Holiday Gifts for Seniors

Here are 10 practical, yet fun, holiday gifts for the Senior in your life.

  1. blankets or throws – whether you a talented quilter who can create a homemade masterpiece, or buy a cozy blanket or throw, you can’t go wrong with this gift option that will warm the soul along with the aging body.
  2. custom gift basket–gift baskets add the personal touch to practical products.  Create a care basket that includes slippers with your loved ones’ favorite lotions, bath soaps, cologne or perfume or create a custom food basket of your loved ones favorite meats, soups,herbal teas, cheeses, chocolates or sauces: a gift basket balances practicality with custom personality and love.
  3. tablets and iPads–Good for entertainment, medication management and brain-exercising fun, this technology is an excellent option for aged loved ones.  The social connection is important for elders, and you might be surprised how savvy your senior can be with a quick tutorial .
  4. kitchen and bath towels–everyone can use new kitchen and bath towels as these daily items are a necessity of daily life.  Adding monogrammed initials or patterns that compliment the home will only enhance this gift.
  5. gift certificates–
    If your loved one is still independent, gift certificates to grocery stores and dining venues allows the senior to not only cut expenses grocery shopping, but also allows them an entertaining lunch or evening out for a special experience.  This is also a great gift to help prevent senior malnutrition: an epidemic that many are unaware of in the aging population.
  6. smartphone– Phones are not only important for keeping the social connection–a necessary ingredient for quality of life–but are also crucial for senior safety.  Many smartphones offer large buttons, speed dials, visual rings and more.
  7. clothes– Buying sweat pants, sweaters, underwear, socks or nice shirts and pants will assure a gift that won’t go unused.
  8. Kitchen essentials–For seniors who struggle with arthritis or limited hand strength, custom kitchen sets that cater to these conditions can make a perfect gift.
  9. Photobooks, scrapbooks and custom videos– compiling memory books, scrapbooks or custom videos is a nostalgic gift option that is sure to please.  Gather cherished photos, newspaper clippings, travel souvenirs and other momentos and compile them into an art form so that the senior will have a tangible piece of his or her heritage to hold onto and enjoy.  Videos are great because you can add your seniors’ favorite tunes.
  10. Health management and fitness– It is especially important for seniors to stay fit to help prevent stroke, heart conditions and other common ailments that come with age.

Most importantly GIVE THE GIFT OF YOURSELF.  The greatest gift a person can give is the gift of themselves.  Create homemade coupons that can be redeemed for chores such as window washing, cleaning house, transportation for shopping, church , doctor visits, etc., an invitation to share a meal with you or your family.  These are all special gifts that you can share with your senior.

 

Discounts for Seniors

Here is a list of restaurants, supermarkets,department stores, travel deals and other types of offers giving various discounts with different age requirements.  YOU MUST ASK FOR THESE DISCOUNTS!

RESTAURANTS:
Applebee’s:            15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby’s:                   10% off (55+)
Ben & Jerry’s:         10% off (60+)
Bennigan’s:             Discount varies by location (60+)
Bob’s Big Boy:        Discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market:       10% off (65+)
Burger King:            10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A:             10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chili’s:                    10% off (55+)
CiCi’s Pizza:            10% off (60+)
Denny’s:                 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55 +)
Dunkin’ Donuts:       10% off or free coffee (55+)
Einstein’s Bagels:    10% off baker’s dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker’s:          10% off any senior platter ( 55+)
Gatti’s Pizza:           10% off (60+)
Golden Corral:        10% off (60+)
Hardee’s:                $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP:                     10% off (55+)
Jack in the Box:       Up to 20% off (55+)
KFC:                       Free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme:         10% off (50+)
Long John Silver’s:  Various discounts at locations (55+)
McDonald’s:            Discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields:             10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney’s:               10% off
Sonic:                    10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak ‘n Shake:      10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway:                10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes:   10% off (62+)
Taco Bell :              5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY:                   10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe:    10% off (50+)
Village Inn:            10% off (60+)
Waffle House:       10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy’s:              10% off (55 +)
Whataburger:        10% off (62+)
White Castle :        10% off (62+)
RETAIL & APPAREL:
Banana Republic:    30% off (50+)
Bealls:                   20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belk’s:                   15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Big Lots:                30% off
Bon-Ton Dept        15 % off on senior discount days (55 +)
C.J. Banks:           10% off every Wednesday (50+)
Clarks :                 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn:           20% off (55+)
Goodwill:              10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark:              10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart:                  40% off (Wednesdays only) (50+)
Kohl’s:                  15% off (60+)
Modell’s Sporting Goods:  30% off
Rite Aid:               10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores:        10% off every Tuesday (55+)

