Strength Training in Golden Years


The common perception of the elderly is that they become weak and fragile due to age induced muscle wasting.



It has been shown that resistance training can enhance muscle mass and function even in 90 year old subjects, and is the most effective way to maintain the quality of life as we age.
Anyone who has reviewed the literature on aging and exercise realizes that a tremendous amount of research has been conducted in this area and has shown that resistance training can be safely performed by the elderly if done correctly.

Precautions:
  • Make sure you pre-test and/or screen your subjects prior to starting your training.
  • Anyone over the age of 40 should go through a health screening before they initiate any exercise program to insure their safety and to identify any possible limitations (risks) they may have to exercise.
  • Depending on your initial fitness level, a slow approach is advised, especially if you have little or no lifting experience.


Training Program:

  • Should include Warm up (10 min), Strength Training (30 min) & Cool Down (15 min)
  • Lifting Stations, Lifting Circuit, and Rest Periods: Use a full body routine that exercises all the major muscles and alternates between the upper and lower body. Use 2 minutes of rest between stations.
  • Periodization Plan: Modify the workload & exercise intensity as it will reduce boredom & will keep your interest going.


Benefits of Strength Training:

  • Arthritis Relief: A recently completed study found that strength training decreased pain by 43%, increased muscle strength and general physical performance, improved the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease, and decreased disability, in osteoarthritic seniors. Strength training has shown to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis at an equal or higher level than medications.
  • Improved Glucose Control: Type II Diabetes is very common in elderly all over the globe. In addition to being at greater risk for heart and renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Fortunately, studies now show that lifestyle changes such as strength training have a profound impact on helping older adults manage their diabetes. In a recent study, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication.
  • Healthy Heart: Strength training is important for cardiac health because heart disease risk is lower when the body is leaner. American Heart Association to recommends strength training as a way to reduce risk of heart disease and as a therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs.
  • Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls: Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person’s flexibility and balance, which decrease the likelihood and severity of falls.
  • Strengthening of Bone: Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually. Results from a study, showed that strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures among women aged 50-70.
  • Weight Control: Strength training is crucial to weight control, because individuals who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. Muscle tissue consumes calories while stored fat uses very little energy. Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.
  • Healthy State of Mind: Strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications. When older adults participate in strength training programs, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life.
  • Sleep Improvement: People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. As with depression, the sleep benefits obtained as a result of strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.


The bottom line is that they are training for life and will need to continue this training for as long as they are able.


Also check out: Exercise Benefits in Senior Citizens
If you are presently are enjoying the benefits of strength training, we would love to hear from you!


DISCLAIMER: Consult your doctor before trying out Strength Training.
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Why should Senior Citizens Exercise?


Welcome to one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Exercise!-The fountain of youth!

For the most part, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it is not because they have aged. More likely, it is because they have become inactive.

The human body is made for movement, and this applies to senior citizens too.
As you grow older, leading an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Regular exercise can help boost your energy, maintain your independence, and manage the symptoms of any illness or pain. Exercise can even reverse some of the symptoms of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory.

No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways.

Don’t worry if you’ve never exercised, or if you stopped exercising for some reason. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. In addition, the right kind of regular exercise can reduce your chance of heart disease, diabetes, and falls.
You may have a hard time starting an exercise routine. Once you do start, though, you will begin to notice the benefits, including improved sleep and self-esteem.

What can Exercise do for Me?

Most people know that exercise is good for them. Somehow, though, older adults have been left out of the picture — until recently. Today a new picture is emerging from research: Older people of different physical conditions have much to gain from exercise and from staying physically active. They also have much to lose if they become physically inactive.

Exercise isn’t just for older adults in the younger age range, who live independently and are able to go on brisk jogs. Researchers have found that exercise and physical activity also can improve the health of people who are 90 or older, who are frail, or who have the diseases that seem to accompany aging. Staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people grow older. In some cases, it can improve health for older people who already have diseases and disabilities, if it’s done on a long-term, regular basis.

Physical Health benefits:

  • Helps maintain or lose weight: As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. When your body reaches a healthy weight, overall wellness improves. 
  • Reduces the impact of illness & chronic disease: Among the many benefits of exercise for seniors include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. Seniors who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer. 
  • Enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance: Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis. 

