I’ve found the reason people enter the senior living industry is to help our older generations thrive in their senior years.  Unfortunately, too often, these communities don’t have much time to do this.  One research report found that approximately 60% of residents will move out of assisted living to transition to a skilled nursing center after a median stay around 22 months, .​ (AHCA/NCAL).  If we can address some typical health issues for senior living residents –  or take steps to help minimize injuries that lead to health issues – the resident and the community benefit.  Not only will the resident feel better and have a better quality of life, but a safer, stronger and healthier resident will stay in the community longer. 

A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 24 percent of residents left assisted living communities over the course of 12 months. 

  • 1/3 of all residents who left on a yearly basis either died in the community or elsewhere 
  • Most of the remainder who left went to a nursing home or some other residential care setting or ALF. The need for more care was the most common reason cited by respondents for leaving an ALF. 

An article in Senior Housing News points out that “For young, healthy people, nine out of 10 times, (primary care visits) are wellness visits…But for seniors, the focus of primary care is chronic care management…in general the term applies to severe, persisting conditions, everything from hypertension to arthritis to dementia to ALS. As people age, these conditions multiply: it is common for senior living residents to have between four and eight conditions.”

According to government statistics the impact of falls on seniors’ health is well documented and is one of the most common causes of chronic conditions – and death!  In fact the number of deaths among seniors increased about 30% from 2009 to 2018Stating that as the U.S. population aged ≥65 years increases, the study’s recommendations to address the rising number of deaths from falls in this age group include: 

  • Talk to your doctor
  • Do strength and balance exercises
  • Have your eyes checked
  • Make your home safer

The CDC continues by saying that “most falls are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling.” So at Odom Rehab we are committed to minimizing falls and the risk of chronic conditions. Here are 3 ways we do this.  

  • Assess the safety of the resident’s environment 
  • Provide therapy to improve strength and balance
  • OT that helps seniors adapt to changes in vision

We’ll go into more detail next month about the specifics of how we address these 3 areas.