This segment with Dr. Shawn Weiss focuses on how to prevent falls. Fall prevention can be broken down into intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Extrinsic, or environmental, factors involve furniture placement, bed height, seat heights, lighting, rugs, power cords, general clutter in pathways, and so forth. Also, the potential tripping hazards of footwear and clothing. Do you notice whether you or your loved ones have started holding furniture for support while walking? Before winter is a good time to check porches and steps, and consider whether handrails are needed. Intrinsic factors includes medical diagnoses and conditions like COPD, Parkinsons, arthritis, pneumonia, or COVID, which can affect a person’s movements and fall risk. Also, some medications can affect movement.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
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And welcome everyone to the answers for alders podcast network and we are delighted this week because we have a very special guest for each and every one of you, Seawan Weiss, who is the and I would say doctor Seawan ice. Now remind me the name of your organization, this senior wellness network. Is that in your senior health and wellness group? And on this and I knew there was in select home care as my agency. So and and and Sean, tell us a little bit about what your organization does before we get into our topic. Will from the left home care side. I’ve owned and operated a skilled home care agency for eighteen years. So we are providing services to seniors, nursing, physical occupational therapy, speech therapy, social workers, which is really important right now, as well as eight services. So that’s something that we’ve been doing for eighteen years. The senior helmet health and wellness group is as where I use for my consultations, my education and training and my seminars. We were reaching out to senior communities to educate them on a variety of things. So all throughout the country, and that’s the thing that’s really powerful, and even though you’re based in the lovely state of Ohio, you have a far reaching base to educate, you know, professionals, families, etc. Across the US and we’re very excited to have you here and especially because of your background. You are an amazing physical therapist and something that I’ve known a long time. Yes, we’ve been definitely a powerful voice in the elder care world and taking care of seniors. And for those of you that are listening, you may have a loved one that may you may pick concern. Maybe they’ve had to fall, maybe they’re you know, their house is a little bit cluttered or, you know, you’re concerned about certain things. Of if they’re still living at home, this program this podcast, is absolutely for you because we’re going to talk a little bit about how to prevent falls with Dr Sean. I’m going to say that for you again. Welcome back to the PODCAST network. We’re glad you’re back. Well, thanks for having me again. I you know, I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to get to share information and educate. It’s one of my passions, right. So, you know, faull prevention is such a broad category. So how can we first of all, you know what are the things that families need to look for? Well, today then, whether you’re driving the car right now, whether you’re sitting in your living room listening to the PODCAST, the goal is when we’re done here, you’re going to be able to take away some stuff to immediately apply, because really fall prevention can be broken down into two areas and if you know what are in those areas, it makes it really easy to organize and whether you’re worried about yourself being at risk, are possibly a parent, maybe a grandparent, you will have the tools to do that. So we break down fall prevention in the therapy world into two areas, and that is extrinsic factors and intrinsic factors, and everything can be put down into one of those categories and if you kind of think about those and break it down that way, makes it so much simpler to think about your loved one or your house or where the risk are and go make a positive change. Absolutely, absolutely so. When you talk about extrinsic and interest to what specifically do those categories mean? Well, entry actual will start with extrinsic factors. Those are the ones that are easiest to make a difference with. They’re the ones that you can make something. You can make a difference in one in one day. So our extrinsic factors are our environmental factors. So these are the things that you’re looking inside the home, you’re looking outside the home. What things are creating a risk for you or your loved one inside the home? And those, those conclude many things. I mean it accounts for fifty percent plus of the falls. We’re looking at furniture, furniture placement in the home. That’s a big one. We see a lot of issues with bed height, especially in the therapy world. Somebody getting down in and out of bed. Is the bed too high? Are they trying to use a step stores at too low and they just can’t get themselves up? We see that quite often. Lighting, and I think we’ve talked about this before and or other one. Lighting is very big, not just inside the House, where we might recommend night lights or motion lights for good and up and going to the bathroom, but throughout all the areas that you access in the house. And then don’t forget about the external lights. especially with when are coming up, let’s replace the lights at all the entrances to the house. Make sure everything, your pathways are fully lit. But I think number of dark houses we’ve been into just makes it so much harder. Yeah, and I think when when our listeners are visiting a senior loved ones home or look around your own home, pay attention? Are you grabbing onto furniture to get from one place to another? It’s so funny because my husband made a comment to me let this morning, because you know, when you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you always hang onto the chair to get yourself around the Bendit. Youre grab and Susan and I go, oh my gosh, so I really do that. But I started thinking about you’re right, because it’s dark. Yeah, I don’t necessarily trust the fact that I’m going to see. So yes, I do grab for things like that when it’s dark. And when you’re talking about lighting, you know dark can be variable and if a seeker has any sort of macular degeneration, and can yea anything like that, that will affect that’s the intrinsic. We can talk about that, but that the macular degeneration. It may be normal lighting for you and me. We can probably sit down and read something or whatever. You may need it brighter. Is that true? That’s absolutely true. I mean, because you will see all kinds of visual decline or visual deficits, whether it’s maco degeneration or what have you. But and it things like seeing your medications appropriately. is a lighting in a kitchen right? I mean you have to really think about that in terms of the living environment, like not just what you and I might feel comfortable with, but you have to make sure that you have the brighter white light bulbs, Brighter Watt Light Bulbs, might lights, motion lights, or at least a light in the bathroom that doesn’t disturb your sleep but lights up the bathroom path. We look at all those things, of course. You know, while we’re continuing with extrinsic factors in our biggest ones are the