Mental Health Benefits:

  • Improves your sleep: Poor sleep is not an automatic consequence of aging and quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercise often improves sleep, helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. 
  • Boosts mood and self-confidence: Endorphins produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself. 
  • Exercise is good for the brain: Exercise benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Exercise may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

Not sure if you can Exercise

You may be reluctant to start exercising, even though you’ve heard that it’s one of the healthiest things you can do. You may be afraid that physical activity will harm you; or you might think you have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment in order to exercise. Or, you may feel embarrassed to exercise because you think it’s for younger people or for people who look great in gym clothes. You may think exercise is only for people who are able to do things like jogging.

In fact, just about every older adult can safely do some form of physical activity at little or no cost. And you don’t have to exercise in a public place or use expensive equipment, if you don’t want to.

Even household chores can improve your health. The key is to increase your physical activity, by exercising and by using your own muscle power.

Benefits Everyday Life:
The most rewarding part of beginning a fitness routine is noticing the difference it makes in the rest of your life. Even if you begin exercising with a few simple stretches while seated or a short walk around the block, you’ll notice an improvement in how you feel as you go about your day.

  • House cleaning, gardening, shopping, and errands. Want to feel less winded while vacuuming or rushing to and from appointments? Doing just 15 to 20 minutes of heart-healthy cardio each day, such as walking, biking, swimming, or water aerobics will help give you the stamina you need. 
  • Lifting grandchildren, carrying groceries, household chores. Building muscle mass a few times each week through weight lifting, resistance exercises, and nautilus machines will help give you more strength. 
  • Tying shoes, looking behind you while driving, navigating steps. Incorporating basic stretching—even while seated—into your fitness routine will make the most ordinary movements easier. 

Check with you doctor if you have…

  1. Chest pain 
  2. Irregular, rapid, or fluttery heart beat 
  3. Severe shortness of breath 
  4. Significant, ongoing weight loss that hasn’t been diagnosed 
  5. Infections, such as pneumonia, accompanied by fever 
  6. Fever, which can cause dehydration and a rapid heart beat 
  7. Acute deep-vein thrombosis (blood clot) 
  8. Hernia that is causing symptoms 
  9. Foot or ankle sores that won’t heal 
  10. Joint swelling 
  11. Persistent pain or a problem walking after you have fallen 
  12. Certain eye conditions, such as bleeding in the retina or detached retina. Before you exercise after a cataract or lens implant, or after laser treatment or other eye surgery, check with your physician. 


DISCLAIMER: Always talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Incontinence in Men


In childhood, girls usually develop bladder control at an earlier age than boys, and bedwetting is more common in boys. However, adult women are far more likely to experience urinary incontinence because of the anatomy of their urinary tract and the stresses caused by pregnancy and childbirth.




Nevertheless, men may experience urinary incontinence as a result of prostate problems, and both men and women can experience nerve damage that leads to urinary incontinence. Its prevalence increases with age, but it is not an inevitable part of aging.


Male incontinence is a medical problem. To find a treatment that addresses the root of the problem, you need to talk to your healthcare provider.


The body stores urine in the bladder. During urination, muscles in the bladder contract or tighten. This forces urine out of the bladder and into a tube called the urethra that carries urine out of the body. At the same time, muscles surrounding the urethra relax and let the urine pass through. Spinal nerves control how these muscles move.


Male incontinence occurs if the bladder muscles contract or the muscles surrounding the urethra relax without warning.


The 4 types of incontinence in men are:
  • Stress incontinence, caused by weak pelvic and sphincter muscles
  • Urge incontinence (Overactive bladder), caused by damaged or irritable nerves, in which the bladder squeezes at the wrong time
  • Overflow incontinence, that results when an individual is unable to empty the bladder
  • Temporary or Reversible incontinence, related to conditions, like: Urinary tract infection, Constipation, Delirium.

Cause of Incontinence
Nerve ProblemsAny disease, condition, or injury that damages nerves can lead to urination problems. Nerve problems can occur at any age.
  • Chronic diabetes may develop nerve damage that affects bladder control
  • Stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis affect the brain and nervous system-can lead to bladder emptying problems
  • A person with overactive bladder may have any two or all three of the following symptoms: urinary frequency, urinary urgency & urge incontinence
  • Spinal cord injury may affect bladder emptying by interrupting the nerve signals required for bladder control

Prostate ProblemsThe prostate is a male gland about the size and shape of a walnut. It surrounds the urethra below the bladder.

