Featuring … Prevent Falls. Know the Risks | Do Not Feed the Trolls: Internet Safety Tips for Seniors | Muscle Loss In Seniors | Senior Resources
Prevent Falls. Know the Risks
Trips, stumbles, and minor tumbles may not seem like a big deal when you’re younger. Yet, for seniors, any fall has the potential to result in severe injury or a health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a senior over the age of 65 falls every second of every day. One in five falls ends in serious injury. So understanding the risk factors that lead to both fatal and nonfatal falls and taking precautions are vital to avoid the potentially debilitating consequences seniors can face.
What are the causes of falling?
A variety of factors increase an individual’s likelihood of falling. Usually, it’s a combination of multiple factors that lead to a fall. So being aware of your personal risk factors can help you to minimize dangers.
Factors typically associated with aging. As you age, there’s a natural degeneration in various bodily functions. This may include:
- A decrease in strength
- Difficulty with balance
- Slowed reaction times and reflexes
- Worsened vision
- Impaired hearing
- Cognitive impairments
Any of these individual issues can cause difficulty walking, going up and down stairs, sitting, standing, or lying down. These problems can also lead to increased fatigue and less awareness of external factors that could potentially contribute to a fall. All of these make falling more likely.
Aging may lead to higher susceptibility to certain medical conditions that increase your risk of falling. Some examples of health issues associated with fall risk are dementia, osteoporosis, vertigo, depression, COPD, diabetes, arthritis, and disabilities, particularly in the feet or lower limbs.
Surgical procedures for medical conditions or injuries can also affect an individual’s mobility, strength, and function.
Medications taken for medical conditions can increase the risk of falling because of the side effects that compromise balance. Taking four or more drugs is also associated with falling.
Falls are more common in environments with slippery floors, poor lighting, uneven surfaces, stairs, and clutter. Many falls occur in the bathroom. Getting in or out of the shower or bath can be particularly hazardous to seniors. Interestingly, however, household and environmental factors aren’t as significant an indicator as health factors.
- The potential for serious or fatal injury from a fall is especially concerning if a person lives alone.
- Senior women are more likely to fall and have serious hip injuries.
- Being less active means more muscle atrophy and an increased likelihood of falling.
- Being overly active can lead to more opportunities to fall and potentially pushing your physical limits.
- A history of previous falls means you have a higher risk of falling again.
What happens to seniors who suffer a fall?
Just one fall can have a significant negative impact on a senior’s quality of life. Consider these facts.
- Most fatal injuries occur from falling.
- Ninety-five percent of all hip fractures happen during a fall.
- Falling is the leading cause of traumatic brain injury.
- A fear of falling again is common.
- Seniors who’ve fallen may start avoiding activities that could lead to another fall.
- Injuries from a fall may contribute to an inability to function independently and require care or moving to a nursing home.
- The consequences of falling may increase the risk of depression.
- Medical costs after a fall can be expensive.
What are some prevention strategies to avoid falling?
- Make sure your prevention strategies address your individual risk factors. List out your personal risk factors, look at which ones can be changed, and create a plan to decrease those risks.
- Stay active at an appropriate level for your health and ability. Try lower intensity workouts like yoga, tai chi, walking, swimming, water aerobics, and weight training, especially for leg muscles.
- Work with a physical therapist to prevent falls or to heal from injury, especially if you have health risk factors. A physical therapist can help you improve balance and build strength while taking into account your individual needs.
- Get regular physical exams to check for any risk factors or problems that could lead to falls. Be honest about any concerns you have and discuss any side effects of your medication.
- Wear well-fitting, comfortable, wide, and flat shoes for a stable base.
- If needed, be sure you actually use devices like canes or walkers for assistance.
- Assess your environment and take steps to make it safer. Consider features like grab bars in the bathroom, secure handrails on stairs, a more accessible tub or shower, and plenty of light. Also, avoid small rugs that can bunch up or catch on your shoes, and remove clutter to keep floors and spaces clear.
- Have a plan in place in case you fall and know what to do and how to get help. If you’re at risk, get a wearable emergency fall device so you can call for medical assistance. New technology is available for automatic fall risk detection. There are also manual devices to push in case of an emergency.
For seniors, falling can be a significant concern in trying to stay safe and healthy. But falling isn’t an inevitable part of growing older. By taking these steps to lessen your risk of falling and being prepared in the event of a fall will go a long way toward living a healthy, fulfilling life throughout your retirement.
By Kimberly Blaker
Do Not Feed the Trolls: Internet Safety Tips for Seniors
By Center for Cyber Safety and Education
Many dangers lurk on the internet, and seniors are favorite targets of scammers and cybercriminals because they’re more likely to take the bait than other adults.
Internet trolls also love targeting the elderly, knowing they’re more likely to get a reaction, which is what trolls live for.
Unfortunately, when seniors are trolled, the consequences can be even more dire because an online confrontation with someone trying to make them angry might escalate, affecting their mental, emotional and physical health. That’s why it’s time to teach your senior loved ones about safe online behavior so that they can avoid flame wars and know when they should respond to Internet trolls and malicious online harassment.
