Health Articles & Tips

For people with disabilities and older adults
Falls are the leading cause of injury and accidental death in adults over the age of 65 years. New or unfamiliar surroundings, improper footwear, cumbersome furniture arrangements and distractions all can cause a person to accidentally stumble and fall, causing serious injury and even death. However, implementing a few prevention practices at home can decrease a person’s risk of an unnecessary fall.

What can a person do to prevent falling?
Do not walk and talk at the same time. Concentrate on the task of walking and continue the conversation after you’ve reached a safe place. Wear appropriate footwear. When walking long distances or in unfamiliar areas, wear flat, nonslip shoes. Also wear shoes that fit well and are comfortable. Arrange furniture so that it creates plenty of room to walk freely. If you use a walking aid, ensure that doorways and hallways are large enough to get through with any devices you may use. Install railings in hallways and grab bars in the bathroom and shower to prevent slipping. Be sure you have adequate lighting throughout your house. Install nonslip strips or a rubber mat on the floor of the tub or shower. Remove throw rugs or secure them firmly to the floor. Use caution when carrying items while walking. Use a nightlight when getting out of bed at night. Stay active to maintain overall strength and endurance. Know your limitations. If there is a task you can not complete with ease, do not risk a fall by trying to complete it.

Need More Information?
If you would like to consult a physical and/or occupational therapist about making your home safer, practitioners are available through most hospitals, community clinics and medical centers.
Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are trained in helping both adults and children with a broad range of physical, developmental and behavioral conditions. Practioners also help patients in wellness techniques that may prevent injury.

  • Have your blood pressure checked on schedule
  • Stay physically active
  • Do moderate-intensity exercises for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week
  • Develop a simple walking plan
  • Use stairs instead of elevators
  • Park your car so you have to do some walking
  • Enjoy everyday exercises, such as gardening, dancing and housework
  • Avoid all tobacco smoke
  • If you smoke, quit
  • If you don’t smoke, don’t start
  • Stay clear of second hand smoke
  • Take high blood pressure medications as directed
  • Reduce salt in food
  • Watch out for both table salt and sodium
  • Have less than 2,400 milligrams of all sodium a day
  • LLClude kosher salt and sea salt when adding up your sodium intake
  • Choose fresh or plain frozen vegetables
  • Eat fresh poultry, fish and lean meat
  • Flavor foods with herbs and spices
  • Keep the salt shaker off the table
  • Cook rice, pasta and hot cereals without salt
  • Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta and cereal mixes
  • Avoid frozen dinners high in salt
  • Limit processed foods like canned and instant soups
  • Cut back on salty snacks
  • Look for food labels that say low, light, reduced sodium, sodium free or unsalted
  • Check with your doctor before using salt substitutes
  • Limit baking soda, soy sauce, MSG and seasoned salts
  • Check antacids for sodium content
  • Use fewer store-bought sauces and mixes
  • Rinse salt from canned foods
  • Limit smoked, cured or processed beef, pork or poultry
  • Aim for a daily intake of 7-8 servings of grains and grain products, 4-5 servings of vegetables, 4-5 servings of fruit, 2-3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, 2 or less servings of meat, poultry and fish
  • Have 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds and dry beans a week
  • Have 2-3 servings of fats and oils daily
  • Have 5 servings of sweets a week
  • Add extra fruits, vegetables and grains to your diet gradually to avoid bloating and diarrhea
  • Add a vegetable or fruit serving at meals
  • If you have trouble digesting dairy products, try milk with added lactase enzyme
  • Choose whole-grain foods
  • Enjoy fruits for desserts
  • Treat meat as one part of a meal, not the focus
  • Have 2 or more meatless meals a week
  • Lose excess weight
  • Aim to lose no more than 2 lbs. per week
  • Add physical activites and reduce calore intake for a steady weight loss
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Use smaller plates so portions look larger
  • Eat slowly
  • Have a glass of water before meals
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • Buy fruits canned in their own juices
  • Limit foods with lots of added sugar, such as candy bars and fruit drinks
  • Snack on fruits, vegetables, unbuttered and unsalted popcorn
  • Use fat-free salad dressings
  • Select low-fat or fat-free condiments
  • Use food labels to compare fat content, calories and sodium in packaged foods
  • Add fruit to plain yogurt
  • Drink water and club soda
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Buy fat-free or low-fat cheeses
  • Eat fruits and vegetables without butter or sauces
  • Choose lean cuts of meat, fish, skinless turkey and chicken
  • When eating out avoid fried foods
  • Ask for fat-free rather than whole milk
  • Trim all the visible fat from poultry or meat
  • Order dishes without butter, gravy and sauces
  • Request salad dressing on the side
  • Ask that less cooking oil be used
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages have no more than 1 drink a day for women, 2 for mean
  • Keep stress in check
  • Try meditation
  • Learn about blood pressure
  • Make time to relax
  • Set goals to help lower your blood pressure and when you reach them reward yourself!
More than 130 million Americans suffer from chronic, or frequently occurring, pain. Chronic pain creates both physical and psychological problems that affect whether a person can engage in meaningful activities each day. Pain can decrease a person’s strength, coordination and independence in addition to causing stress that may lead to depression.