  • Benign Prostate Hypertrophy: The prostate gland commonly becomes enlarged as a man ages. As it enlarges, it can squeeze the urethra and affect the flow of urine. The commonest symptoms are-hesitant, interrupted, weak stream; urgency and leaking or dribbling; more frequent urination, especially at night; and urge incontinence.
  • Prostate removal: Is one treatment for prostate cancer. In some cases, the surgery may lead to erection problems and Urinary Incontinence.
  • Radiation: This procedure is another treatment method for prostate cancer. Treatment can result in either temporary or permanent bladder problems.

For the urinary system to do its job, muscles and nerves must work together to hold urine in the bladder, and then release it at the right time.


Today, many treatment options are available. Choice of treatment depends on:
  • The type of incontinence
  • The seriousness
  • Which is the best option for you
Different treatment options for male incontinence include:
  • Bladder training
  • Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or cutting out certain foods
  • Medications
  • Surgery
As a general rule, the simplest and safest treatments should be tried first.


Conservative Methods
Behavioral Treatments
For some men, avoiding incontinence is as simple as limiting fluids at certain times of the day or planning regular trips to the bathroom. As you gain control, you can extend the time between trips.
Bladder training also includes Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles, which help hold urine in the bladder. Many clinicians find them to be an important element in therapy for men.

No single treatment works for everyone. Treatment depends on type and severity of problem, lifestyle, and your preferences, starting with the simpler treatment options. Many men regain urinary control by changing a few habits and doing exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold urine in the bladder. If these behavioral treatments do not work, you may choose to try medicines or a continence device. For some men, surgery is the best choice.

If  you have or have been treated for urinary incontinence, we would like to know how conservative methods have helped live an active lifestyle.

Incontinence in Women


Urinary incontinence is the accidental leakage of urine.

Life’s events can weaken the pelvic muscles. Things such as pregnancy, childbirth, and being overweight can do it. One in three women who have ever had a baby wet themselves.

Pelvic floor muscles are just like other muscles. Exercise can make them stronger. Women with bladder control problems can regain control through pelvic muscle exercises, also called Kegel exercises.
Your hip bones are part of the pelvic area. At the bottom of the pelvis, several layers of muscle stretch between your legs. The muscles attach to the front, back, and sides of the pelvis bone.
Two pelvic muscles do most of the work. The biggest one stretches like a hammock. The other is shaped like a triangle. These muscles prevent the leaking of urine and stool. Bladder control exercises strengthen the muscles that hold the bladder and many other organs in place.
Finding the Right Muscles
This is very important!
For bladder control exercises, you should tighten the two major muscles that stretch across your pelvic floor. They are the “hammock” muscle, and the “triangle” muscle. Here are three methods to check for the correct muscles:
  • Try to stop the flow of urine when you are sitting on the toilet. If you can do it, you are using the right muscles.
  • Imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas. Squeeze the muscles you would use. If you sense a “pulling” feeling, those are the right muscles for pelvic exercises. 
  • Lie down and put your finger inside your vagina. Squeeze as if you were trying to stop urine from coming out. If you feel tightness on your finger, you are squeezing the right pelvic muscle.

Pelvic Floor Muscle (Kegel) Exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the bladder and close the sphincters. The general approach for practicing incontinence exercises is as follows:
Begin with empty bladder.
Start with gravity assisted positioning-Hips higher than the heart
Supported Bridge
Elbows/knees Position

CONTRACT-RELAX TECHNIQUE: Tighten the pelvic floor muscles as if attempting to stop urine flow or hold back gas. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds and relax for same length of time. Repeat 10 times. Breathe normally.
QUICK CONTRACTIONS:Repeat contractions of pelvic floor muscles while maintaining a normal breathing rate and keeping accessory muscles relaxed. Try 15 to 20 repetitions per set with coughing and sneezing.
ELEVATOR EXERCISES: Imagine riding in an elevator. As the elevator goes up from one floor to next,contracts the pelvic floor muscles a little more. As strength and awareness improves, add more floors to the sequence of the contraction. Relax the muscles as if descending one floor at a time.

Remember!!
  • Performing Kegels with a full bladder can cause urinary tract infections & can further weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Don’t squeeze other muscles at the same time. Be careful not to tighten your stomach, legs, or other muscles. Squeezing the wrong muscles can put more pressure on your bladder control muscles. Just squeeze the pelvic muscle.
  • Breathe normally.

