Visit any retirement community, and you’ll hear one common fear among residents: falls. For many older people, a fall can lead to injury, decline, and a loss of independence. That’s why it’s an area of research focus at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research.
Brad Manor, Ph.D., is an associate scientist at the Marcus Institute. He’s investigating new treatments to alleviate the burden of balance decline that often accompanies biological aging, particularly among those with Parkinson’s disease.
People 65 years old and older take prescribed medications more frequently than any other age group in the United States. Medications can play a critical role in quality of life for older adults, but often times, prescribed medications can cause unintentional harm. Sarah Berry, M.D., M.P.H. is Associate Director, Musculoskeletal Research Center at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She is studying risk and benefit factors for certain drug therapies among nursing home populations.
More than 265,000 older adults fracture a hip each year in the United States, with associated health-care costs estimated at more than $20 billion annually. About 20 percent of those die within a year, and more than 75 percent never recover their ability to function day to day. “A large proportion of fall deaths are due to complications following a hip fracture,” says the Center for Disease Control. “One in five hip fracture patients dies within a year of their injury.”
For patients returning home from a hospital stay, the last thing they or their families want is a return visit to the hospital or the emergency room.
At Hebrew SeniorLife Home Care, our goal is to keep seniors from returning to the hospital by providing the in-home medical treatment, therapy, and help with the essential activities they need to recover. Whether an individual is diagnosed with a new illness, recovering from surgery, or chronically or terminally ill, home health care services can be invaluable.
Every morning I wake up and stare inquisitively at myself in the mirror. And every morning, someone who looks alarmingly like my mother stares right back.
Now to be fair, I’ve always born a striking resemblance to my mom, though it seems to intensify with each passing day. She and I also share similar voices, similar handwriting, and the same inability to turn down anything made with chocolate.
And now, according to researchers at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) along with several other institutions, my mother and I will most likely share similar chances of developing sarcopenia in our later years.
For thirty years, the incidence of hip fractures in older adults had been in decline. That is, until recently. Since 2012, that number has hit a plateau, which is very concerning to Dr. Douglas P. Kiel, Director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research. According to Dr. Kiel, “By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture is projected to increase by 310% in men and 240% in women compared to rates in 1990.”
When Josephine Pina of Boston spotted an ad in the Metro newspaper seeking individuals who had difficulty with thinking and who moved slower than usual, she immediately contacted the staff at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew Senior Life. They were investigating the link between brain function, balance and falls in older adults. “I wanted to be part of the study and to see what the brain does at 67 years old,” she said.
Recently, researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) published an article in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation giving evidence that sub-sensory vibrations delivered to the foot soles of seniors can improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls in the elderly.
As parents, watching our children take their first steps is one of the proudest, most gratifying moments imaginable. As adult children, watching our parents begin to lose their footing is one of the most concerning. Those who find themselves at this juncture are often left wondering what to do and where to turn for more information.
To help with this dilemma, we’ve asked Timothy Parke, Rehab Clinical Supervisor at Orchard Cove and a Board Certified Specialist in geriatric physical therapy to answer some fundamental questions about assistive devices.