Premier Money Management

Seniors today hold 70 percent of the country’s wealth, according to Carolyn Chesler of the Topanga Messenger, Santa Monica’s Newspaper. This makes seniors one of the most targeted groups for scams, online fraud and identity theft. Along with these crimes, criminals are also committing mail fraud, healthcare fraud and financial exploration but you can prevent it. There are scam prevention seminars you could attend, both locally and nationally but the easiest way is to find someone you trust who can handle your financial needs and protect you from harmful scams that could take years to recover from. Working with a daily money manager can provide you with comfort, knowing that your financial worries are taken care of by trained professionals who truly care about their clients.

What is a Daily Money Manager and how can they help?

A Daily Money Manager is a professional consultant who will assist clients with the management of their financial affairs. They can reduce the stress of managing your personal finances, which will allow you to focus on your true priorities in life. Working with a daily money manager can be short-term engagements or long lasting relationships, whatever the client desires. Daily money managers can assist seniors who need help with managing their financial affairs; families seeking assistance for loved ones; people in transition due to the death of a loved one, divorce or health issues. Frank Saaranen of Premier Money Management, LLC works as a Twin Cities Daily Money Manager to provide safe and trustworthy assistance with any family and/or seniors who want to focus on more important things in life than personal finances. Saaranen states, “Two levels of threats, people are struggling often with financial affairs mostly late fees and financial charges. Seniors are also the most targeted group by scam artists but some things can be put in place to prevent that. Freezing credit reports and reviewing credit card and bank account activity every week, something that I can definitely help them with.”

Services Provided

Daily money managers have a full suite of services they offer and can customize the length of service and what services are offered based on the clients’ need. Short-term projects can turn into life-long management if needed, without complicated contracts and no long-term commitment. Clients can cancel arrangements at anytime. Examples of services provided could be:

–       Bill Payment

–       Social Security Issues

–       Medicare Issues

–       Weekly Review of credit card charges

–       Monthly Spending Reports

–       Medical Claims

–       Monthly Budgeting

–       Identity Theft Protection

 How to get in touch with a local daily money manager?       

Due to the high level of integrity and trustworthiness required by the client and family members, it’s wise to seek out a member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM –, to handle seniors’ affairs.  For many the primary motivation for being a daily money manager is the benefit of being able to help the seniors that really need it.  Franks states that, “Being able to help people who are struggling or unable to take care of their financial needs is very gratifying for me. It’s much more than the compensation, it’s about helping the people that is so important to me, it’s not about the pay check.”

 For More Information

If this is an area that you, a friend, or a family member need help with you can call on Daily Money Manager Frank Saaranen, a financial expert, who has over 35 years of financial experience, and created Premier Money Management. Frank has worked every position from accounting to financing to technology information for small independent firms and Fortune 500 companies. He can be reached by phone at 952 693 5278 or on his website at:

“It’s very gratifying to reduce the stress of my client’s financial affairs, it’s what I love to do.” – Frank Saaranen,

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animals and Healing, How Assisting Hands Contributes to the Cause.

“Pet visits with Speedo (a five-pound Chihuahua pet therapy dog) are a very important activity that our residents really look forward to,” says Brad Ray, Activities Director at Park Health and Rehabilitation Center in St. Louis Park.  “With so many former pet owners in our population, the positive memories associated with former pets can be rekindled through pet therapy.  Speedo is just the right size and demeanor for our residents to make that connection.”

Speedo, the certified pet therapy dog, is one of many throughout the Twin Cities whose owners volunteer them to provide emotional stimulus and healing to seniors in hospitals and nursing homes.

What is Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy (ATT) can be as simple as visiting a patient to provide company for emotional healing.  Pet therapy can also help stimulate muscles during rehabilitation for stroke patients or those who suffer from a physical handicap.  Although studies on human-animal interactions were not started until the late 1970’s, evidence has accumulated for the benefits animals provide to humans.  Most of the research and information on AAT is not scientific data but testimony and experience collected by doctors, veterinarians, nurses and patients.