You can exercise while lying on the floor, sitting at a desk, or standing in the kitchen. Using all three positions makes the muscles strongest. As working against gravity is like adding more weight.


How to Protect the Pelvic Muscles
You can protect your pelvic muscles from more damage by bracing yourself.
Think ahead, just before sneezing, lifting, or jumping. Sudden pressure from such actions can hurt those pelvic muscles. Squeeze your pelvic muscles tightly and hold on until after you sneeze, lift, or jump.
After you train yourself to tighten the pelvic muscles for these moments, you will most likely have fewer accidents.
Be patient. Don’t give up. It’s just 5 minutes, three times a day. You may not feel your bladder control improve until after 3 to 6 weeks. Still, most women who do bladder control exercises notice an improvement after a few weeks.

Urinary Incontinence should not cause embarrassment. It is a medical problem, like arthritis and diabetes. There is a solution!


Looking for an Evidence? Here it is:
http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2012/muscleuipr.htm

Living Active at 60+


“What is Age?”

 

“Just a number!”
It doesn’t matter whether you are 17 or seventy, if you decide to be happy, healthy and enjoy life!
Bright examples of the likes of Pandit Ravishankar who, at the grand old age of 90 is still playing his Sitar so magnificently that his concerts are drawing capacity crowds. Let’s not forget the biggest star of Bollywood Amitabh Bachan who is still acting, even at the age of 60! Lata Mangeshkar is still belting out hit songs, while Gulzaar is still writing beautiful and soul touching poetry along with hit scripts!
Still we see that people have wrong assumptions about the old, when instead ‘Life begins after 40….’. We see ads talking about anti-ageing properties of creams, we see celebrities who go to extreme measures to look young. Everywhere you see there is an obsession of not aging and looking younger. While being young is celebrated, old age is something we feel we need to hide.
The obvious reason why we would all like to defy ageing and remain young is because getting old has been associated with illness, ailments, dependency and a general deterioration in quality of our life.
But we fail to note that old age is not cause of all these; it is ill health that is to be blamed.
So, how do you AGE HEALTHY?Quite Simply … By Being ACTIVE!
Being physically active reduces the onset of many chronic diseases and reduces the physical decline in the elderly.

Benefits of staying Active in Old Age:
  1. Reduced Loss of Muscle Mass: As we grow older, our muscle mass reduces thus we experience reduced strength. But regular exercise can improve circulation and reduce loss of muscle mass.
  2. Prevent Falls: When we are active, we move constantly thus strengthen the joints while improving flexibility, which prevents them from falls or other accidents.
  3. Strengthen Bones: Regular weight bearing exercises- walking maintains bone strength and protects against fractures.
  4. Reduced Risk: For ailments- Blood pressure, Coronary heart disease and delay onset of Diabetes.
  5. Reduced Osteoarthritis Pain: Because of improved blood circulation and greater bone health, you would feel reduced osteoarthritis pain.
  6. Social and Emotional Benefits: Those who are active, feel better about themselves, remain happy, are more sociable because they can go out and visit others, they can sleep better.

Those who are active can maintain their balance, have control over their weight, can move around independently and are able to lift, pull and push things easily. Thus those who are active live a more happy, healthy and fulfilled life.

 
Avoid Smoking:
We have all heard about the health hazards caused due to smoking, but still many senior citizens continue to smoke. Studies suggest that smoking not only contributes to the fine wrinkles on your face but is also harmful to the health of your heart.

Regular Medical Check Ups:
Senior citizens should very importantly get regular checkups done. This is the best way to prevent chronic medical problems. Regular checkups help to fix whatever problem you have before they get worse.

Keep Busy? How?
Positive attitude helps to keep you healthy. Being positive and thinking about all the good things in your life even when things are not going right helps to remain calm and relaxed. A relaxed mind and a positive approach help to improve your immunity and gain good health.

