State Program Has Nursing Home Residents Lifting Weights to Reduce Falls

One state is seeing benefits from an experimental program designed to reduce falls in nursing homes. In 13 nursing homes across the state nurses and aides are expressing amazement at changes they see in more than 650 residents who are stretching, standing, squatting and lifting weights.

The project which kicked off in October aims to reduce nursing home falls by 10 percent. The developer of the program claims they are, in the process, improving the quality of life for seniors. One woman has graduated from a wheelchair to a walker and another resident who said his son wondered what he was up to because his grip while shaking hands had become much stronger.

The program takes physical therapy one step further, with a wellness exercise program for all residents willing to participate. About two-thirds have volunteered so far, many with mild dementia. The exercises were developed by physiologist Shane Paulson of Osakis, Minn., after working with residents at other nursing homes. He trained home staff to lead exercises he prescribes for each participant after testing strength and flexibility. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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