Several studies give evidence into the relationship between humans and animals.  Owning an animal can have strong effects on improving psychological health in seniors.  Whether owning a pet or merely participating in simple interactions, seniors can experience a boost in morale, lower heart rate and decreased loneliness.  According to Marian R. Banks and William A. Banks, authors of The Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Loneliness in an Elderly Population in Long-Term Care Facilities, studies show that pet ownership is one of the strongest factors that predicted survival in patients with a history of heart attacks.  Additional studies have shown contacts with pets-specifically dogs and cats-can help interaction with non-communicative patients.  Joanne Roth, psychiatrist at the University of LaVerne in LaVerne, California, stated in her thesis that animal interaction can help recall memories and help sequence events temporarily in patients who have head injuries, dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Animals can also improve self-esteem, which helps patients interact and socialize with one another.

In an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal by Evelyne Michaels, Consulting Writer and Editor for the Health Council of Canada, results were recorded from experiments conducted at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, involving ATT.  Patients felt happier, asked for less medication, complained less and staff has taken a renewed interest in their patients.  If research continues, eventually doctors and nurses may further recognize the importance of animals in the medical environment.  Michaels also states that animals provide an unconditional love that is irreplaceable by any other means; human-animal contact enforces positive and affective emotions in lonely and uncomfortable environments.  Michaels points out that previous studies have proved contact with animals can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure more than contact with humans.

AAT is not only specific to cats and dogs; birds, reptiles and horses can be used in the healing process.  Some hospitals provided horseback rides for disabled and physically challenged patients while others allow patients to keep their own pets or assist in the care of pets owned by the facility.

Assisting Hands and Speedo

Kaleb Vold, owner of Speedo, is also the owner of Assisting Hands Home Care of Minneapolis.  Setting up volunteer visits with the Assisting Hands’ dog, Speedo, has been found to change the way patients feel and interact on a daily basis.  Without scientific research to back up the positive results, Vold states that his experience has taught him how important it is for seniors to share love and how content they are when the pet is around.  Many people joke that they would be happy if Speedo could stay in their laps all day.

“Speedo brightens the day of every resident that he visits at Golden Living Center-Hillcrest of Wayzata.  Residents enjoy being able to pet Speedo as he lies in their laps and talks to him as if he is their very own pet.” Says Megan VenHorst, Therapeutic Recreation Director and Volunteer Coordinator.  She continues, “Pet therapy can be imperative to patients’ overall well-being and happiness.  Patients can relate to pet therapy dogs in ways they cannot with human beings.  It can help release stress and provide comfort to patients.”

Bloomington-20130307-00013 Speedy Therapy Certification

How Much Do You Know About Seniors and Nutrition?


March is National Nutrition Month!This is a great time to pay attention to the foods that we choose.

While the basic guidelines for a healthy diet are pretty much the same for people of every age, older adults have special needs and concerns. Nutrition affects the all-around health of seniors, is a factor in a senior’s ability to properly absorb medications, and can have an impact on various health conditions that are common as we get older. If a senior loved one’s nutrition habits aren’t supporting good health, it might be time to sit down over a good meal and bring up the topic. And if you’ve never given much thought to nutrition, now might be the time to take a look at your own dietary choices!

Try your hand at this trivia quiz to see how much you know about the nutritional concerns of older adults.

1. The average person gains 10 to 20 pounds from age 45 to 65. This is…

A.    Normal and desirable. We need body fat to keep us warm.
B.    To be avoided. A person’s recommended weight remains the same throughout adulthood.
C.    Unusual. Few people gain weight as they grow older.
D.    Caused only by growing older, and not by inactivity or overeating.

Answer: B. Avoiding excess weight gain as we grow older helps us remain active and independent. While recent studies suggest that a few extra pounds won’t hurt us, maintaining a healthy weight is important for preventing or managing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

2. Being significantly underweight…

A.    Is a “red flag” for possible health problems.
B.    Is great—the thinner the better!
C.    Can lead to fatigue, mental confusion and depression.
D.    A and C

Answer: D. Recent studies confirm that a slight weight “reserve” is beneficial for elders. When we lose too much weight, we are at greater risk for osteoporosis and other health problems. Report unexplained weight loss to the healthcare provider right away.

3. Poor diet in older adults can lead to…

A.    Osteoporosis
B.    Mental confusion
C.    Increased risk of falls
D.    All of the above

Answer: D. During our senior years, it’s as important as ever to consume the nutrients our bodies need for good health. Sometimes without anyone noticing right away, seniors can be caught up in a cycle of poor nutrition and health problems. It’s important to address the problems that lead to appetite loss.