How to Stay Active?
There are plenty of benefits of staying active in our senior years, but does that mean you have to buy expensive equipment or join gym to do so?– Definitely not.
Doctors believe that any kind of moderate exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, gardening, cycling are excellent to maintain a good fitness levels and also stay fit.
What about being Mentally Active?
According to Help Age International which in an organization working for elderly, “Most people’s mental abilities (memory, learning, creativity, intelligence) remain unchanged as they grow older, especially if they remain mentally active and involved (listening, talking, advising, reading, telling stories).”
Thus unlike what we think, old age is not about weak cognitive and memory, if we remain active and keep ourselves busy, we can definitely keep our wits about us. Further, research also shows that human brain can adapt and grow even in old age. The decline in mental abilities in old age is more because of degenerative diseases rather than old age. The other age related losses like poor memory and cognition is more due to mental inactivity rather than old age per se.
How to stay mentally active?
In old age, more activity equals to better health so like physical activity, more mental activity means increased connections between nerve cells.
A study conducted on 2000 seniors over the age of 65 who engage in exercising, reading and indulging in conversation had 38% less chance of suffering from Alzheimer’sSo, play games (Sudoku, puzzles, board games, card games), read interesting books or magazines, indulge in stimulating conversations, also socializing is also a good way of staying alert mentally.
Exercise: Exercise is the best way to remain healthy and fit at any age. Exercise in form of walking, jogging or even simple stretches can be very beneficial. Exercising, not only helps in preventing many diseases but also in fighting ageing process.
It is rightly said,
‘If you do not use your body, you will lose it.’
Exercise can also improve gait, balance, coordination, reaction time, and muscle strength—even in very old and frail elderly people. It also proves that current physical activity protects against hip fracture, reducing the risk by up to 50. Thus, people who regularly exercise are less likely to fall.


Group Walks: Walking is good, whether the outcome measurement is blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems or mental health.
For people in their 60s, regular walking appears to lower the risk of dementia. Walking helps stave off dementia as it improves cerebral blood flow & lowers risk of vascular disease.
Sitting is bad for cholesterol. Its bad for your back & muscles.
Story teller: Old parents make great storytellers. If your grandkids are too young, then you can tell stories to your grandkids very often or every day. And you can help your grandchildren in their studies.
Reading:
“Books are a man’s best friend” 
is a famous old adage and is very true. Many people like to read mythological books in old age. So next time you pass by a book stall, remember to buy one.
Laughter Club: You can also become a member of the laughter club as we all know that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter raises the serotonin levels in the brain and offers a ‘feel good’ factor. Exercising regularly will not only keep you active but will also decrease your risk of injury and age related diseases.
Kirtans: If you are devotional then go to kirtans and bhajans regularly. Going to kirtans and bhajans will not only keep you engaged but will also help in making new friends of the same age group, which is quite important as it helps you socialize.
Hobby: If you loved doing something but couldn’t do it because of work responsibilities and family then old age is the time right time for you to nurture your hobby. For instance, gardening, painting, writing etc.
Doing plenty of mentally-stimulating activities – such as playing chess, reading a newspaper, or attending a play – in old age helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Going out: Sitting home can be really boring for old people. Go for a stroll in the evening, meet friends. You can also go for plays, picnics etc with your friends.
Volunteer: Many people after retirement join some NGO and volunteer in many activities. If you are really interested in volunteering, join a NGO.

Factors like depression affect your health as you age; hence it is necessary to keep your mind busy and entertained by pursuing a hobby, solving crosswords or Sudoku. Solving puzzles stimulates your brain, improves memory and offers clarity of mind both short term and long term.
You can also learn new things that you enjoy as there is no age to learning, or you can volunteer to share your talents with others.
Working out your brain prevents depression and frustration and offers mental peace and good health.
Growing old is a natural process that we all are approaching little by little each day. By implementing the above mentioned tips in your day to day life will keep your body and mind fit, and help you to age gracefully.
“Be Active, Live Longer and Healthier!”

Preventing Falls in Senior Citizens



“Have you ever Slipped, Tripped or Fallen?”

Falls are one of the main causes of injury in people over age 65.


As we get older, we’re not as steady on our feet as we once were. On top of that, we may have health problems we did not have when we were younger. So, it’s not surprising that as we grow older we are more likely to trip and fall.


Also, after a fall, you are more likely to have problems that don’t go away.


Falling can be very serious. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your own risk of falling.
Fall prevention may not seem like a lively topic, but it’s important.

“Why do we Fall?”



