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Highlands | Nursing & Rehabilitation

Latest News

Latest News

Older Adult Fall Prevention

August 28, 2023

Facts About Falls

Each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year, 1 but less than half tell their doctor.2 Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.3

Falls Are Serious and Costly

  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.4,5
  • Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.6
  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.6
  • Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.7
  • More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling,8 usually by falling sideways.9
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).10
  • In 2015, the total medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion.11 Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.

What Can Happen After a Fall?

Many falls do not cause injuries. But one out of five falls does cause a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury.4,5 These injuries can make it hard for a person to get around, do everyday activities, or live on their own.

  • Falls can cause broken bones, like wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures.
  • Falls can cause head injuries. These can be very serious, especially if the person is taking certain medicines (like blood thinners). An older person who falls and hits their head should see their doctor right away to make sure they don’t have a brain injury.
  • Many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear may cause a person to cut down on their everyday activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker and this increases their chances of falling.12

What Conditions Make You More Likely to Fall?

Research has identified many conditions that contribute to falling. These are called risk factors. Many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls. They include:

  • Lower body weakness
  • Vitamin D deficiency (that is, not enough vitamin D in your system)
  • Difficulties with walking and balance
  • Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants. Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet.
  • Vision problems
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Home hazards or dangers such as
    • broken or uneven steps, and
    • throw rugs or clutter that can be tripped over.

Most falls are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling.

Healthcare providers can help cut down a person’s risk by reducing the fall risk factors listed above.

To learn more, please visit

Oral Health for Older Adults

August 21, 2023

Facts About Older Adult Oral Health

By 2060, according to the US Census, the number of US adults aged 65 years or older is expected to reach 98 million, 24% of the overall population.1 Older Americans with the poorest oral health tend to be those who are economically disadvantaged, lack insurance, and are members of racial and ethnic minorities. Being disabled, homebound, or institutionalized (e.g., seniors who live in nursing homes) also increases the risk of poor oral health. Adults 50 years and older who smoke are also less likely to get dental care than people who do not smoke.6 Many older Americans do not have dental insurance because they lost their benefits upon retirement and the federal Medicare program does not cover routine dental care.2

Oral health problems in older adults include the following:

  • Untreated tooth decay. Nearly all adults (96%) aged 65 years or older have had a cavity; 1 in 5 have untreated tooth decay.3
  • Gum disease. A high percentage of older adults have gum disease. About 2 in 3 (68%) adults aged 65 years or older have gum disease.4
  • Tooth loss. Nearly 1 in 5 of adults aged 65 or older have lost all of their teeth. Complete tooth loss is twice as prevalent among adults aged 75 and older (26%) compared with adults aged 65-74 (13%).3  Having missing teeth or wearing dentures can affect nutrition, because people without teeth or with dentures often prefer soft, easily chewed foods instead of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Oral cancer. Cancers of the mouth (oral and pharyngeal cancers) are primarily diagnosed in older adults; median age at diagnosis is 62 years.5
  • Chronic disease. People with chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be more likely to develop gum (periodontal) disease, but they are less likely to get dental care than adults without these chronic conditions.6 Also, most older Americans take both prescription and over-the-counter drugs; many of these medications can cause dry mouth. Reduced saliva flow increases the risk of cavities.7

To learn more, please visit

Healthy People 2030, Dementias Including Alzheimer’s

August 15, 2023

By 2060, almost a quarter of the U.S. population will be age 65 or older. Healthy People 2030 focuses on reducing health problems and improving quality of life for older adults.

Older adults are at higher risk for chronic health problems like diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Core Objectives: Dementias Including Alzheimer’s Disease (DIA)

The Healthy People 2030 Core Objectives relate to improving the health and quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias. Measuring these objectives will provide valuable data to track progress throughout the decade.

  • Increase the proportion of older adults with dementia, or their caregivers, who know they have it. Learn more
  • Reduce the proportion of preventable hospitalizations in older adults with dementia.  Learn more
  • Increase the proportion of adults with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) who have discussed their confusion or memory loss with a health care professional. Learn more

All Healthy People 2030 core objectives meet several criteria, including having baseline data, a direct impact on health, and an evidence base, and they address the goals related to health, function, and quality of life. The Healthy People 2030 framework sets important health priorities for the nation over the next decade and will measure progress towards meeting those objectives.

For more information and an overview of all older adult objectives, please visit

Dance Your Way to Better Brain Health!

August 7, 2023


Exercise is not only good for your body, it’s good for your brain! Sticking to a regular workout plan can be tough, but including activity in your routine doesn’t need to be boring. Scientists have found that the areas of the brain that control memory and skills such as planning and organizing improve with exercise.1,2 Dance has the added dimensions of rhythm, balance, music, and a social setting that enhances the benefits of simple movement – and can be fun!


At the University of Illinois at Chicago, through the CDC-funded Prevention Research Centers’ Healthy Brain Research Network, researchers designed a Latin ballroom dance program for older sedentary adults. Participants in the program, BAILAMOS©, reported improvements in memory, attention, and focus.3 In a separate ballroom dance program, older people experiencing mild cognitive impairment improved their thinking and memory after a 10-month-long ballroom dancing class.4


  • Sign up for a dance class and invite your friends to join. Find classes at your local community college, YMCA, dance studio, or community center.
  • Try dancing at home by following along with a DVD or videos on YouTube. Easy-to-follow, free exercise videos are available at the National Institute on Aging’s YouTube channel.
  • For an extra challenge, try using small weights to build strength. Keep a 2-pound or 5-pound weight in each hand while doing your dance routine. For more ideas on strength exercises, visit the Exercise and Physical Activity page on the NIH website.

Help for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s – Are you a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia? You can help the person you care for get moving, too.5

  • Split dance moves and exercises into small, easy-to-follow steps. Use exercise videos and follow along with the person you’re caring for.
  • At first, try shorter 5- or 10-minute mini dancing sessions to slowly build endurance.
  • Take breaks when needed and make sure you are both drinking plenty of water.

To learn more, please visit

Meet our New Memory Care Coordinator, Heather Gray!

August 1, 2023

Highlands Nursing and Rehabilitation is excited to introduce our new Memory Care Coordinator, Heather Gray! Learn more about Heather:

“I graduated from Sullivan University with my LPN in 2015 then went on to pursue my RN a couple of years later. I graduated with an associate degree in nursing in 2019. I started my healthcare career when I was in my early 20’s as a housekeeper and I climbed my way up the ladder. I then moved to activities assistant, CNA, LPN, RN, then took on a management role here at the Highlands. I chose to pursue a career in nursing after my grandmother got sick and I was left to take care of her. I knew right away that taking care of the elderly was more than a job, it was my calling. My passion to work with the memory care population came from also being a caretaker to my great aunt who had a diagnosis of dementia. Memory care residents have a story too, and it is my role as the memory care coordinator to help them to reminisce on their life story and hope to bring a smile to their day. Healthcare can be challenging and sometimes has new challenges daily, but at the end of the day knowing that I was able to make a difference in someone’s life keeps me motivated. The most rewarding part of my career is being able to see them happy and give them a home or a family outside of the one they have built. “