I know your initial reaction to this article will be I am just a money grubbing, crass senior housing capitalist that does not care about seniors. This is not true, hear me out. . . .
On January 28, 2013 the Sacramento Bee published an article titled: Deadly falls on the rise among seniors. The article makes the following points:
- California emergency rooms have been flooded with older seniors who have been injured or who have died as the result of a fall.
- From 2000 to 2010 rate of deaths from falls has increased by more than 50% in California and 65% nationally.
- Seniors are living longer and as a result are living with multiple chronic conditions that increase the risk of falling.
- In some cases, the medication seniors are taking for those conditions, increases risk of falling.
- Because we boomers tend to overestimate our abilities, we are less careful, further increasing the risk of falls.
The article then goes on to describe a seven week fall prevention class that UC Davis Medical Center provides seniors. In the class seniors learn and practice exercises that are designed to improve, balance, flexibility and strength.
This emerging trend presents three very real opportunities to address too tackle this problem head-on:
- As a Marketing Outreach - UC Davis is providing this class on their hospital campus, but imagine offering your own fall prevention class at your senior living community as a community outreach. Hold the class in the morning and feed them in your dining room. Include your residents in the class as a way to build connections with these prospective residents.
- A Fall Avoidance Environment - Senior housing communities are designed to both provide maximum freedom of movement and reduce the risk of falls. In the context of these stories and statics you have the opportunity to very specifically contrast the safety seniors have in your community as opposed to home.
- Protecting Your Own Residents - This class should be a “must have” for every senior housing community. First, because it is the right thing to do for your residents; Second, because it will help protect your length of stay; and, Third, it becomes another marketing differentiator, because even though every community should have a formal fall prevention program most won’t.
Do you have a fall prevention or other types of wellness programs that you are using today? How are they working? How do they benefit your community and your residents? You can follow the link to the Stepping On Program
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