4. Loss of appetite can be caused by…

A.    Depression and loneliness
B.    Medications
C.    Tooth or denture problems
D.    All of the above

Answer: D. Mood disorders, some medications taken for conditions such as heart disease and pain control, and tooth problems or poorly fitted dentures are all common causes of appetite loss in seniors. The first step is to address these problems. The healthcare provider may also recommend nutritional supplements if weight loss continues to be a problem.

5. If a person suffered a stroke, or has Parkinson’s, arthritis or another condition that makes eating difficult, he or she…

A.    Will never be able to relearn independent eating.
B.    Should not rely on adaptive devices like long-handled spoons.
C.    Can get help from a rehabilitation therapist.
D.    Should be discouraged from trying to feed him- or herself.

Answer: C. Physical limitations are another major cause of poor nutrition. If eating is difficult or discouraging, an occupational therapist can offer innovative ways to eat as independently as possible. Speech-language therapists provide help for swallowing disorders.

6. People with heart disease should limit the intake of…

A.    Cholesterol and saturated fat
B.    Fish
C.    Whole grains
D.    Nuts

Answer: A. Limiting cholesterol intake is important for preventing and managing heart disease. High fat and cholesterol diets are also linked with increased risk of stroke, cancer and other disorders. Choices B, C and D on the list are all foods that promote heart health.

7. Which of these foods does not contain cholesterol?

A.    Avocado
B.    Beef
C.    Cheese
D.    Eggs

Answer: A. Avocados, while higher in calories than most fruits and vegetables, contain a healthy type of fat. Cholesterol is only found in meat and dairy products.

8. Which statement about vitamins and supplements is true?

A. It is possible to take a harmful overdose of supplements.
B.  All seniors can get the nutrients they need from food alone.
C. Supplements are regulated by the FDA.
D. The recommended daily amount of vitamins and minerals is the same for people of every age.

Answer: A. While eating well is the best path to good nutrition, vitamins and other supplements may be recommended for older adults. But be sure to follow the doctor’s advice on which and how much to take. The bodies of older adults process toxic substances less efficiently, and it is possible to take a harmful amount of substances such as vitamins A and D, calcium and iron.

9. Older adults are the age group most likely to…

A.    Get all the nutrients they need from food sources alone.
B.    Be targeted by sellers of fraudulent nutritional products and supplements.
C.    Be skeptical about supplements sold as “anti-aging” products.
D.    Research the value of supplements before purchasing them.

Answer: B. Seniors are often targeted by unscrupulous companies who sell useless and possibly dangerous vitamins or food supplements. These companies make attractive but impossible claims about “miracle anti-aging” products, and their numbers are growing every year. If your loved one is purchasing these products, encourage him or her to discuss this with the healthcare provider.

10. Seniors on a limited income may skimp on nutritious foods. Help may be available through…

A. Meals on Wheels
B. Congregate eating centers, like Senior Hot Lunch
C. Food stamps
D. All of the above

Answer: D. Senior nutrition programs are available in most communities. Hot meals or frozen meals can be delivered right to a senior’s home; others prefer to go to a dining center, where they can enjoy socialization along with their meal. Your local Senior Information agency will have more information about these programs.

Source: Assisting Hands® in association with IlluminAge, © IlluminAge 2013

Four Myths About Seniors and Computers


Today, most of us take our computers for granted—in the workplace, in our homes, at the doctor’s office, and right at our side no matter where we go. But as soon as computers began to appear in the workplaces and homes of Americans, researchers expressed concerns about the “digital divide”—the line between those with computer skills and access, and those without. Florida State University researcher Neil Charness pointed out, “The technology gap is a problem because technology, particularly computer and internet technology, is becoming ubiquitous, and full participation in society becomes more difficult for those without such access.”

The divide today is drawn along economic and educational lines—but also, it seems, along age lines, with seniors slower to adopt digital technology and embrace computer use.

How are we doing today, a quarter century after the first personal computers arrived on the scene? Let’s take a look at the ways computers are revolutionizing the way we age in America, beginning by examining four common myths about senior adults and computers: 

Myth #1: Computers are only for younger people

First of all, let’s dispense with the notion that computers are a new invention, developed by young people. The reality is, computer technology has developed over the course of years, and there are plenty of elders who were computer-literate when computers were a lot less “user friendly” than they are now.

On the other hand, if you are old enough to have taken a typing class in high school, you are probably aware that those of us who encountered computers later in life didn’t benefit from early exposure to such skills as software features and keyboarding. So, for many seniors, there is a steeper learning curve.