A cumulative of varied reasons can cause falls. Some of the commonest are:

    Progressive Age
Lack of Balance
Reduced Activity in the Day
Arthritis
    Osteoporosis
      Reduced Vision and Hearing


















































        It’snormal to be scared of falling, especially if you have fallen before. But being afraid can actually make you more likely to fall.


        This is because:

        • Fear might cause you to become less active. Being less active can lead to a loss of strength and balance.
        • Fear can lead to isolation from others, depression, or the use of more medications or alcohol. And all these things make falling even more likely.
        “Is the Fear of Falling controlling your every action?”
        As mentioned earlier, falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. Still, fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life.
        About one-half of all falls suffered take place within familiar surroundings like-
        • Bedroom
        • Bathroom
        • Living room
        • On the stairs;

        occurring during day-to-day activities like-

        • Walking
        • Getting up from bed, chairs, or toilet
        • Going up and down stairs
        • Reaching or bending to place or retrieve objects; etc.

        Unfortunately, you only become aware of potential fall hazards in your home (e.g. low lighting, slippery floors and rugs, clutter, etc.) after experiencing a fall yourselves.

        Potential fall hazards in the home are easy to overlook but easy to fix too.
        Most of these slips and falls can be prevented if proper care is taken. And as you take control, you may find yourself feeling less afraid.

        “The Fall Prevention Plan”

        The first step in your Fall Prevention Plan is to:

        Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss…
        What medications are you taking?
        1. Make a list of your prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements, or bring them with you to the appointment.
        2. Your doctor can review your medications for side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling— checking for any that can make you dizzy or tired/ such as sedatives and some types of antidepressants.

        Have you fallen before?

        1. Write down the details, including when, where and how you fell.
        2. Be prepared to discuss instances when you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time.
        3. Details such as these will help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.

        Could your health conditions cause a fall?

        1. Certain eye (Cataract) and ear (Wax) disorders may increase your risk of falls.
        2. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, numbness or shortness of breath when you walk?
        3. Your doctor may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.

        Also…
        Get regular Eye & Ear Check Ups done

        1. Make sure to get your eyes checked annually and wear appropriate eyewear for reading and regular purpose.
        2. Schedule regular vision and hearing exams — then follow your doctor’s advice about glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and other corrective devices.
        3. To prevent further damage, wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors and use earplugs when you’re around loud machinery or other loud noises.

        Now lets take a look around your home & identify Fall Hazards & How to Modify & Prevent Slips & Falls.

        In the Living Room

        Clutter:
        Clutter hinders movement, and makes you fall.



        Clear Clutter:
        • Clear all unwanted things on the floor.
        • Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walking areas.
        • Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plants from high movement areas.
        • Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.



        Keep away:
        • Carpets and mats on the floor that are loose, having bulges and with curled ends need to be taken care of or replaced.
        • Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home.
        • Consider either buying new rugs with non-slip backing.
         Your Bedroom

        • Store clothing and other necessities within easy reach.
        • Move items from higher shelves to lower ones.
        • Keep a light within reach of the bed.
        • Also keep a flashlight & telephone along with a list of all emergency numbers on the bedside table.
        • The height of the bed should be enough to allow you to rest your feet on the floor.




        Your Bathroom

        The commonest area where you hear people slip or fall is the bathroom.

        Difficulty walking to the bathroom at night?

        • Install nightlights in the bedroom/bathroom
        • Keep a clear path from the bedroom to the bathroom

        Grab these!

        • Grab bars are the rods that provide support.
        • Fix these around the bathroom. Get professional help installing grab bars.
        • They can be unsafe if not installed the right way.

        Difficulty getting up from toilets?

        • Consider an elevated toilet seat.
        • A raised toilet seat or one with armrests.
        • Install Grab bars to help sit down and get up.





        Difficulty bathing?
        Preparation for Showering

        • The floor should always be kept dry so that no one slips over and is badly injured.
        • Use a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down.
        • Bath towels should be placed in easy-to-reach locations as should soaps, shampoos, body scrubbers, sponges and other bathroom accessories used regularly.
        • The shower chair itself should also be positioned close to the shower or bath, ready to use.
        • If you’re an elderly person living alone, it will be sensible to phone a family member or friend before showering. This will make someone aware of what you’re doing and thus able to phone you back half-an-hour to hour later (depending on your choice of time) to make sure you completed the shower safely and without incident.
        • Also never lock the door while having a shower or using the bathroom.