The Salvation Army Thrift Stores:  Up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart:           20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month (55 +)

GROCERY:
Albertson’s:                       10% off first Wednesday of each month (55 +)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50 +)
Compare Foods Supermarket:  10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets:      5% off every Wednesday (60+)
Food Lion:                          60% off every Monday (60+)
Fry’s Supermarket:            Free Fry’s VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday (55 +)
Great Valu Food Store:      5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket:     10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter:                    5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee:                            5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger:                            10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket:   5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed:               10% off every Tuesday (50 +)
Publix:                             15% off every Wednesday ( 55 +)
Rogers  Markelace:          5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe’s Marketplace:  15% off (62+)

TRAVEL:
Airlines:

Alaska Airlines:               50% off (65+)
American Airlines:           Various discounts for 50% off non-peak periods (Tuesdays – Thursdays) (62+) and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines:        No initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
Southwest Airlines:          Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
United Airlines:                 Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
U.S. Airways:                    Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Rail:  Amtrak:                  15% off (62+)
Bus:  Greyhound:           15% off (62+)  Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+

CAR RENTAL:
Alamo Car Rental:           Up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis:                               Up to 25% off for AARP members
Budget Rental Cars:       40% off; up to 50% off for AARP members (50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car:         10% off (50+)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car:  5% off for AARP members
Hertz:                            Up to 25% off for AARP members
National Rent-A-Car:      Up to 30% off for AARP members

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS:
Holiday Inn:                     20-40% off depending on location (62+)
Best Western:                40% off (55+)
Cambria Suites:            20%-30% off (60+)
Waldorf Astoria – NYC: $5,000 off nightly rate for Presidential Suite (55 +)
Clarion Motels:              20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn:                   20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites:             20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge:               40% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 40% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels:                  25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group:  Various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites:          10% off with Mature Traveler’s Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels:             25% off (62+)
Motel 6:                         Stay Free Sunday nights (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort:   30% off (55 +)
Quality Inn:                    40%-50% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn:                20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn:                      40% off (60+)

ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT:
AMC Theaters:                          Up to 30% off (55 +)
Bally Total Fitness:                    $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa, FL:     $13 off one-day tickets (50 +)
Carmike Cinemas:                    35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters:    Up to 35% off
Massage Envy – NYC:               20% off all “Happy Endings” (62 +)
U.S. National Parks:                  $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas:                         50% off Ripley’s Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55 +)
SeaWorld, Orlando , FL :          $3 off one-day tickets (50 +)

CELL PHONE DISCOUNTS:
AT&T:                          Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $19.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug:                     $10/month cell phone service (50 +)
Verizon Wireless:       Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).
MISCELLANEOUS:
Great Clips:      $8 off hair cuts (60+)
Supercuts:        $8 off haircuts (60+)

 

If you would like to print out this list go to : http://theeco-senior.blogspot.com/2013/11/senior-discounts-us-and-canada.html   and click on The Eco-Senior: Senior discounts US and Canada

Phony phone copys bully consumers out of millions

The phone rings and a scary voice on the other end tells you that you owe them money and need to pay up … or else. The caller leads you to believe that a recent loan you took out has come due and that its time to pay or face legal action. Frightening, right?

This terrifying scenario has been experienced by thousands of consumers in recent years due to con artists running the “phantom debt collector” scam. In recent weeks, consumers have contacted Fraud.org in increasing numbers, suggesting the scam is once again on the rise. The fake phone calls started in Maine sometime during the summer.

