Join us in Belleville on Saturday, October 5, for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!
Falls put you at risk of serious injury. Prevent falls with these simple fall-prevention measures, from reviewing your medications to hazard-proofing your home.
Fall prevention may not seem like a lively topic, but it’s important. As you get older, physical changes and health conditions — and sometimes the medications used to treat those conditions — make falls more likely. In fact, falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. Still, fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life. Instead, consider six simple fall-prevention strategies.
1. Make an appointment with your doctor
Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with your doctor. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
- What medications are you taking? Make a list of your prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements, or bring them with you to the appointment. Your doctor can review your medications for side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling. To help with fall prevention, your doctor may consider weaning you off medications that make you tired or affect your thinking, such as sedatives and some types of antidepressants.
- Have you fallen before? Write down the details, including when, where and how you fell. Be prepared to discuss instances when you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time. Details such as these may help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.
- Could your health conditions cause a fall? Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, shortness of breath, or numbness in your feet and legs when you walk? Your doctor may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.
2. Keep moving
Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With your doctor’s OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.
If you avoid physical activity because you’re afraid it will make a fall more likely, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist. The physical therapist can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait.
3. Wear sensible shoes
Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan. High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in your stocking feet. Instead, wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. Sensible shoes may also reduce joint pain.
4. Remove home hazards
Take a look around your home. Your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways may be filled with hazards. To make your home safer:
- Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
- Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.
- Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home.
- Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away.
- Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.
- Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.
- Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Use a bath seat, which allows you to sit while showering.
5. Light up your living space
Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see. Also:
- Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
- Place a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs.
- Make clear paths to light switches that aren’t near room entrances. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.
- Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
- Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.
6. Use assistive devices
Your doctor might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices can help, too. For example:
- Hand rails for both sides of stairways
- Nonslip treads for bare-wood steps
- A raised toilet seat or one with armrests
- Grab bars for the shower or tub
- A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down
If necessary, ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist. He or she can help you brainstorm other fall-prevention strategies. Some solutions are easily installed and relatively inexpensive. Others may require professional help or a larger investment. If you’re concerned about the cost, remember that an investment in fall prevention is an investment in your independence.
To Combat Social Isolation and Loneliness
The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce will join AgeSmart Community Resources as we open our 801 West State Street location in O’Fallon. The open house and ribbon cutting ceremony will be on August 22nd from noon – 3:00. The ribbon cutting will take place at noon and a caregiver panel is scheduled for 1:00 pm.
AgeSmart is your local Area Aging on Aging. We are here to help you “Age Well Your Way” and help people be independent and successful in their community as they age. AgeSmart assures that comprehensive services are available for older adults in the community should they need them and maintain a database of all the resources available. Programs provided by AgeSmart, like Meals on Wheels, Senior Health Insurance Counseling are cost effective and help keep older adults healthier and able to remain independent. Twenty different services are available to everyone 60 plus of all income levels and their caregivers. There is no charge for services only a suggested donation.
AgeSmart also provides a Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services Program. In collaboration with the two Area Agencies on Aging in Missouri, AgeSmart is part of the largest Veterans Directed programs in the country. The program helps Veterans stay in their homes and provide them options on how to do so.
AgeSmart also works with communities to help them be a place that supports people as they age. Stop by to see how AgeSmart can help you and your family. Come to our open house and see what AgeSmart is about.
AgeSmart and local Senior Centers are beginning a great new collaboration that will benefit older adults. “Musician Fest”. A unique effort to provide age-friendly musical performances for older adults throughout Southern Illinois recently brought together several leaders in the region. As the older adult population grows and becomes more diverse, many organizations in this area have recognized that it is imperative to develop and implement creative strategies to meet their growing interests and needs. To create opportunities for older adults to move and connect through music, fifteen Musician Fest events will take place at senior centers this year with support from the music recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund. The first event will be August 20th, 1:00 pm at the Millstadt Senior Center. Dave Shepperd will be entertaining with his classic country music.