        Secure the chair in place

        • Use a sturdy plastic tub/shower chair. Make sure it is on a flat surface, secure and does not wobble.
        • There are a few different types of shower chair for elderly people and these vary in regards to whether they fit in a bath, shower cubicle or both.
        • Place the chair in the bath or shower stall and lock any wheels if applicable. Try to slide the shower chair around. It should not move at all if the rubber-tipped legs are doing their job properly. Finally, make any final adjustments such as the height of the seat and the width of the arm span.

        Entering and Exiting the Shower

        • The most dangerous and exhausting aspect of showering is when you’re getting into and out of the shower.
        • It’s important to transfer into and out of the shower slowly and carefully.
        • When showering is complete, the primarily focus should be on drying yourself off as quickly as possible and moving to a warmer and drier location.
        • If possible, it is generally sensible to towel dry in the shower before exiting the stall or bath.
        • This will mean your hands and body will have better grip for holding onto handrails and handles.
        • That said, it is important, once again, to not rush and thereby risk injury. In many ways, taking things slowly and carefully is the fastest way to accomplish a task.
        • Added Safety Features

        Chairs also come with handles and foot rests, plus a whole host of possible additions depending on one’s requirements.
        Afterwards

        • Good hygiene is a vital ingredient in bathroom furniture. Make sure the chair is washed thoroughly after each use. Rinse it in the shower and wipe it down as you would other bathroom fixtures. Leave it to dry and then store it in a storage area or leave it next to the shower ready for use again.
        • Use grab bars to help get in and out. Towel bars are not designed to be used as grab bars.
        • Use non- skid bath mats that have grip and place them on the bathroom floor and near the bathroom door.
        • Take care near soapy water.

        The Kitchen

        • Consider keeping items at waist level or maximum till shoulder height to avoid excessive bending, stooping or reaching.
        • If sink is too high, stand on an anti slip mat wit your feet apart to wash vessels. This avoids ending over the sink while washing vessels. (As reduces your height compared to the platform height)
        • If you must use a step stool, get one with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair as a step stool.


        • Store wash cloths, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.
        • Use accessories such as corner shelves or racks which can be hung on rods. Another economical way is to use ‘S’ hooks to hang pans & other utensils.










        Lighting


        • Make it a rule to not move in an area if it is not properly lit. There might be objects strewn that can cause you to fall, especially if children are around.
        • Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.
        • Install extra lighting along the pathway from bedroom to bathroom OR you caninstall night lights in your room which are within reach so that you can use it to go to the bathroom at night.
        • Add night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
        • Make clear paths to light switches that aren’t near room entrances. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.
        • Put flashlights in each room in easy to find places. Get fused bulbs replaced.
        • During the day, open curtains/shades to let more sunlight in.
        • Get glowing light switches for room entrances.
        • Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
        • Put light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.

         Staircases

        Hazard: Inadequate step/stairway lighting , Step/stairway clutter

        Solutions:
        • Add hand rails to all steps/stairs, if possible. Using hand rails to go up and down steps/stairs is easier and safer. Have them extend beyond the bottom step.
        • Add bright paint or tape on the top front edge of steps.
        • Consider installing extra lighting at the top/bottom steps; many falls are due to not seeing steps properly
        • Use high-wattage light bulbs (100 or greater) near outside doors and stairs.
        • Have hazards that could trip you, such as hoses or vines, removed.
        • Don’t rush when climbing up or down stairs. Take your time and look directly at each step.
        • Don’t carry large packages or baskets that obstruct your vision when going up or down stairs.
        • Watch were you are stepping when using stairs, place your foot firmly on the steps. 
        • Don’t place items on stair steps, these can create a hazard when going up or down a staircase.

        You might arrange for these changes yourself, or you might need to talk to your building manager or homeowners’ association about them.
        Take Other Precautions

        Never rush off to answer phones or door. Also get many extensions of the telephone around the house so that you can reach it easily without much effort.
        Change what you can on your own. Hire someone or ask friends or family to help with harder tasks.
        Fix Riskier Rooms First
        • Don’t tackle everything at once. Focus on one room at a time. The bathroom is a common spot for falls, so you can start there.
        • Or start with a room you spend lots of time in, such as your bedroom. Make only a few changes at once& give yourself time to adjust to them.
        “Changing is sometimes easier said than done.
        But even small changes can make you less likely to fall.”