The phantom debt collection scam comes in a number of variations, but the common element in almost all of them is a claim that a consumer owes money on a debt and needs to pay or else face serious consequences. Often, the scam begins when a consumer inquires about a payday loan or other short-term credit online or over the phone. The Web site or phone number that the consumer contacts may or may not be associated with a legitimate lender. Regardless of whether the consumer actually takes out a loan, he or she may receive a call later demanding money be paid. Since consumers interested in payday loans are often financially strapped, they may be susceptible to such demands whether or not they actually took out a loan.

Even for consumers who do not have outstanding debts, the con artists are threatening and convincing and have led some consumers to wonder whether someone has taken out loans in their name. In cases where a consumer actually does have outstanding loans, the scam artist may claim that the victim owes far more in fees and interest than he or she actually does. In other cases, the victim of the scam may be behind on a loan, but the caller has no authority to actually collect on the debt. No matter the consumer’s actual situation, skilled con artists are convincing them to hand over precious cash to settle the “debt.” Scammers often demand payment on these phantom debts via wire transfer, credit or debit card.  Consumers may believe these calls because the scammers have some personal details about them.

Consumers should be on the lookout for these scams. Here are some tips for spotting and avoiding being a victim:

  • If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a debt collector, ask for the person’s name and address, the company they represent and the original creditor (if indeed you have an outstanding loan). If they can’t provide this information, hang up;
  • If you’re concerned about the status of an unpaid debt, hang up and call the creditor back yourself at the phone number provided on your loan paperwork;
  • If the amount demanded is significantly more than the debt you owe, it’s probably a scam;
  • Check your credit report. If the debt the caller claims you owe is not listed on there, it’s probably a scam;
  • Don’t be intimidated if the debt collector is abusive or threatens legal action or arrest. Request that written notice of the debt be mailed to you and tell them that you do not wish to be contacted again about the debt. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector must respect this request.
  • If you suspect that the caller is a phantom debt collector, hang up and report the scam to Fraud.org.

4 scams to look out for during Medicare Open Enrollment

4 Scams to Look Out For During Medicare Open Enrollment

Con artists and scammers are constantly inventing new ways to take advantage of elderly people.

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period offers the perfect opportunity to dupe seniors. Identity thieves are targeting Medicare recipients for their personal and financial information, then running up huge bills in their names before anyone is the wiser.

Here are some common scams that target seniors during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period:

Scam:
An “official Medicare agent” knocks on a senior’s door. The agent says she’s selling Medicare insurance that can save the senior thousands of dollars in healthcare costs next year. The offer is only good during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period.

Fact:
There are no Medicare sales representatives. Ignore cold calls. If you haven’t asked for an agent to contact you, federal law prohibits an agent from trying to sell to you — whether it’s a phone call, an e-mail or a knock on your front door. If an agent tries to sell you something on behalf of Medicare, you should report that person to authorities.

Scam:
A senior receives a call that says they must have a prescription drug coverage plan or they will lose their other Medicare benefits. If the senior doesn’t join a plan during enrollment time, their Medicare benefits will be terminated.

Fact:
If someone says you must join or you’ll lose your other Medicare benefits, it’s a scam. The Medicare prescription drug benefit is voluntary. It supplements your other Medicare benefits.

Scam:
A senior gets a call from someone claiming that the senior Medicare recipient is owed a $250 refund because they’ve reached the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole.” The senior is asked to provide her birth date, Social Security number, bank account and Medicare numbers so the refund can be automatically deposited into her checking account.

Fact:
Medicare will never call and ask for your Medicare or social security number. No senior should ever give their Medicare number to any caller. Guard your personal information. Treat Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security numbers like a credit card number, and should never give these out to a stranger. If someone claims to be with Medicare and asks for your information, ask for their name and report it to 1-800-MEDICARE. Seniors won’t be issued new Medicare cards and do not need to register with anyone to receive the $250 rebate check. The check will be mailed directly to each senior at their home after they hit the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole.”

Scam:
A senior receives some official-looking brochures about new Medicare products that available at a discounted price during Medicare open enrollment.

Fact:
Don’t be fooled by sales materials that look like they’re from the government. Con artists often try to impress consumers with official-looking sales materials that look like they’re from a government agency. Private companies – not the government – sell Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Be skeptical of promotional materials claiming to come from the government.