The Importance of Providing Seniors with Cyber Education
Seniors did not grow up with the internet like Millennials, making many older Gen X and Baby Boomers less experienced at navigating online spaces. And when they’re not equipped with internet education and good online practices, they’re more likely to feed the internet trolls or fall for online scams.
The social media platforms seniors use most are Facebook and LinkedIn, which means that they’re more at risk from cybercriminals who use those platforms to propagate scams and troll posts. Seniors use Facebook to connect with family and friends and to follow current events like politics.
Internet trolls follow threads with sensitive topics that are most likely to lead to heated arguments. Trolls will leave distasteful, seemingly ignorant, inflammatory and insulting comments. Many seniors may feel the urge to defend the person who was targeted by the hurtful words. Even though their intentions are good, in reality, responding may only escalate the situation.
No matter how beautifully crafted their rebuttals are, their efforts will die on the vine—or comment thread—because trolls are not looking to be proven wrong. A troll’s only goal is to engage victims in an online argument, so-called flame wars. Often, they will go to great lengths to find their victim’s sensitive spots by accessing their public profiles and responding, so the victim feels attacked on a personal level.
Help the seniors in your life understand how to recognize when someone is trolling them and why they shouldn’t engage, and especially why they should never share personal information with people or organizations they don’t know and trust.
When they’re armed with these new skills, it’s easier for them to choose safer online behavior, which means ignoring a scammer, a cyberbully or troll who tries to aggravate them and provoke a never-ending battle of comments.
Muscle Loss In Seniors
Dr. John Jaquish
An aging mother he dearly loved was the motivation that sent scientist, inventor, and author Dr. John Jaquish on his deep dive into exercise and fitness. His research revealed that muscle growth can take place for individuals of any age, including those over 60, using the correct strength training regimen and the right nutritional program. His research into optimal muscle-building further showed that the most productive strength training is accomplished by using variable resistance bands and not free weights. For seniors and others seeking the ultimate solution for effectively maximizing muscle and minimizing body fat, Dr.Jaquish details his complete resistance band protocol along with supporting science in his controversial Wall Street Journal bestselling book Weightlifting is a Waste of Time, So is Cardio.
The “2020 Profile of Older Americans” by the ACL (The Administration for Community Living) reports the number of Americans aged 60 and over is 74.6 million. As this population gets older their hormones change and protein is processed less efficiently. They also tend to move less, which leads to muscular atrophy. When strength is lost, gait and balance change — which can increase the risk for falls and subsequent injury.
“Contrary to what is widely believed, seniors don’t have to lose muscle as they age; they can still build muscle with strength training,” says Dr. Jaquish. “Primarily, muscle declines with age because of changes to lifestyle, not biology. Remaining physically active, good nutrition, and the proper strength training program will protect against muscle loss.”
“Strength training is the best preventative and corrective method for age-related muscle loss. No matter your age, you can build and maintain muscle, and to optimally do so requires resistance training,” says Dr. Jaquish. “Unfortunately, resistance training methods typically recommended involve lifting free weights such as dumbbells and barbells, medicine balls, or using weight machines. These methods are not effective, nor are they safe for seniors or bodybuilders of any age.”
In his book, Dr. Jaquish explains how lifting weights puts pressure on joints and increases the risk of injury. Even for professional powerlifters, this risk increases significantly after the age of 40. For anyone with reduced balance and mobility, past joint injuries, arthritis, and loss of bone density, strength training by lifting heavy free weights is not recommended.
Dr. Jaquish says as a solution to these issues, trainers typically program lighter weights, less frequent workouts, or the use of strength training machines. However, these so-called solutions are counterproductive. Building muscle with resistance training requires heavy lifting, and perhaps even more so in a senior population.
“Training with variable resistance and resistance bands is the superior way. Variable resistance with the right bands and equipment has built-in protective qualities that make strength training for seniors less risky. By allowing seniors to safely lift heavy weight, variable resistance also addresses the hormonal environment that can prevent older adults from building muscle,” says Dr. Jaquish.
Dr. Jaquish explains that after approximately 40 years of age, serum levels of the hormones responsible for muscle growth begin to decline. By using variable resistance training, one is able to maintain a constant tension and recruit more muscle fiber during lifts, cueing the body to open receptors for the hormones that stimulate muscle growth.
“Variable resistance bands offer a sufficiently challenging level of resistance necessary for triggering the perfect hormonal environment, so seniors get the most out of each training session. This not only makes each lift safer but more effective,” says Dr. Jaquish.
It’s not a given that seniors lose muscle with age. By continuing to strength train, eating a high protein diet, and ensuring a steady intake of all essential amino acids, even older adults can experience a “youthful” anabolic response and grow muscle.
