Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Aging Population


"Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone mass and strength causing increased susceptibility to fractures. It is the major cause of bone fractures in older people, especially postmenopausal women." Statistics say that more than 11 million people over the age of 65 fall every year . Falls can cause wide-ranging consequences, decreased activity and mobility, horrendous pain, loss of independence and mental depression. Many accidents happen within the home, that is why it is important to look around your home for hazards that could lead to a fall, and correct them. Preventing falls is important at any age, but it is especially important for those who have osteoporosis, because their bones are more fragile and easily broken.

Here are a few suggestions to prevent falls.

1. Use a bath chair or stool in the shower as well as install grab bars to get into and out of the tub..
2. Avoid using slippery socks or slippers, especially on bare floors.
3. Never walk in the dark -its much safer to turn on the light.
4. Make sure all scatter rugs have skidproof backing on them or tack them to the floor.
5. Add strips of color to edge of wooden or concrete steps to enhance the visibility of each step.
6.Take your time when going up or down the stairs, and most of all get a good grip on the handrail. Also wear appropriate glasses.
7. A soap bar is the culprit for many falls in the shower stall or tub. The best thing for this is to buy soap on a rope, or put a bar of soap in a nylon stocking with one end tied to a towel bar, also put strips in the bottom of the tub and shower.
8. Make sure all extension chords are away from walk area.
9. Keep everything within reach, to avoid falls.
If you are unsteady outdoors, use a cane to negotiate sidewalk cracks and curbs.
11. Have all spills cleaned up immediately.
12. Wear clothing with suitable length, so you don't trip.

Abuse of the Elderly

Abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere. Abuse of an elder can happen in their own home, in a family's home, a boarding home, or nursing home facility.Frail, debilitated older people may at times be incapable of helping themselves at all and are subjected to neglect, physical and psychological abuse as well as financial exploitation. They too are no exception in this world of violence and abuse. Perpetrators of abuse directed toward the elderly may be their own family members, professional caregivers, etc. These abuses are present at home as well as in care facilities. Rough handling, use of physical restraints, harassment, cursing, insulting, Inadequate provision of food or water, delay of medical care, Inadequate help with hygiene or bathing , forcing them to remain in their urine and feces, by not changing their diapers.

Because elderly people are sometimes unable to hear or see well or to be as forceful physically or verbally as they used to be, they are easy targets for exploitation by family members as well as their so called care-givers. Through scamming, the elder person’s bank account is depleted, credit cards abused, their Social Security checks and pension checks that come through the mail are stolen; they are forced into signing a contract that would create a financial commitment, as well as being duped into making a will which under normal conditions would not have been done that would favor the exploiter.

Dealing with an aging elderly parent is not easy, but because you love them and respect them as your parents, you hang in there and pray for wisdom. Listening to their endless stories, nonsensical or repetitive questions can truly drive you up the wall. As people age, they start to feel left out of the normal activities of their friends and family. So please as difficult as it can be, try to be patient and above all never forget to be respectful toward your aging parent. Most of all make sure they are safe. Remember you are doing for them, what they did for you when you were younger, loving you, caring for you, making sure you had a nice warm home, and so on. Though you might not think so, life is much harder for the aging population, than it is for you. So make time today to give mom , dad or your grandparents a warm hug. Don't worry if they don't understand the reason why, at least it will make you feel good.


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