Can Assisted Living Help Prevent ER Visits?

Can a move to an assisted living community help prevent frequent ER visits?

Even the healthiest of older adults can end up in the emergency department of a local Seattle hospital. There are many reasons why it happens. From falls to medication mistakes, trying to age in place at home isn’t always the safest solution. Can assisted living help prevent ER visits?

By the Numbers: Why Seniors End Up in the ER

More older adults are finding themselves a patient in a hospital’s emergency department than ever before. Research shows the number of hospitalized seniors has doubled in the last decade. In fact, people over the age of 75 now make up the majority of admissions to emergency departments across the country.

What is sending so many older adults to the hospital?

While there are a variety of reasons, falls continue to be the leading cause of ER visits for seniors. And the numbers are startling. Every 13 seconds a senior in this country is treated for a fall-related injury.

Pneumonia, adverse reactions to medications, back pain, and surgical complications are other leading reasons seniors end up in an emergency room.

Can a Move to an Assisted Living Community Help Decrease ER Visits?

The good news is that a more supportive environment can help prevent many of the ER visits older adults experience. Over half of all emergency room visits would not require hospital-based care if an alternative source of care is readily available.

A congressional study revealed that as much as 25% of hospital admissions could have been prevented if seniors received better care. Receiving help managing chronic health conditions and having assistance with medication management are two services that keep older adults out of the ER.

Both of these are cornerstone services offered at assisted living communities.

In addition, assisted living communities help seniors avoid the emergency room by providing support with:

  • Well-balanced Meals: Older adults who live alone are more likely to eat an unhealthy diet. Poor nutrition is linked to everything from higher risk of falls to poor healing of wounds. Most senior living communities have high quality, chef-prepared meals that encourage good nutrition.
  • Wellness Programs: Strength and balance are increasingly important as we age. Assisted living communities throughout the Seattle area offer senior-friendly wellness programs for residents, such as Tai Chi, water aerobics and chair yoga.
  • Fall Prevention: Assisted living communities are thoughtfully designed with senior safety in mind. Sturdy grab bars in the bathrooms, handrails in hallways and step-in showers are a few standard amenities.
  • Life Enrichment: Loneliness has been identified as a health risk for older adults. It can lead to everything from high blood pressure to diabetes. The wide variety of life enrichment programs and activities offered in an assisted living community can help keep seniors active and engaged with life.
  • Around the Clock Support: Managing a senior loved one’s safety around the clock can be tough. In an assisted living community, caregivers are nearby 24/7 to help with personal care, trips to the bathroom, transportation and other activities of daily life.

Spring can be a great time for a new beginning like a move to an assisted living community! We invite you to view this Spring’s issue of 3rd Act Magazine to learn more about the variety of senior living options available in the greater Seattle area.

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