Thursday, October 13, 2011
Pets as Falling Risks
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I spend a lot of time in people’s homes helping them identify and remove things that could cause them to fall. One great risk I see is one that most of us wouldn’t part with if our life depended on it- and sometimes it does.
Pets, dogs and cats are an important part of many American families. Often they are a senior’s or a single person’s only live in companion. Unfortunately these wonderful companions can also present a significant hazard.
In 2006 the Center for Disease Control produced a report indicating that over 86,000 falls a year could be attributed to pets and pet items. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5811a1.htm While injuries were more frequent among younger people, the highest fracture rates were among people 75-84 years and up. Most of these fall injuries occurred in or around the home. How unfortunate that the companions that contribute to the well being and mental health of people living at home are also such a large contributor to the physical risks within our homes.
The good news coming out of the study was that the likelihood of pet related falls can be reduced through raising awareness that pets and pet items are a fall risk, identifying activities which are higher risk, and decreasing risk by providing obedience training. In Omaha, NE there are two groups that the Greater Omaha National Safety Council’s FIRST (Fall Intervention Reaching Seniors Together) task force is working with to decrease the number of falls related to pets.
"FIRST has collaborated with the Omaha SPCA to produce a brochure that can be distributed to increase awareness of the correlation between Pets and Falling. The brochure identifies some solutions to share. Call the council at (402) 896-0454 for a copy to share with someone you know is at risk and visit the web site, www.F1RST.com for additional tools to reduce the risk of falling in the home.
Professor Joy D. Doll, OTD, OTR/L and some Occupational Therapy students from the Department of Occupational Therapy School of Pharmacy & Health Professions at Creighton University Medical Center are conducting a research project entitled Exploring the Perceived Impact of Pets as a Hazard in Older Adults Fall Prevention in partnership with F1RST task group. They are seeking individuals 65 and older who own a pet or pets to complete a short and private online survey about falls and pets. All surveys are anonymous and it is strictly confidential and secure.
If you would like to help by taking the survey or passing it on to a person who is over 65, email me and I will send you a link for the survey. BevVan@HomeAccessSolutions.com
So share this information and please pass on the life saving brochure and survey to seniors that you know. Our homes should be safe places and that includes homes with pets!"
Image by: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
at 11:06 AM