It is true that at present seniors lag behind other age groups in adoption of computer technology. But seniors are catching up. In 2010, the Pew Foundation reported that only 42% of people 65 and over used the internet; that number grew to 53% in only two years. Computer use is growing fastest in the over-65 population. And as the baby boomers age, the digital divide between younger and older Americans will continue to close. Seniors are using e-mail, going on Facebook, sending out Twitter tweets, playing games and surfing the web in rapidly increasing numbers.

Myth #2: Computers are too complicated for seniors

There is an element of truth to this commonly held belief. Constant upgrades, ever more complex programs and the lighting speed evolution of technology are a challenge for anyone—and when you add some of the physical and cognitive changes of aging, developing computer literacy can seem daunting. Many family caregivers today report that tech support is one of their major eldercare responsibilities!

But, as we saw above, plenty of seniors have eagerly and easily entered the computer age. And new senior-friendly technologies are encouraging the trend. Computer manufacturers, software developers and e-commerce companies realize that with the aging of America, it’s good business practice to offer simpler user interfaces, website features for people with visual and cognitive impairment, and adaptive hardware such as arthritis-compatible mice and keyboards with larger letters. Seniors are adapting to computers…but computers are adapting to seniors, as well.

Myth #3: Computer use doesn’t have much impact on healthy aging

On the contrary! Not only do computers help seniors stay in touch with the world today, but seniors also stand to benefit by the advantages of new technologies. E-commerce, online banking and finding information online are convenient for everyone—and all the more so for people with mobility challenges. The internet can also be a great source of information about “real world” activities and events, providing incentive to remain active in the community. Indeed, surfing the web provides a powerful mood boost: a recent Phoenix Center study demonstrated that internet use by the elderly reduced depression by 20%!

Computer use also promotes brain health, combining reading and interactivity in a powerful way. You have probably heard of “brain exercise” computer programs and games—but did you know that going online also gives our memory a good workout? A 2009 study by UCLA researchers showed that while seniors are performing simple web searches, blood flow is increased to areas of the brain that are vital for cognitive health. Researcher Teena D. Moody explains, “Searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults.”

And what about gaming? A waste of time for couch potatoes? Another recent study shows that seniors who play strategy videogames, such as Rise of Nations or Halo, experienced improved cognitive skills. And active video games, such as the Wii system, have been found to give a good moderate workout.

Myth #4: Online social networking is only for young people

Facebook, Twitter, email, chat rooms, online communities…older adults are going online for socialization in increasing numbers. Social networking is bringing seniors closer to friends and loved ones, and helping them make contact with new friends around the world. Connecting with friends and family in this way helps seniors avoid isolation and loneliness.

Learn More

Microsoft offers information on computer accessibility for older adults and people with disabilities. See Guide for Individuals with Age-related Impairments to learn more about making your PC easier to see, hear and use.

SOURCE: Assisting Hands Home Care in association with IlluminAge; © IlluminAge 2013

During American Heart Month, We Heart Health!

Did you know that the heart is the hardest working muscle in the body, pumping enough blood in your lifetime to fill a supertanker?

When it comes to your heart, it pays to be smart! Know the facts about cardiac wellness.

A heart attack can begin slowly, with subtle signals. Symptoms can include:

  • a feeling of pressure or discomfort in the chest
  • discomfort in the arms, neck, back, jaw or stomach
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea, dizziness, sweating for no reason

“Better safe than sorry” is very true when it comes to heart attack, and the sooner treatment begins, the better your chances. If you or a loved one is experiencing chest pain, especially if associated with any other of the signs above, call 911 right away. Acting quickly can save your life.

Know your risk factors. A number of conditions, including hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol and diabetes, increase the risk of heart disease. And it is a myth that heart disease is primarily a men’s health problem: heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, above breast and other cancers.

A healthy lifestyle can cut the risk of heart attack. Here are the steps to take:

  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Take steps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol level.
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you are diabetic, follow your care plan.

Lowering your cholesterol level through diet and lifestyle changes (and in some cases, medication) can also cut the risk. Select low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-sodium foods. Avoid fried foods, instead selecting baked or broiled. Skip dessert, and order your salad with low-fat dressing.

Learn more about heart health from the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at

SOURCE: Assisting Hands Home Care in association with IlluminAge. Copyright 2013, IlluminAge.

Three Months Until the Social Security Electronic Switchover


According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, today more than 65 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend. In addition to providing physical and emotional support, many caregivers find themselves managing the finances of a loved one.