Another thing to bear in mind during the 2014 Medicare Open Enrollment Period:Medicare beneficiaries need not (and cannot) enroll in health insurance plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace created by Obamacare. No one is allowed to attempt to sell a Marketplace plan to an individual who already has Medicare.

For more information check out www.agingcare.com or sign up for their newsletter.

Avoid falling for phone scams

According to Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols, phone scams are on the rise and tracing them is near impossible. ” They use numbers that are false, in other words they appear to be from one particular location but the number is just a front.  You can’t trace it back, and when you take the time to do it, they originate out of the country,” explained Nichols.

The caller says they are from the State Attorney’s Office of Criminal Investigation and that legal charges were being brought against the recipient’s name and social security number.  The caller went on to say that it was extremely urgent that the recipient or their attorney return the call immediately or prosecution would be the next step in the criminal case.

Nichols said the Attorney General’s Office does NOT contact people.. “Their job is to take reports, not generate them.  If they really needed to talk with you, they would send an investigator,” he said.

The Maine Attorney General’s office says one of the more common scams involves an offer to lower credit card interest rates.  An automated phone call will state that the call is coming from a company like “card services” or ” card holder services”.  The caller will report that interest rates on credit cards can be lowered but that a credit card number, social security number or other personal information will be needed.  The Maine Attorney’s office advises to never give out credit card or bank information base on an automated call.

“Don’t be fooled by scammers who contact you and already know your social security number, date of birth or other personal information,” Nichols said.  Even if a phone call appears legitimate, Nichols advises people to hang up and then call a number that is known to be associated with the agency or group rather than the number the caller provides.

Websites and emails that appear very similar to those from legitimate companies ( such as Microsoft)  are also used to con people out of their personal and financial information.

 

Getting the flu shot is important for seniors

The U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state 90 percent of deaths due to influenza occur in people 65 years of age or older. Six out of 10 people who are hospitalized for flu-related problems are older adults, last year 215,000 seniors were hospitalized as a result of severe complications. The flu is especially dangerous for people with chronic conditions, like heart or pulmonary disease, or diabetes. Our immune system weakens with age making it more difficult for older adults to fight illnesses.

Reality is the flu is easy to catch: It’s passed from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or contact with fl­uids from an infected person’s mouth or nose. It is important for everyone to take preventive measures — like washing your hands often, staying away from people who are sick, and encouraging others to cover their coughs. An annual vaccination is still the best way to prevent the flu. As an added bonus — if you get a flu shot, it helps protect your family and everyone around you. Anyone who is around someone with a chronic condition and grandparents who care for grandchildren should get a flu shot. Do it for others, if not for yourself.

There is a flu vaccine made specifically for people age 65 and older. It improves the body’s production of antibodies against the flu. This higher-dose vaccine contains four times the antigen compared with the traditional, standard-dose vaccine. Antibodies help your immune system protect you against infection when exposed to the virus. Most people have minimal or no side effects after receiving the higher-dose vaccine. The most common side effects include swelling, or redness at the injection site, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, or fever.

The higher-dose shot for seniors is available through your doctor, your workplace clinic, local pharmacies, or other flu shot clinics. Medicare Part B covers the full cost of one flu shot per flu season. You pay nothing for the shot, so be sure to ask in advance if your doctor, clinic or other health care provider accepts Medicare.

Your doctor can explain who should not get a flu shot. Anyone with a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine component, including eggs, egg products, or to a previous dose of any flu vaccine, should consult their physician for options to consider. Anyone who has experienced Guillain-Barré syndrome (severe muscle weakness) after a previous flu shot, also should not get a shot. If you notice any other problems or symptoms after a shot, contact your health care professional immediately.

The flu season can start in early fall and peaks in January or February, but can continue well into the spring. It takes approximately two weeks following a flu shot to produce a protective immune response. Even if you don’t get a flu shot early in the season, it is still recommended that you get a shot into the winter months and beyond.

