Preventig Senior ER Visits

 

Dear Donna:

My 88-year old mother lives near Grand Haven, Michigan. I live with my family in Saline, Michigan. In the past six months she has ended up in the emergency department of the hospital seven different times for problems ranging from falls to mismanaging her medication. It is difficult to get to her quickly when I live so far away. These frequent emergencies are causing real problems for me at work. My boss was sympathetic at first, but it has happened too many times. I’m concerned I could lose my job over this. With two kids in college, we can’t afford for me to be without it.

One of my colleagues suggested I look at nursing homes for my mother, but our HR Director told me she recently moved her father to assisted living after he was falling repeatedly at home. She said they have been able to help him significantly reduce the number of falls he has and his overall health has improved.

My question for you is can an assisted living community really help reduce trips to the ER?

Jamie in Saline, Michigan

Dear Jamie:

Your situation is one that is common among for the sandwich generation. It is a tough spot to be in! To answer your question, “yes” assisted living can help support the activities of daily living and provide a safer, more secure environment.

In your mother’s case, the two things you mentioned were a history of falls and problems managing her medications. Those are two areas an assisted living partner can help you better manage.

First, let’s talk about medication management. It is one of the number one reasons adult children explore senior living for an aging parent. At home, it is easy to miss a dosage or to accidentally take double doses of a medication. Assisted living communities have medication management programs in place. They will ensure your mother takes the right dose at the right time.

Next we move on to the issue of falls. Seniors can experience a fall for many reasons or for a combination of reasons. Mismanaging and forgetting to take important medications like blood pressure is one. Poor nutrition that leads to decreased muscle mass and weakness is another. The physical layout of older homes isn’t always a good fit for seniors. Poorly lit hallways, too many stairs, uneven floors, and bathrooms without grab bars are just a few of the problems that can contribute to falls. Residents in an assisted living community benefit from having well-balanced meals, in-house, age-appropriate exercise programs, and an environment designed to support safety.

I hope this information helps, Jamie! Please call the Heritage Senior Community closest to you or your mother if you have any more questions!

Donna

 

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