Partners include, from left to right, front: Joy Paeth, AgeSmart Community Resources CEO, Kiyeon Yoch, AgeSmart Community Resources Grants/Planning Manager, Fonda Jones, Seasoned Circle Café Director. Back: Christina Sellers, Compliance Specialist, AgeSmart Community Resources; Anna Unger, Secretary, Local 29-717, Metro-East Musicians Union, Granite City; Melissa Winkeler, Southwestern Illinois College Programs and Services for Older Persons Activities Director; Patty Evansco, Millstadt Township Senior Services Director. Not pictured: Danara Moore, Director of Strategic Design, Greenville University and Dan Beck, Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund.
Local Senior Centers working with AgeSmart are reinventing their programs to help modernized their services. AgeSmart offered Innovation Grants to help centers re-develop their programs to better meet the needs of today’s older adults. The Bond County Senior Center, Clinton County Collaborative, Millstadt Senior Services, Seasoned Circle Café run by Lessie Bates, the Northeastern Randolph County Senior Center and Senior Services Plus (SSP) all were awarded Innovation Grants. Great Ideas emerged from the grants such as the WOW (WithOut Walls) concept. SSP plans to take the senior center on the road in their W.O.W. van. Keep a look out for new innovations in your neighborhood!
Heat indices for the Greater St. Louis Metro area are expected to be around 110 degrees today. For a list of cooling centers in Illinois click one of the image below or go to http://www.211helps.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/MO-Cooling-Sites-w-KC-7.17.19.pdf, this list includes cooing sites for St. Louis Metro East area. For more information on what to do during the extreme heat read information below from ready.gov.
Please remember to check on older adults in your life and those working outside.
What to do in Extreme Heat From www.ready.gov/heat
Extreme Heat often results in the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. In most of the United States, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to death by overworking the human body. Remember that:
- Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
- Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
- Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.
IF YOU ARE UNDER AN EXTREME HEAT WARNING:
- Find air conditioning.
- Avoid strenuous activities.
- Watch for heat illness.
- Wear light clothing.
- Check on family members and neighbors.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
- Never leave people or pets in a closed car.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN EXTREME HEAT THREATENS
- Find places in your community where you can go to get cool.
- Keep your home cool by doing the following:
- Cover windows with drapes or shades.
- Weather-strip doors and windows.
- Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
- Add insulation to keep the heat out.
- Use attic fans to clear hot air.
- Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.
- Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness.
Be Safe DURING
- Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day.
- Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
- If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If you or someone you care for is on a special diet, ask a doctor how best to accommodate it.
- Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees, as this could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.
- Avoid high-energy activities.
- Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.
RECOGNIZE AND RESPOND
Know the signs of heat-related illness and the ways to respond to it:
- HEAT CRAMPS
- Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs
- Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.
- HEAT EXHAUSTION
- Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting
- Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
- HEAT STROKE
- Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness
- Actions: Call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.
Social isolation is a growing health epidemic, affecting more than 8 million older adults.
There are nearly 37,000 older adults living alone in the Metro East. 82% of the individuals who participated in AgeSmart programs in last year lived alone among those are Meals on Wheels participants are frail and many need assistance to live safely at home.
To address the need of older adults who are socially isolated, AgeSmart is developing a Telephone Reassurance Program. A telephone reassurance call is one of the most effective means of reducing isolation. AgeSmart will be collaborating with a faith-based organization in East St. Louis to provide Telephone Reassurance program. East St. Louis and its surrounding communities have high concentration of low-income minority population. 25% of AgeSmart’s Meals on Wheels participants are provided in East St. Louis and 85% of the meal recipients live alone. Due to decreasing number of volunteers and increasing costs of preparation and delivery of meals, the meal provider currently provides frozen meals only through a weekly delivery, which limits their opportunity to check on the wellbeing of the clients.
The proposed telephone reassurance program will be built upon the existing volunteer-based model, which serves a limited area in East St. Louis. To get on the list for a call contact AgeSmart at 618-222-2561.
“The Goshen Market’s broader vision is supporting a healthy, local food community,” said Jessica Despain, PhD, president of the Goshen Market Foundation and associate professor in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of English Language and Literature. “The Beet Box supports that mission by bringing affordable produce from local farmers and SIUE’s Rooftop Teaching Gardens to neighborhoods and community centers whose residents lack access to healthy foods as a result of food-desert conditions.”
Farmer’s Market Coupons are also available at AgeSmart on Mondays, 12-3:00 pm and Thursdays 9-12:00 PM beginning July 11th. Seniors with and income of $23,107 annually are eligible for Senior Farmers Market Coupons.