Shawn Weiss talks about fall prevention during the pandemic. Shawn is a member of the Ohio Falls Coalition and Ohio Injury Prevention Partnership, has been a physical therapist for 23 years, and is published in Fall Prevention for Residents with Cognitive Deficits residing in Assisted Living Facilities. She talks about why there has been a rising number of falls and fall-related injuries in the aging population during the COVID-19 pandemic, how we can help senior loved ones whose health may have declined during the pandemic, and provides some community resources to seek out.
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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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We are here with Dr Sean twiss and see is talking about all different types of topics about seniors health and wellness and we have talked. First we talked a lot about summer safety and then we moved into, you know, the whole world of caregivers and if you’re not taking care of yourself. But I think this third segment is so important because we’re really going to dive into mobility and falls and I think you know what these this is something, Sean that I think about. I talk to families all the time that say I’m just going to move mom and dad into my house and I think that’s great to a certain green but there’s this little red flag that goes off on the back of my mind going, you know, the light, flashing, red light that goes which you’re what’s your house like? What are the things in you know, in your environment are is there some that you know how safe are there? What’s the bathroom like, which is a huge piece of it, and so I am so glad you’re going to take on this topic. So I guess the thing that I’m saying it is that I can only imagine, since the pandemic, that this is a bigger issue and more than ever because we’ve been so sedentary for so long. Is that right? Absolutely correct, and what we’re seeing. It was already considered a nationalmost epidemic proportions, but now it’s covid nineteen and the isolation, the stay at home orders, the lockdowns, people couldn’t access medical care and just the activity and the you know, the behavior of kind of being more sedentary has all kinds of increases in weakness, decrease balance. If you’ve seen a significant right and falls and fall related hospitalization over the last year and half with those over sixty five, and it’s really important. One thing that we do stressed is that, you know, falls is not a normal part of aging, and that’s the first thing to hear, like Oh, it’s I’m just a yeah. And and also we deal with the fact that the silent you know, we say the silent fault because, you know, they say over half of alls are not recorded simply because, we’ve hear they don’t want to let their son know, or their daughter no, or their granddaughter no, or Ma because they don’t want to have to move out of their home. So couple that with the pandemic and we really have a problem on our hands right now and it’s kind of a national movement. In for instance, in a couple weeks from speaking an O hio false coalition, we’re doing a big virtual seminar that’s free to the public on a whole day’s worth of faults and falls prevention and wellness topics. So it’s incredibly important right now that we are checking on our seniors and starting to promote activity increases, even if it has to be in their own home. And there’s many things that we can do. And you know, as an agency HOMEHOUSE agency owner for eighteen years, one of the first things we look at when we go into a home is the environment. Sure, and we want to infest the environment utilize your home care services, especially, like you said, maybe grandma’s had to move in over the last year and a half, or maybe mom or dad has had to move in. Well, that’s a whole new environment and that’s a transition to it in and of itself. And you see these execulative for they am oh he commitment. You have to really do a good environmental check. That’s one of the number thing. One things we recommend is having somebody to do that, and there’s a lot of you know easd your are aging area, aging on area. Aging Office will send people out to do that. Mom healthy to do also with some therapists out to assess your home. And there’s many things you need to look for, not just rugs and cords, but the bathroom. That’s where most faults happen in the home, and most faults in the home happen in the bathroom. So checking for safety. Do we need grab bars? We need to pull up all the rugs? Do we need to change this seating situation? Do we need to move things in the kitchen to a better height so that we’re not bending and stooping or reaching on our tippy toes to get things in and out of the cupboards? There’s many, many things that were looking at. Vision. Yeah, but we’re well, if you know, we get a lot of well, we’re just going to move marm or Dab you, and it’s like one of the things that I warn people up. It’s like your I is by doing that you it’s a huge commitment, but it’s also couldn’t mean a major transformation of your home, because you have to realize your bathroom may not accommodate a wheelchair exactly, or a walker or a walker, you know, you may have a floor that’s slippery or bathtubs that they have to crawl in a them out of, which is a huge is. You know, a bathroom is, you know, pretty much a no brainer that you’re going to have to Redo that. So there’s a lot of different factors that people have to think about when they’re moving a loved one in with them and and it’s not that you don’t want them there. You could come get them once a week, but sometimes they’re better in an environment is their own home is not supporting them anymore to to move into. Maybe it’s not a full assisted living situation, but it might be a wonderful adult family home that’s kind of a bridge, which is a smaller environment. Those are there’s different types of options that for loved one and