Even the healthiest of seniors can find themselves in the emergency department of a local hospital. There are a variety of reasons why it may happen. But when an older adult makes multiple trips to the ER, it might be time to accept that aging in place isn’t always the safest solution.
Why Do Seniors End Up in the Emergency Room?
Seniors are finding themselves a patient in a hospital’s emergency department in growing numbers. In fact, newer studies show that the number of hospitalized seniors doubled over the last ten years. Adults over the age of 75 now make up the majority of admissions to hospital emergency rooms nationwide.
What is behind this worrisome trend?
While there are a variety of reasons why older adults are sent to the ER, falls continue to be at the top of the list. For the loved ones of seniors, fall statistics are alarming. Research shows that every 13 seconds an older adult in the U.S. is treated for an injury they suffered during a fall.
Medication problems, pneumonia, and complications from surgery are other leading reasons seniors end up in an emergency room.
Can Assisted Living Communities Help Prevent ER Trips?
While there are never any guarantees that a senior won’t end up in the hospital, there is promising research to show how important the right type of environment is. Over half of all ER visits would not require hospital intervention if an alternative source of care were readily available. A more supportive environment, like that of an assisted living community, can help prevent many of the ER visits older adults experience.
Another congressional study showed that almost 25% of hospital admissions could have been prevented if the older adult had received better care. Often times it is a lack of support to manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that lands a senior in the ER. Assisted living can help by working with the resident to manage their condition and to coordinate and monitor their medications.
Other ways an assisted living community can help seniors live healthier lives and avoid the ER include:
- Healthy Meals: Seniors who live alone are less likely to eat well-balanced meals. It might be due to problems preparing healthy foods on their own or because of a lack of transportation to the grocery store. We know that poor nutrition is linked to a greater risk of falls, poor healing of wounds and health conditions such as heart disease. Assisted living communities, including Randall Residence, offer tasty, well-balanced meals that promote better nutrition among residents.
- 24/7 Caregiver Support: Quick and easy access to assistance also helps prevent emergencies that can land a senior in the hospital. It might be a helping hand to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night or transportation to a doctor’s office to keep a small medical issue from becoming a bigger one.
- Physical Plant: Assisted living communities are designed with the safety of older adults in mind. Inside you will find grab bars in the bathrooms and often at the bedside. Handrails in hallways keep seniors safer walking longer distances. Barrier-free showers help reduce the risk for a fall getting in to or out of the shower. Emergency call systems in every apartment allow residents to quickly summon help if it is needed.
- Life Enrichment Activities: Research shows that loneliness is a health risk for seniors. It contributes to health problems that range from diabetes to depression and high blood pressure. With a full calendar of life enrichment programs and activities, assisted living communities keep older adults engaged with life on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
- Wellness Programs: Strength, stamina and balance are all important factors in aging with success. In assisted living communities you will find a variety of daily activities for residents to enjoy. They range from walking groups to Tai Chi, strength training and Chair Yoga. These programs give residents an opportunity to stay fit while socializing with friends.
Why Choose a Randall Residence for a Senior Loved One
If you are wondering why Randall Residence communities in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan should be at the top of your list, we invite you to read more about our family’s proud heritage and commitment to serving seniors. Then call the community nearest you to schedule a personal tour!