It is essential to get a flu shot every year because the flu viruses usually change from season to season, and protection from the vaccine decreases over time. A new vaccine is made each year to protect against the strains that are expected to cause disease. Immunity to ­flu viruses weakens after a year, so an annual shot is important—even if the same viruses are used in the vaccine. Keep in mind that the fl­u shot does not contain the live virus, so it is impossible to get the flu from the shot. To learn more about the flu, or the special flu vaccine for seniors, go to: http://ncoa.org/flu, or www.cdc.gov/Flu .

 

Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls

Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls

Many people think falls are a normal part of aging. The truth is, they’re not.

Most falls can be prevented—and you have the power to reduce your risk.

Exercising, managing your medications, having your vision checked, and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

Every year on the first day of fall, we celebrate National Falls Prevention Awareness Day to bring attention to this growing public health issue. To promote greater awareness and understanding here are 10 common myths—and the reality—about older adult falls:

Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me.

Reality: Many people think, “It won’t happen to me.” But the truth is that 1 in 3 older adults—about 12 million—fall every year in the U.S.

Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older.

Reality: Falling is not a normal part of aging. Strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.

Reality: Some people believe that the best way to prevent falls is to stay at home and limit activity. Not true. Performing physical activities will actually help you stay independent, as your strength and range of motion benefit from remaining active. Social activities are also good for your overall health.

Myth 4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling.

Reality: Over half of all falls take place at home. Inspect your home for fall risks. Fix simple but serious hazards such as clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting. Make simple home modifications, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.

Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can’t be regained.

Reality: While we do lose muscle as we age, exercise can partially restore strength and flexibility. It’s never too late to start an exercise program. Even if you’ve been a “couch potato” your whole life, becoming active now will benefit you in many ways—including protection from falls.

Myth 6: Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.

Reality: Taking any medication may increase your risk of falling. Medications affect people in many different ways and can sometimes make you dizzy or sleepy. Be careful when starting a new medication. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects or interactions of your medications.

Myth 7: I don’t need to get my vision checked every year.

Reality: Vision is another key risk factor for falls. Aging is associated with some forms of vision loss that increase risk of falling and injury. People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update your eyeglasses. For those with low vision there are programs and assistive devices that can help. Ask your optometrist for a referral.

Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.

Reality: Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve their mobility. However, make sure you use these devices safely. Have a physical therapist fit the walker or cane to you and instruct you in its safe use.

Myth 9: I don’t need to talk to family members or my health care provider if I’m concerned about my risk of falling. I don’t want to alarm them, and I want to keep my independence.

Reality: Fall prevention is a team effort. Bring it up with your doctor, family, and anyone else who is in a position to help. They want to help you maintain your mobility and reduce your risk of falling.

Myth 10: I don’t need to talk to my parent, spouse, or other older adult if I’m concerned about their risk of falling. It will hurt their feelings, and it’s none of my business.

Reality: Let them know about your concerns and offer support to help them maintain the highest degree of independence possible. There are many things you can do, including removing hazards in the home, finding a fall prevention program in the community, or setting up a vision exam.

For more information check out ncoa.org.

 

12 Medications that may increase fall risk in older adults

12 Medications That May Increase Fall Risk in Older Adults

Of the 20 medications that are most frequently prescribed to older adults, over half may increase fall injury risk, say researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

One-third of Americans over 65 take a tumble each year, and falling represents the largest source of fatal and nonfatal injury among older adults. Preventing falls in this population remains a top priority for health care providers and caregivers alike.

Jette Moller, study author and lecturer with the Department of Public Health Sciences at Karolinska, points out that a person’s age, sex and health condition(s) can all compound fall risk, though these factors are largely uncontrollable. On the other hand, proper medication management could be a simple way to improve an older adult’s chances of staying safely on their feet.

Fall-inducing pharmaceuticals

Polypharmacy—taking too many medications—is a common problem for older adults. Over 76 percent of Americans age 60 and older take two or more prescription drugs on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and thirty-seven percent take five or more.

“Polypharmacy been suggested to increase the risk for fall in several ways; increased risk for inappropriate medications (i.e. fall risk inducing drugs), increased risk of side-effects and interactions between medications, and also that compliance to prescription might decrease with increased number of prescribed medications,” says Moller.

