Falling made Buster Keaton famous. Generations of movie fans have laughed out loud watching him go head over heels again and again.
In real life, though, falling is no laughing matter. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among people who are 65 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More than one out of four older adults falls each year, the CDC says, and one out of five falls causes a serious injury — such as a broken bone or a head injury.
With September being Falls Prevention Awareness Month, it’s an excellent time to highlight our partnership with Atlas Medical and how their In-Motion Program helps residents at Park Senior Villas lower their risk of falling.
Partnering With Atlas Medical Expands Our Care Services
At Park Senior Villas, we offer care-related programs that all residents can take advantage of, whether they’re with us for assisted living or memory care. Music therapy and hydrotherapy are a couple of examples.
Another example is the In-Motion Program we’re able to offer through our partnership with Atlas Medical. It’s available to all residents at Park Senior Villas.
The In-Motion team works with residents to improve or restore their mobility, balance, and range of motion. The program can also benefit those who want to regain strength and stability they may have lost as a result of an injury, an illness, or a sedentary lifestyle.
Putting Wellness In Motion
New residents and their families can benefit from our partnership with Atlas Medical and the In-Motion Program right from the start. Our staff collaborates with members of the Atlas Medical care team to help newcomers safely ease into their new surroundings.
This might involve small but important adjustments, such as helping them get used to new grab bars. It may also involve supporting them through behavioral health therapy to smooth their transition. During this time, we believe it’s crucial to work closely with the resident’s family so they feel assured that their loved one is in the right place.
Within the first few days of moving into the community, new residents typically take part in a comprehensive screening that Atlas Medical offers as a component of their In-Motion Program.
During the screening, a member of the In-Motion team evaluates the resident to identify potential health risks — including the risk of falling. The screening is also an opportunity for us to learn what types of wellness activities the resident has been engaging in or might be interested in trying.
What We Do With the Screening Results
When we have this kind of information about new residents, we can create the safest possible environment and routine for them — one that is tailored to their unique situation. As an example, if a physical limitation is making it difficult for someone to perform a common task, we may be able to show the person a new way to do it.
And, if the screening indicates that some form of therapy would be beneficial, Atlas Medical can coordinate and facilitate that.
Our activities directors and the In-Motion team member also use the screening results to create personalized care plans and help guide residents’ participation in classes and activities.
For example, if balance is an issue for someone, then they can show that person how to do seated exercises. Modifications like this help residents reap all of the benefits of participating in planned activities — including the social benefits — while protecting their safety.
Why Falling Is Particularly Dangerous for Seniors
Consider these statistics provided by the CDC:
- In a year, approximately 3 million older adults are treated in the emergency room for injuries resulting from a fall.
- In any given year, at least 300,000 seniors are hospitalized because of a hip fracture — 95% of which are caused by falling.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
You can see why we take fall prevention so seriously. While we’ll be placing even more emphasis on the topic in our communities during the month of September, it’s an unabating priority for our staff, day in and day out.
What Makes Older Adults More Susceptible to Falling and Fall-Related Injuries?
Many of the conditions that increase the likelihood of falling are associated with changes that occur with age, such as:
- Changes in vision. Changes in eyesight can affect a person’s depth perception and sense of balance.
- Weakness in the lower body. A sedentary lifestyle and the loss of muscle mass that ensues can lead to weakness in the legs and feet. Other health conditions, such as diabetes or poor circulation, can also cause lower extremity weakness. So can a deficiency in vitamin D or even fatigue.
- Foot pain. Older adults are more likely to have issues with their feet, including bunions, corns, calluses, toenail disorders, and hammertoes. Arthritis, gout, and diabetes can also cause foot problems. Podiatry is one of Atlas Medical’s top specialties.
- Difficulty walking. Weakness in the legs, foot pain, poor balance, joint pain, and/or stiffness in the hips and knees, various types of injuries, and nerve damage are just some of the health issues that can make walking more difficult for older people.
- Osteoporosis. Loss of bone density can lead to decreased strength and impaired balance, both of which can increase the risk of falling. And, a person with osteoporosis who falls is more likely to break one or more bones.
Some prescription medications, including several types that are commonly prescribed to seniors, can affect a person’s balance and gait. Some can cause drowsiness. Any of these have the potential to increase the risk of falling.
Even the fear of falling can make it more likely that a person will fall. This is especially true for those who’ve already fallen and sustained an injury.
Consulting with appropriate medical professionals and others who have experience working with seniors can help you take action to lower the risk of falling, whether your concern is for yourself or a family member.
Pairing the In-Motion Program With Assisted Living and Memory Care
As we strive to protect the health and well-being of all residents in our communities, we also focus on improving their quality of life. The In-Motion Program helps us achieve all of this.
Through this program, we can provide the best care to help residents prevent a fall — and help them recover if a fall does occur.
The initial In-Motion assessment, when a new resident joins us, gives us the opportunity to identify issues with balance, stability, and other physical challenges that might contribute to the risk of falling.
We can work with each resident to address any such issues that exist and reduce the chances of being injured in a fall. When older adults are less fearful of falling — and being injured as a result — they feel more confident about participating in the many activities we offer here in our community.
If a fall does occur, the resident will be reevaluated to see if a physical issue factored into the fall. The specialist can also assess any new areas that might need to be addressed as a result of injuries sustained in the fall.
From there, the resident can participate in fitness classes here at Park Senior Villas that are designed to help them get stronger, with a particular focus on strengthening the muscles that will improve their balance. These classes are led or overseen by a member of the In-Motion team.
In some instances, residents may benefit from physical therapy provided by a member of the Atlas Medical team.
Ready to Learn More?
If you have questions about the scope of care and services we offer through our partnership with Atlas Medical, we’ll gladly answer them for you.
The best way to learn about what makes Park Senior Villas so special among senior living communities is to contact us and arrange a virtual or in-person visit at one of our four locations in Phoenix and Tucson. We look forward to hearing from you!