For more information about Dr. Jaquish and his book Weightlifting is a Waste of Time – So is Cardio, visit www.doctorj.com
Lemont Center ~ Nursing and Rehabilitation
Recognized as a leader of rehabilitation and nursing services, Lemont Nursing & Rehabilitation Center offers highly individualized skilled care in a caring and comfortable environment. At Lemont, we are committed to providing the highest quality care to every person that comes through our door. Our experienced team of clinicians and therapists work together to help maximize independence to provide comfort and peace of mind. Lemont’s highly specialized team of physicians include: Cardiologist, Infectious Disease, Internist, Orthopedist, Physiatrist, Pulmonologist, and Wound Care. They all work together with the resident’s personal physician to ensure continuity of care, while residing at Lemont Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Call Lemont Center today at (630)243-0400 or visit our website at www.lemontcenter.com
Villa St. Benedict ~ A continuing care community,
Villa St. Benedict is at the height of its beauty when the seasons are changing. With a mixture of warm and cool days, we can still walk along our 47-acre campus to enjoy the colors of fall. The beautiful 47-acre campus is part of the original parcel of 500 acres purchased and still occupied by the Benedictine Sisters of the Sacred Heart since 1912. The heart of the community is the Sacred Heart Chapel.
Villa St. Benedict continues to be a unique senior community offering independent living, assisted living, and memory care with a mission statement based on the Benedictine tradition of hospitality.
As a continuing care community, our staff works tirelessly to provide excellent services. We work with the same respect and compassion you would receive from a member of your family. With a wide array of apartment sizes and villa homes, we have a perfect fit for your chosen lifestyle. Living fully, living well – that’s comfort in VSB’s community! Villa St. Benedict is located at 1920 Maple Avenue in Lisle. Call a sales counselor at 630-852-0345 to arrange a tour or find out more by visiting www.villastben.org.
Carefree Management ~ Housing Seniors
Since 1995, Carefree Management has provided the best in affordable senior living throughout the Chicagoland area. Each community is strategically located within walking distance to shopping centers, grocery stores, pharmacies and public transit. Apartments have a full kitchen, generous closet space, individually controlled heating and air conditioning, vinyl wood flooring and natural light. While site amenities may vary, the majority of Carefree communities offer: senior oriented weekly activities, 1+ community laundry room, library/computer area, game room, dining room (providing daily continental breakfast), exercise room, garage parking and on-site management.
For residents needing additional assistance, our property managers will provide connections to supportive services such as live-in aides, physical therapy and transportation services.
Offering studios, one – and two – bedroom apartments in the following locations: Elmhurst, Schaumburg, Homewood, Lake Zurich, Richton Park, Forest Park, Chicago, Hoffman Estates and St. Charles.
Visit www.housingseniors.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!
Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists
Good Foot & Ankle Care Helps ~ Seniors Stay Independent and Head-to-Toe Healthy
As we get older, it becomes even more important to take care of our feet. Issues that start at your feet and ankles can lead to problems with your knees, hips, back and even your neck. That’s one of the many reasons to get any aches, pains, injuries, unusual feelings or numbness looked at by a foot and ankle physician.
Seniors are prone to certain kinds of foot and ankle ailments and injuries that just come with age.
“With our patients who are 50 or so and up, we see a lot of needs related to toenails and calluses. A lot of older people who have mobility issues have a hard time bending over to trim their nails themselves. If nails aren’t cared for regularly, they can easily start to be a problem, so regular trimmings are important,” said Dr. John Thometz, a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon with Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists.
Bunions are also a common ailment, especially with older women, and they can be cared for with several kinds of treatment options. Hammer toes are the second most structural-related issue the doctors see with their senior patients and can be treated in different ways depending on the severity of the hammer toe. Both bunions and hammer toes may also be treated with minimally invasive surgery.
As the one of the largest foot and ankle practices in the state of Illinois, Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists not only treats the condition, but we provide cutting-edge treatments that can help you get back to your life. To learn more visit www.illinoisfoot.com
Honoring Aging ~ Senior moving and downsizing services
For more than 17 years, Honoring Aging has been the trusted partner of the most prominent senior living communities in the Chicago Suburbs. Our team takes a caring and personalized approach to helping you move successfully from your family home. We will be a resource to downsizing, selling, and donating what you don’t keep. Not only do we provide a customized floor plan design of your new place, but we also provide packing and resetting/unpacking services as well. Honoring aging welcomes the opportunity to share your experience in creating your new home.
We invite you to check out our website and our reviews to see the impact our services provide for seniors. Call us with any questions you may have or visit HonoringAging.com to learn more.
Honoring Aging office is located at 25 N River Ln Suite 25423, Geneva, IL 60134. (630) 524-9282
Campbell Long, LLC ~ A Boutique Family Law Firm
At Campbell Long, LLC we are a boutique family firm with offices located in Chicago and Naperville, IL.
We help local families with wills and trusts; probate; guardianship; and wrongful death matters.
Our goal is to be transparent with our clients on our fees, services, and the overall process. We strive to do this in an approachable way with a warm and friendly environment. Most meetings and signings can be conducted either in person or via Zoom and kids are always welcome. We even have toys and snacks in our offices!
If you need assistance with a legal matter, feel free to give us a call at 866-566-9494 or submit an inquiry through our website at www.CLCounsel.com.
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