Drugs that affect the central nervous system—antidepressants, hypnotics and opioids—have long topped the list of pharmaceuticals that may increase fall risk, along with diuretics, constipation medications and NSAIDs. The Karolinska study, which tracked the medical records of more than 64,000 Swedes who’d been hospitalized because of a fall, uncovered surprising new links between fall injuries and vitamin B12, calcium, antithrombotics, and GERD and peptic ulcer drugs.

The list of commonly prescribed drugs that may enhance fall injury risk, according to Moller’s research, is as follows:

  1. Antithrombotic agents
  2. Drugs for peptic ulcer and GERD
  3. High ceiling diuretics
  4. NSAIDs (women only)
  5. Vitamin B12 and folic acid
  6. Constipation drugs
  7. Calcium
  8. Hypnotics and sedatives:
  9. Analgesics and antipyretics
  10. Opioids
  11. Antidepressants
  12. Thyroid hormones (men only)

Of course, any medication that causes drowsiness, dizziness, vision problems, gait disturbance (ataxia), hypotension, or one that increases bleeding risk or exacerbates osteoporosis could potentially up the chances of experiencing a harmful fall.

Which causes the fall, disease or drug?

Eliminating these drugs from the prescription repertoire of an aging adult may not be a realistic option. For instance, warfarin, a popular antithrombotic, is highly-effective in inhibiting the formation of dangerous blood clots in people with heart conditions and those who’ve had a stroke.

Doctors must constantly weigh the benefits and drawbacks of every medication they prescribe, and, in many cases, there are no alternative drugs for them to consider. “Although we can assume that the risk for individual patients to sustain injurious falls would be minimized by not prescribing these medications, they may still remain essential in other critical aspects of health and well-being,” Moller explains.

Then there’s the chicken-and-egg problem of trying to determine what’s to blame for a fall: a particular drug, or the condition that the drug was prescribed to treat. “To develop effective preventive programs it is important to know if it is the medication that increases the risk or the health impairment the medication is prescribed for,” says Moller.

Brown bag it

For people taking multiple medications, the importance of discussing prescriptions with your doctor(s) and doing a periodic “brown bag checkup” with your pharmacist cannot be overstated.

AgingCare.com Expert, Dr. Vik Rajan offers the following list of questions to ask your physician to avoid polypharmacy:

  • Which medications am I taking and why?
  • How necessary is each medication? Can any be removed?
  • Could any of these medications be interacting with each other in a negative way?
  • Could any of my symptoms or conditions potentially be caused by the medications I’m taking?

Making an appointment with your local pharmacist to bring all of your medications (over-the-counter and prescription) for a “brown bag checkup” is another way to identify possible medication problems.

For more information check out agingcare.com.

 

September is Falls Prevention Month

Preventing Falls in an Elderly Person’s Home

Caregivers can do several things to make the home safer for their senior mom or dad.

  • Install safety bars, grab bars or handrails in the shower or bath.
  • Put no-stick tape on the floor in the tub.
  • Use a stool riser seat to make getting on and off the toilet easier.
  • Install at least one stairway handrail that extends beyond the first and last steps.
  • Make sure stairs are sturdy with strong hand railings.
  • Be sure that stairwells are well-lit. Consider making the lighting in your home brighter to aid vision.
  • Make sure rugs, including those on stairs, are tacked to the floor.
  • Remove loose throw rugs.
  • Avoid clutter. Remove any furniture that is not needed. All remaining furniture should be stable and without sharp corners, to minimize the effects of a fall.
  • Change the location of furniture, so that your elderly parent can hold on to something as they move around the house.
  • Do not have electrical cords trailing across the floor. Have additional base plugs installed so long cords are not necessary.
  • Have your parent wear non-slip shoes or slippers, rather than walking around in stocking feet.
  • Make sure all rooms have adequate lighting. Consider motion-sensitive lights that come on when a person enters a room. Use night lights in every room.
  • Keep frequently used items in easy-to-reach cabinets.
  • Use a grasping tool to get at out-of-reach items, rather than a chair or stepladder.
  • Keep the water heater thermostat set at 120 degrees F, or lower, to avoid scalding and burns.
  • Wipe up spills and remove broken glass immediately.

For more information check out agingcare.com.