “How many people here have fallen in the last year?” she asked. “How many people are willing to give up 15 minutes a day to help prevent falls? All of your hands should be raised,” she prompted.
According to Lanham, performing a few simple balance exercises for just 15 minutes a day can improve balance over time. Lanham, along with Kendal at Home member Jody and Kendal at Home Director of Care Coordination Dave Zientarski, demonstrated just how quick and simple these exercises can be. Attendees were encouraged to perform the exercises with the trio.
To close her presentation, Lanham pointed attendees to a handout written by Jill Connone, Kendal at Oberlin Wellness Coordinator, reviewing the exercises they had learned. If you would like a copy of this handout, give us a call at 440-835-8681.
“Reducing the Risk of Falls, Medication Safety, Managing Your Symptoms and Side Effects” with Michael Carlin
A Kendal at Home Board Fellow, Carlin has more than 20 years of experience as a licensed pharmacist in various clinical and leadership roles. “What I can tell you as a pharmacist is that almost all medications contribute to falls,” he said. In addition, certain medications can increase the risk of a serious outcome should a fall occur. The more medications you’re taking, the higher your risk factors for falling.
Carlin said older adults can decrease their risk of falling through careful medication management, including:
- Taking medications as prescribed
- Only taking your own medication, never someone else’s
- Not taking medication with alcohol or consuming alcohol when on certain medications
- Educating yourself on the side effects of medication you are taking
- Keeping a complete updated list of medications you are taking and sharing the list with your healthcare professionals
Carlin emphasized you should never stop taking your medications without talking with your physician, even if a side effect of taking the medication is an increased risk of falling.
“Home Safety: Minimizing Risks” with Mike Sherrill
In 2009, Kendal at Home and Simplified Facilities Group created SFG Home Management, a unique program designed specifically to help Kendal at Home members manage and maintain their homes in order to keep them safe and independent. At Healthy Aging Day, Sherrill shared risk factors that contribute to falls in the home.
For many older adults, falls happen in the place they feel safest: the home. And while reducing your risk of falling sometimes means making physical adaptations to the home itself, most home falling hazards are easy to address. These include:
- Keeping floors clear of small objects like books, magazines, or newspapers; blankets; pet or children’s toys; and towels
- Coiling or taping electronic wires and cords (like lamp, telephone, or extension cords) down next to the wall
- Removing loose rugs or using non-slip backing to prevent rugs from slipping
- Shifting cramped furniture or other obstacles to create wide, clear pathways
- Adding lighting to poorly lit walkways or hallways
- Installing grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet in the bathroom
If you weren’t able to join us for our most recent Healthy Aging Day, don’t fear! We’ll be getting together again on Thursday, October 16 for our annual clambake where we will be administering flu shots to any interested members. If you have questions regarding the clambake, give us a call at 440-835-8681.
For more information on preventing falls in the home, download our helpful Fall Prevention Checklist!