Archive for July 19th, 2005

Grate Sidewalks (Bad gate)

Grate sidewalk

The grated sidewalk (I’m sure there is a regular name but we just say it is the walk) is the metal seen at the bottom of the wooden ramp.

Yes, that is a wooden ramp–which gets wet in the snow and rain–which is the fire escape for the adult day center folks (our most frail) located on the second floor of the senior center.

bad gate
Yes, that is a closed gate latch on the only exit for the day center folks coming from the fire escape from the second floor. (Hey, SHE did remember to unlock the gate that day. On the big Thanksgiving Day meal, below, it was forgotten to unwrap and unlock the exit.)

Yes, there is no No Parking sign in front of the only exit.

2006 A message dated March 2006 was tacked inside the building near the food line asking elders to remind staff if they find the gate is locked. This is something of an improvement, however, no one should open the building in the morning except through the gated entry. And it isn’t enough to unlock the gate latch. It should be locked open. Have you ever tried to open a chainlink fence latch in an emergency (try it with one hand behind your back and the other holding a pillow or tied down by the elbow)?

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Yaktrax Walker may reduce outdoor falls during winter

YakTrax

A Simple Gait-Stabilizing Device May Reduce Falls in the Elderly [read article here]
http://www.yaktrax.com/
A recent medical study confirms Yaktrax keep the elderly safer on ice and snow.
Read the complete article in PDF here.

I tried one set of these and didn’t find them that comforting–I felt like my foot was rolling on the springs, especially on inside floors. However, I have known others who like them. Maybe they should be removed inside, no?

The PPS (post-polio syndrome] may also find them useful.

My preference is for 1/4 inch flat sheet metal screws (slotted) that I insert into the soles of my boots. However, if your neighborhood has snow grates (see photo on this bloggie), the screws can sometime get caught and may trip someone [usually, the screws just pull out].

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
News Author: Laurie Barclay, MD, CME Author: Hien T. Nghiem, MD

July 14, 2005 — The Yaktrax Walker ([YW]; YakTrax, Port Orchard, Washington), a simple gait-stabilizing device, may reduce outdoor falls during winter in the elderly, according to the results of a prospective, randomized study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“Falls may occur more frequently in the winter in northern latitudes because of more hazardous environmental conditions and suboptimal vitamin D status,” writes Fergus Eoin McKiernan, MD, from the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin. “Improving gait stability in these conditions should result in fewer falls and injuries.”

In this study, 109 northern U.S. community-dwelling, fall-prone persons age 65 years and older were randomized to wear either YW or their usual winter footwear outdoors during the winter of 2003–2004. Mean age was 74.2 years.

Study participants completed fall diaries, documenting 93 indoor slips, 13 indoor falls, 714 outdoor slips, and 62 outdoor falls during 10,724 diary days. Although risk of indoor slips or falls was comparable in both groups, the relative risk (RR) of outdoor slips for YW was 0.50 ()

Of 19 outdoor falls, 12 occurred when subjects assigned to wear the YW were not doing so. No serious injury or fracture occurred in either group. The number needed to treat for the YW to prevent one nonserious injurious fall in one winter was six. Given that the cost of one pair of YW is less than $20, the author suggests potentially large cost savings for those who wear the YW.

Study limitations include likely underestimation of the reported magnitude of outdoor fall reduction with YW and possible lack of generalizability to elderly patients who were more or less fall-prone than those in this study.

“YW may reduce the risk of outdoor winter falls, and of nonserious injurious falls, in older community-dwelling people with a history of previous falls,” the author writes. “Targeting the most appropriate fall-reduction intervention to the right population should yield the best rate of therapeutic return. Under appropriate environmental conditions, YW appears to be an inexpensive means of preventing falls and nonserious injurious falls in fall-prone, ambulatory, community-dwelling older people during the winter.”

The Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation Physician Research Fund funded this study. Yaktrax provided the YW devices free of charge and provided Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation with $20 per study subject in compensation for study participation. The study subjects received their blinded compensation after study completion.
J Am Ger Soc. 2005;53:943-947


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HomeMods!

Home modification is adaptation to the living environment intended to increase ease of use, safety, security and independence. Some home modifications include:

* Lever door handles that operate easily with a push
* Handrails on both sides of staircase and outside steps
* Ramps for accessible entry and exit
* Walk-in shower
* Grab bars in the shower, by the toilet, and by the tub
* Hand-held, flexible shower head
* Lever-handed faucets that are easy to turn on and off
* Sliding shelves and lazy susan in corner cabinet
* C or D ring handles on cabinet doors and drawers for easy gripping

Home Modification can Promote Independence and Prevent Accidents

* Many persons are living in older structures that are deteriorating to the point that they are hazardous and contribute to the falss and injuries.

* Home modification and repair can help prevent accidents and falls. Research by the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that one-third of home accidents can be prevented by modification and repair.

* Modification to the home environment can be a key factor in increasing the likelihood of older persons remaining independent and injury-free in their homes and active in their communities as long as they desire.

* Home modifications can enhance comfort, increase safety, prevent injuries, and facilitate ongoing access to community social, recreational, and supportive activities and services.

* Removing barriers and safety hazards also helps reduce the stresses associated with the reduction in physical capabilities as people age.


O’Folks (off their rocker)

Old age isn't a disease.

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