If you are caring for a loved one who receives federal benefit payments by paper check, or if you receive a check on behalf of someone else, you should know that the U.S. Department of the Treasury is requiring that these payments be switched to an electronic option by March 1, 2013.

This applies to federal benefit payments from the Social Security Administration (including Social Security and Supplemental Security Income [SSI] payments), Veterans Affairs (VA), Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor (Black Lung).

How do beneficiaries sign up?

There are two electronic payment types recommended by the U.S. Department of the Treasury:

  • Direct deposit. People who have a checking or savings account can sign up for direct deposit. Money will go straight into the account on payment day each month.
  • Direct Express Debit MasterCard card. People who don’t have a bank account or who prefer a prepaid debit card can switch to the Direct Express prepaid debit card. Money will be available on the card on payment day each month. Cardholders can make purchases and get cash back with purchases at no charge anywhere Debit MasterCard® is accepted. There are no sign-up fees, overdraft fees or monthly fees. Some fees for optional services may apply. For information on card fees and features, visit

It’s fast, free and easy to make the switch. People can sign up for direct deposit or the Direct Express card by calling the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at (800) 333-1795 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. For direct deposit, people can also switch online at or at their bank or credit union.

Have the following information handy when you are making the switch:

  • 12-digit federal benefit check number
  • Amount of most recent federal benefit check
  • Financial institution’s routing transit number (for direct deposit only; this information is often found on personal checks)
  • Account number and type – checking or savings (for direct deposit only).

When should beneficiaries make the switch?

It is recommended that beneficiaries switch now rather than waiting for the deadline. Electronic payments have many advantages over paper checks. They are easier and more reliable. They also save taxpayers money. Don’t wait another minute – make the switch today.

Is it safe?

Electronic payments are safer and more reliable than paper checks. On payment day, money is sent straight from the Treasury Department to your bank or credit union account or to your Direct Express card account, so there’s no risk of lost or stolen checks. As with any bank account or credit card, it pays to safeguard your money. Be sure to follow these three tips:

  • Be careful of anyone who calls, texts or emails asking for personal information.
  • Protect your personal information; never give out your Social Security number or account information to anyone unless you are the one who contacted them.
  • Watch your bank or credit union account or Direct Express Debit MasterCard often to make sure all account activity is yours.

What happens if someone doesn’t sign up by March 1, 2013?

People who have not made the switch by the deadline will be issued the Direct Express card.

Learn More

The Go Direct campaign has developed five educational videos to help answer frequently asked questions about the transition. To watch the videos, go to

Source: The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service, adapted by AgeWise.

Music Therapy for the Elderly

In a Music USA: NAMM Global Report published in 2006, it was reported that “85% of Americans believe that music is a very important part of their life.”  The benefits of music cannot be easily overstated.  Clinically it has shown to reduce stress, depression, and pain while providing a myriad of other benefits.

With this in mind, organizations and experts in elderly care are using music therapy more each day as a successful healing therapy for the elderly.



According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy “is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.”  It is conducted by qualified music therapists that carry the MT-BC credential indicating that they have passed the national, independent certification board exam and have maintained awareness of current practice through continuing education or retesting.



Board certified music therapists assess the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of each client; determine what aspect of music can help meet the therapeutic goals; and facilitate therapeutic music experiences to address the nonmusical goals. This usually involves live music and may include singing, life review, movement to music, processing, songwriting, playing instruments, creation of legacy gifts, or other success oriented interventions. This can be done as a standalone therapy to decrease things like discomfort, anxiety, or depression; or in coordination with other therapies such as a physical therapy or speech therapy, to help clients meet their physical or speech goals faster and with stronger results. 



I spoke with Melissa Hirokawa, M.M., MT-BC owner of Living Spirit Therapy Services, LLC who has been working with the elderly in the Twin Cities for several years.  She has witnessed many inspiring successes of music therapy. I would like to pass along two stories she shared with me.

The first was with “Donna”, a woman who had a stroke two years ago. Donna had failed speech therapy and was told that she simply wasn’t going to be able to say anything other than “yes, yes, yes”, “no, no, no”, and “ok”, the only speech she retained post-stroke. During a music therapy group, Melissa noticed that Donna could sing every word of a song even though she couldn’t speak. Utilizing the same neurologic music therapy techniques used to retrain Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ speech after her traumatic brain injury, they began 1:1 music therapy sessions. Donna is now able to speak in 7-8 word sentences, read out loud, and is beginning to communicate normally with others.