you know, the therapist or the rugs. I mean it’s a love hate real rug with the rugs, you know, the the rugs match the towels that match the shower curtain, that match the toilet seat cover and they’re just not going to give it up and and it’s so true and it happens all the time. But so we try to make recommendations were possibly, but let’s just roll this rug up, let’s keep it to the side. You might need a shower Matt when you’re coming in out of shower, but especially if you have an assisted device. We want to get up those throw those strowbugs, unless they’re really, really secure with good backing and you can buy backing tapes or your rugs so that they’re not a tripping hazard for canes, walkers or even if you’re not using an assisted device. So that’s a big area. We also look in at cords, lamp cords, computer charging chords, you know, making sure that that’s out of your path and that in general, you’re wanting to look for a clear pathway to all the areas that you access in the home. You know, if do from the living room to the kitchen, from the kitchen to the bedroom, to the bathroom, to the to the gradge door, ex to the front door it do you have clutter and dcluttering and clearing your pathway makes a huge difference. So we always hit that on our safety assessments in the home is looking at pathway clutter first, then starting to look room to room, like we said, lighting bed height, seat heights. What areas do you sit in all day long? Well, maybe you have a favorite recliner and it rocks and you’ve been falling and it’s just too low. But there may be some other really great seating surfaces in your house, maybe a dining chair or a high back chair with arms that we can make some adjustments to or lift you, put some things on risers that you can go in that sofas and beds. And I think also some of the things that you’re saying, which is really important with all of this, is the fact that you know, even when you’re sitting, it’s the position where you’re sitting in can cause you like back pain or extra muscular pain if you’re not sitting in the right you know, situate position right. If you’re sitting too low, it’s putting more string right on your lower back area because you’re having to lean forward and compensate. I mean so those are things again, where your external can really support you being more healthy moving forward. I’m I’m assuming that I’m your environment plays a huge role falls as well. Yeah, your environment plays a huge role. May If you have our greatest do you have any other predisposing factors where if you’re sitting in a low deep sofa and it’s just going to get harder and harder to get out of? So they come in to make those types of recommendations. Also really really important is footwear, including those are things that are easily adjusted. Maybe you had some issues with swelling or a edema and you had your shoes are now not fitting properly for the inside of the House, or maybe your pants legs are kind of dragging the floor a little bit because maybe you lost weight or gain weight or this. Some of these are not fitting the same. So look for that with yourself or your parents, your grandparents, to see other pants hanging on the ground. You See. I believe you would be surprised how often that happens. And it is a trip and hazard really is. Looking here to see if we’ve missed anything. On the EXTRINSIC factors, really anything in the house, but seating is one of the bigger things. That height lighting, and I’m just going to add a copy to make things as with. Yeah, extra things about external is lighting from the car to the front door a big factor, and also hand rails things like that to get in and out of the house. If there’s no ramp things like that, it gets harder and harder to go up and down, you know, porch step or things like that. The other thing is obviously decks and porches, especially they’ve been sitting dry and getting oily over the summer. They need to be obviously cleaned really well so that they’re not slippery. And that’s and now as the time to do that. And Yeah, you know we talked about that and our winner safety talk as well. But thus is the time to get out on all your external sidewalks, your steps, your porches, make sure your handers are secure, if you already have them or if you know you’re starting to have problems. Maybe you’ve had a recent surgery and you’re like, maybe it’s time to install that handrail before the weather turns served to bad. So let’s talk about intrinsic into internal. Yeah, intrinsic factors are a little bit harder to control, but certainly doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference Intrinsic Church all of all of your diagnosis, all of your medical conditions had put you at risk or play a factor. You might have diabetes, COPD, where you might be short, shorter breath, parkins disease, pain our Rightus, pneumonia, maybe you were in the hospital with pneumonia, certainly, and maybe you’ve had covid any of those types of infections are going to affect your body’s abilities. It can certainly contribute to fall risk. So not only your diagnosis and your medical conditions, your medical history. If you’ve, let’s for instance, Ay you have neuropathy, let’s say you’re diabetic and you have neuropathy, so you do not have the right your sensation, your ability to feel your feet on the floor is not going to be the same. So that puts you automatically in a chor risk. Sure. So then we look at medications, and medications will fall right along with the diagnosis into that category. Have you had a decent change of medication? Maybe you’re a Parkinson’s patient and you haven’t had your Cenmet or your medication change and quite a while time for a doctor’s visit. Right that you might be noticing your balance off, your gate pattern is off. So looking at how you know, somebody might have several Comorbidities, which are your diagnosis that remember, making you at a risk for folly. So you got to look at all of those things could be cognition is one of the top things we look at and certainly during this pandemic we have seen such a decline in cognitive impairment, especially for those who already had a diagnosis of some sort of cognitive impair it. The decline was pretty rapid during the last year. So that is a playing a significant role for families. Sure. Well, maybe you’re taking care of love the one. So you got to look at all of the above, but it’s very easy to break it down into both areas. Yeah, so in our next segment everyone we’re going to talk go a little bit more. Now it’s the season, right, and we’re preparing. Now is the time to prepare for the winter time. There’s a lot of things on our checklist to do and Dr Shawn wist will be right back. We would like to thank you for listening to this podcast by Dr Shaun Weiss, CEO of Senior Health and wellness group, focusing on wellness and prevention strategies for seniors. As a fall prevention specialist, do wise provides family support and education to keep your loved one safe. You can learn more by visiting her website at www dot health and wellness dot org.
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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne Newman found herself on a 6-year journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including Health & Wellness, Life Changes, Living Options, Money, Law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.
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