With the help of physical or occupational therapy, people with chronic pain can learn to manage the physical and psychological effects and lead active and productive lives. Many people with chronic pain already have received treatment with medication, surgery, heat, cold, nerve stimulation and massage. What many have not yet learned is how management of daily activities and lifestyle can contribute to successful, long-term coping with pain.

What can a physical or occupational therapist do?

  • Identify specific activities or behaviors that aggravate pain and suggest alternatives.
  • Teach methods for decreasing the frequency and duration of painful episodes.
  • Implement therapy interventions that may decrease dependence on or use of pain medications.
  • Facilitate the development of better function for daily activities.
  • Collaborate with the patient’s team of health care professionals, such as physicians, therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists, to determine the best course of treatment and intervention.
  • Recommend and teach the client how to use adaptive equipment to decrease pain while performing tasks such as reaching, dressing, bathing and performing household chores.

What can a person with chronic pain do?

  • Develop and practive a lifestyle based on wellness, which includes plenty of rest, exercise, healthy nutrition and maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Practice techniques to decrease the intensity of pain.
  • Organize a daily routine with personal pain management goals, such as eliminating or modifying activities that use a lot of energy and implementing body mechanics that move the body in ways that are less likely to aggravate pain.
  • Exercise to increase strength and flexibility and to reduce pain.
  • Practice relaxation techniques that calm the mind and reduce tensions that aggravate pain.

Need More Information?
Chronic pain is a serious problem that should not go untreated. If you would like to consult a physical and/or occupational therapist about pain management, practitioners are available through most hospitals, community clinics and medical centers.

Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are trained in helping both adults and children with a broad range of physical, developmental and psychological conditions.

Stroke may cause temporary or permanent weakness or paralysis on one side of the body. A person who has suffered a stroke may have difficulty caring for himself or herself, such as bathing, dressing and managing a household or job. Stroke can affect a person’s vision, memory, speech and muscle strength, as well as his or her ability to drive a car safely and engage in typical leisure activities.

Occupational and physical therapists are trained in helping people lead as independent a life a possible. Occupational and physical therapists can help stroke survivors regain their strength to again engage in daily activities.

What can a physical or occupational therapist do?

  • Recommend equipment for the home that can aid a person in completing taskes, such as dressing, bathing, preparing meals and driving.
  • Fabricate a customized splint to improve hand function.
  • Evaluate the home for safety hazards and adapt the home by removing hazards that could cause further injury.
  • Provide training that improves the ability to complete daily tasks.
  • Build a person’s physical endurance and strength.
  • Help a person compensate for vision and memory loss.
  • Provide activities that rebuild self-confidence and self-esteem.

What can family and friends do?

  • Participate in stroke education classes to become better aware of how a stroke affects a person.
  • Encourage a stroke survivor to practice tasks to increase strength and endurance and to speed recovery.
  • Consult a physicaly or occupational therapist about how to help a person who has suffered a stroke to participate in meaningful daily activities and taskes.

Need More Information?

A person who has suffered a stroke may take months or even years to recover, depending on the severity of the stroke. Both the stroke survivor and his or her family should be involved in the recovery and rehabilitation. If you would like to consult a physical and/or occupational therapist, practitioners are available through most hospitals, community clinics and medical centers.

Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are trained in helping adults and children with a broad range of issues, such as arthritis, traumatic brain injury and mood disorders. Practitioners also help clients in wellness techniques that may prevent injury and disease.