The second story I would like to share is about “Harold” a gentleman who had dementia. He and his wife had been married for 50 years, worked together, and were constantly together. Due to his advanced dementia, Harold wasn’t able to recognize her as someone familiar let alone his wife. He couldn’t put three words together that made sense, and there was no meaningful interaction between them making visiting extremely difficult. One day Melissa played “Always”. Harold turned to his wife, that he didn’t recognize five minutes before, and said clear as day, even though he couldn’t put three logical words together, “That was our song wasn’t it?” It was their wedding song. Through the music, Harold was able to make an emotional connection, recall a memory, and to clearly express it. Music therapy opened the door to relationships, experiences, and communication that had long since been lost.



To learn more about music therapy in elder care, visit Melissa’s website: or contact her at 612-208-0156 or


2013 is Named the Year of Elder Abuse Prevention

2013 is Named the Year of Elder Abuse Prevention




It is not something most of us want to think about. But according to the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA), each year an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as five cases go unreported.

Elder abuse takes many forms, including financial exploitation, physical abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse. The Year of Elder Abuse Prevention is an opportunity for Americans to take action to protect seniors by raising awareness about this serious issue. The AoA suggests ten things anyone can do to help prevent elder abuse:

  1. Learn the signs of elder abuse and neglect.
  2. Call or visit elderly relatives, friends, and neighbors and ask how they are doing.
  3. Provide a respite for a caregiver by filling in for a few hours or more.
  4. Ask an older acquaintance to share his or her talents by teaching you or your children a new skill.
  5. Ask your faith leaders to discuss with their congregations elder abuse prevention and the importance of respecting older adults.
  6. Ask your bank manager to train tellers on how to detect financial exploitation of elders.
  7. Suggest that your doctor talk to his or her older patients individually about possible abuse.
  8. Contact your local adult protective services or long-term care ombudsman to learn how to support their work helping at-risk elders.
  9. Volunteer to be a friendly visitor to a nursing home resident or homebound elder in your community.
  10. Send a letter to your local paper, radio, or TV station suggesting it cover World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15, 2013).

Learn More

Visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website ( for more resources and information about preventing and raising the awareness of elder abuse.

Fall Prevention Tips

The good news is that many falls can be prevented. Fall prevention programs can start by looking around the patient’s or elderly person’s home. The most important step you can take to prevent falls is to:

1. Maintain as much strength and coordination as possible,
2. By following your doctor’s instructions on taking your medications,
3. Eating properly and exercising.

The next step is to look around your home for hazards that could lead to a fall, and correct them. Here are some suggestions for fall prevention exercises, patient fall prevention, and for creating a safer home environment:


-Grab bars to get into and out of the tub
-Use a bath chair or stool in the shower
-Don’t use throw rugs or wax on the bathroom floor
-Use a raised toilet seat with arm rails
-Buy soap on a rope, or put a bar of soap in a nylon stocking with one end tied to a towel bar


-Never get up in the dark – make sure the room is well lit
-Keep light switch close to bed – Use a Fall Prevention Light-Touch Dimmer
-Avoid slippery socks or slippers
-Consider using a Bed Transfer Handle or Bed Security Rail
-Hide all loose extension cords
-Consider using a Medical Alarm / PERS System
-Use carpets and rugs with skid-proof backing or tacked to the floor


-Use a long-handled sponge/mop to wipe up spills
-Keep your floors smooth but not slippery
-Store your often-used supplies in easy-to-reach cabinets
-Avoid hard-to-reach wall phones; consider a cordless phone that can be carried from room to room, or a counter model

Around the House

-To be safer, consider using a Medical Alarm
-Stairwells should be well lit; consider nightlights for hallways and bathrooms
-Wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes with nonskid soles;
-Don’t walk around in socks, slippers, or stockings on bare floors
-Keep rooms and hallways free of clutter
-Make sure carpets, including those on stairs, have skid-proof backing or are tacked to the floor

Use common sense. If bending throws you off balance, try to avoid picking things up. If you are unsteady outdoors, use a cane to negotiate sidewalk cracks and curbs. If you fall but do not injure yourself, don’t assume that you must restrict your activities. Too little activity can cause you to lose strength and coordination, putting you at greater risk for another fall. Instead, talk to your doctor about these and other steps you can take to reduce your risk of a more serious fall.