The elderly are accustomed to the environment where they live. And it makes them blind to the risks around them.
This guideline toolkit helps the caregivers and patients find the hidden dangers in their environment and everyday hazards of daily life, and it helps reduce the potential for devastating falls.
Also, it can inspire caregivers and patients to re-design their environment. Small changes such as installing a grab bar on the wall or adjusting seat height or angle can improve daily living.
Often, osteoporosis goes un-noticed until an individual sustains a bone fracture from a fall. These falls can cause serious problems, including death. Prevention is the best way to protect against this silent disease.
There are 3 types of risk factors that can lead to falls in the elderly.
- Health-based risks:
These include balance problems, weakness, chronic illnesses, vision problems, and medication side-effects. Also, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and low blood pressure are risk factors for falling.
- Environmental risks: These are things like home hazards (e.g. loose throw rugs, dim lights, the height of chair), outside hazards, or risky footwear (e.g. high heels). This category can also include improper use of a walker, cane, or other assistive devices.
- Triggers: These are the sudden or occasional events that cause a challenge to balance or strength. They can be things like a strong dog pulling on a leash or even health-related events like a moment of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in a person with diabetes.
There are lots of various reasons for fractures caused by falls, and I’ve considered environmental risks. If we provide comprehensive information with a guideline toolkit about re-designing the environment(place) around a patient, it can help patients and caregivers recognize the risks. Using this guideline toolkit, they can personalize solutions for their own needs.
After the refinement phase
<Fortify your life> was started from helping patients discover the environmental risks and improve them. But after digging further into this project, and reading the patient’s interview compilation, I realized that we need to be considerate of the patients can accept that they can accept their physical, emotional, social changes.
I think these patients wanted to know what's going on with their bodies and required resources for self-education. So I tried to develop comprehensive information to be practical to implement.
This will decreases patients’ fear and increase their awareness.
<Fortify your life> is made of two categories :
- Comprehensive information: Integrate information about osteoporosis, diet, medicine, related support groups, hospitals, and nurses near you.
- Guideline toolkit: Checklists and suggestions with images to promote help to visual-thinking. It allows the patient to discover environmental risks.
<Fortify your life> can be distributed from local senior centers and libraries, and it can be used in education programs in the hospital. Also, it can be downloaded or used online. And it provides connections to vendors through curation services on online, simplifying the process of purchasing assistive devices and support.