every senior is different. It’s absolutely as unique as anything. Nobody’s trying to pigeon hole anybody and that’s the thing I think that’s so important and I think the number one reason is that you want increased supervision and, depending on a know, if your loved one has any type of dimension diagnosis or especially if they’ve had a decline in their cognition during the pandemic, you want to you know, your number one thing is safety and maybe you’ve chosen to move mom and dad and which is, you know, maybe the right thing to do. So you’ve have increased supervision for those who are living alone or and assisted living where you have more opportunity, the more sets of eyes. But if you are in your own home, or maybe monster living a mom and dad are living alone, utilize homehouse as a way to have professionals come in assess their strength, assess their balance, provide you with guidance on the environment and how to set it up appropriately, tell you which type of adaptive equipment needs you need to be addressing, whether that’s a shower bench or a tub bench or an elevated toilet seat or hey, we’re taken out the rugs, and I tell you, that’s the one of the hardest things, if you want to pick a topic that we see a home help with our especially our women over sixty five years of age. You know, the rug matches the shower curtain that matches the towels and I’m just not going to roll that up regardless. So my mother had a really over night. Like mom, and I know everybody listening it knows exactly what I’m talking about. How we just roll it up right before you take a bath or shower, you know, and then we can have everything match. You know, those are the type of things we look at with falls. Another thing know, not just the environment but other important things in you. This is a therapist coming out of me and I reckuld just go on and talk about two hours on this topic. But we want to see you know I we started getting your vision checked again since you know we’re able to get out to the position or maybe you’re doing telehealth visit. Still. That is huge. Visions plays a huge role in fall risk. And do you need a new prescription? Are we looking at foot? Where does mom or dad need to we have a Duma? Do they need a change? And Foot where? Maybe they’re maybe they had shoes, they had a demon now the demas on and issues are slipping and they’re too big. They we need to make sure grandma’s not wearing her two inch platformed to go out to church when there’s not a need for that. And these things are not as easy to change as you might think. You know there’s a lot of resistance to some of these changes. But the most important thing is that we want to prevent a fall and we want to prevent a hip fracture and we most importantly, want to prevent having to go to hospital well, and I think that’s the other reason why you bring in a professional, because mom or dad are going to be resistant is you’re the daughter of the sun and you need to stay the daughter in the sun. You don’t need to seven into this control thing. But bringing in, you know, someone from the outside, such as a Homhouse, which Medicare pays for it, to do an assessment of the home. I think one of the things that’s really important about that is that that professional can help guide your senior loved one in a really good way where you don’t have to be in the middle of the fray. And I know for me I learned that, you know, really, really carefully. My mom had dementia at which was really too you know, she would talk in circle sometimes. But the thing that was really important was I learned never corrector don’t try to, you know, change anything. Let the professionals do their job, and I think that’s really an important piece of all of this. Don’t you agree? I agree. And the education piece is huge. Sometimes, as you know, homehealth therapist, my biggest contribution was not just getting, you know, my patient to do the exercises, but educating all the other caregivers for when I’m not there. Even home help coming in three days a week. But what’s happening the rest of the time. Our job is the set our patients up for success, on the family’s up for success. So sitting as setting a simple home program that can be supervised with the days that I’m not there. Those types of things are so easy to do by having a professional come in, even if it’s only for a few sessions, to take a look and give you peace of mind. And again, those little things help unnecessary trips to the doctor. They helping prevent hospitalizations and nobody wants to have to go to hospital right now, you know, for a risk of exposure. So yes, it’s important that we want you to age in place and we want to stay safe in place. And a couple of the things I’m going to throw up there before we close up this hours is is lighting is huge. How often, how often to mom or dad get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and they’re don’t have proper lighting to get them into the bathroom? That is a big factor. And I know that there’s smart technologies out there as well that we’ve talked and covered that. You know. They’re different types of maps and things like that that can help you know, in alert system, which I think that we can talk about. And then third let’s talk you know, Sean, I’d love to in another segment, talk about outdoor safety because there’s all kinds of seniors right now that have gardens that they’ve nurtured for decades or things like that in their home. So we can love to cover those things as well in another topic some day, and we certainly will do that, but in the meantime we’re really excited. I guess right now we’re going to come back to the next segment and we’re going to talk to just zero in a little bit more about the Delta variant, what’s happening, because I think this is really important and Sean will be right back right I think this
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Originally published August 08, 2021