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Caregivers of Older Adults Blog | Fall Prevention

Senior Safety: Tips for Helping Seniors Up After a Fall

By mmLearn.org on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

More than a third of people aged 65 or older in the United States fall every year, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Even worse?  More than 1.6 million of them end up in the emergency room due to fall-related injuries. Falls the leading cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, even death. 

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Wheelchair Transfer Techniques: Advice for Caregivers

By mmLearn.org on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

Many wheelchair users and their caregivers are unfamiliar with proper methods for transferring to and from wheelchairs. While this task can be intimidating, it's not insurmountable. Read on for basic information on wheelchair transfers, along with tips to help transfers go smoothly.

Basic Rules for Wheelchair Transfers

Moving in and out of a wheelchair takes both strength and coordination. While some people who use wheelchairs are able to manage this daily task on their own, others require assistance. The following basic techniques typically apply:
  • Move the wheelchair as close as possible to the surface/area to where you are moving the individual.
  • Transfer on the stronger side of the patient's body.
  • When moving someone in and out of a wheelchair, the chair should always be locked.
  • If you're moving upward -- for example, up a curb or stairs -- pull the wheelchair backwards.
  • The wheelchair user should be seated with legs at a right angle (90 degrees) at both knee and hip.
  • The foot pedals should always be swung out of the way or raised completely.
  • Move the armrest out of the way on the side where you are transferring.
  • The person's feet should be flat on the floor, unless he/she has been directed otherwise.
  • If the individual you are moving starts to fall, do not try to prevent him/her from the fall. Instead, bend your knees and slowly lower him to the chair, bed, floor, or other safe surface. Call for help, if necessary.
And remember: communication is important throughout this process. Before beginning the transfer, explain your approach. This ensures that you can work together as well as possible, and that the individual can help you to the best of his/her abilities.

Transfer Aids

In some cases, extra help will be required to move the person in and out of the wheelchair, and to make the process safer for both patient and caregiver. Common transfer aids include gait belts, mechanical lifts, and sliding boards. Before using these devices, inspect all straps, materials, stitching, hooks and chains to ensure that they are in good condition. If they look frayed or broken, refrain from using them. 

Understanding how to make wheelchair transfers offers increased safety and security for caregivers and patients alike.

Additional Help With Wheelchair Transfers

The appearance of new sores or skin problems, differences in the condition of the patient's shoulders, arms, or other body parts, and complaints of new pain following a transfer are signs that you should call the doctor. 

If you are uncertain about the transfer process or have any questions, a trained healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or nurse, can be a valuable resource. 

Lastly, remember that as each person's abilities vary, so do their transfer needs. The amount of help you provide will depend on the specifics of the situation, including whether the person is moving in or out of  a cartoilet seat, or shower chair. The tips and techniques can help makes transfers easier and safer for individuals and their caregivers. 
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Preventing Osteoporosis is Essential for Good Senior Health

By mmLearn.org on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 @ 10:46 AM

More than 40 million people in the United States either have osteoporosis or are at risk for the disease because of low bone mass, according to the National Institutes of Health. Just how critical is this issue? Bone health has been declared to be a "national public health priority," by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Seniors are particularly susceptible to this widespread disease, which can lead to fractures and a number of other health complications. Let's take a closer look at what caregivers need to know about this significant threat to senior health.

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Osteoporosis and Exercise: What Caregivers Need to Know

By mmLearn.org on Mon, Jul 13, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

Millions of older Americans have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing the disease. While risk factors like gender, age, size, ethnicity, and family history are outside an individual's control, other risk factors for low bone density are lifestyle-related. One of the easiest yet most impactful ways to prevent this debilitating disease? Exercise. Let's take a closer look at the link between exercise and osteoporosis, along with what every caregiver should know about senior bone health.

The Link Between Exercise and Strong Bones

The National Osteoporosis Foundation cites two types of exercise as pivotal to building bone strength and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.

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Assistive Devices: Independence for Seniors & Help for Caregivers

By mmLearn.org on Wed, Mar 04, 2015 @ 02:51 PM

Few people would argue that the aging process is easy, but there are ways to help make things easier. Many seniors struggle with mobility issues which can interfere with routine daily activities and lead to declines in independence and quality of life. Assistive devices offer a valuable "helping hand," not only for the aging senior, but they can also be a great help for caregivers, as well.  

About Assistive Devices

Assistive devices can mean the difference between the ability to perform simple daily activities and complete reliance on others. Assistive technology advances every day, and seniors have more options than ever when it comes to selecting the best tools for their individual needs.

Types of Assistive Devices

Products, tools and equipment available to assist seniors can range from low-tech to high-tech in functionality as well as serve a number of different needs. These include:

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