Assessing your Risk, Next Steps


Balance Series Part 2: Assessing your Risk, Next Steps

Part one of our balance series provided some simple reminders and tips to keep in mind when travelling on potentially dangerous surfaces in winter conditions. This week we are looking into addressing your risk of falling and some basic ways to decrease this risk overall. This can involve working with a physical therapist and by ‘balance proofing’ your home.


Assessing your Risk

If you find yourself worrying about potentially falling, it is important to assess your current health standing and address the reasons you think you may be at risk. Consulting a skilled therapist is essential for an accurate balance assessment, as there are many tests that can be performed to pin point what balance deficits you may have.

Factors that may affect your balance are numerous and can include:

-Hearing- whether it’s a hard of hearing issue, or an inner ear issue, both can be factors in your balance

-Vision- poor or decreased vision can contribute to falls

-Nervous system- our sensation in our feet/legs is important because if you can’t feel what you are walking on, your muscles are not getting good input from their environment which can decrease stability.

One quick and easy assessment you can take is to determine whether you consistently find yourself ‘furniture walking’. As the name implies, this means you are continually relying on surrounding furniture or other structures to help keep you steady in walking. If this is the case, it may be time to consider using a walking device. To determine an appropriate course of action for your next steps, it is helpful to consult with a professional.


Steps to Improve 

Wellness at The Atrium Senior Living Community, Johnstown

Strength and balance exercise-

-When it comes to muscles, the phrase “if you don’t use it you lose it” holds some truth- loss of muscle due to inactivity is referred to as atrophy. To prevent this atrophy, you can keep your muscles active with some resistance and strength exercises. Even if you are not a member of a gym, you can start with some simple exercises right at home. Quick exercises at home are a fun way to get your whole family active with you as well. We would be happy to work with you at The Atrium to help teach you some exercises you can practice at your convenience.


Balance proof your home-

In addition to working on a specialized balance program with a professional, you can take some simple steps around your home to make life easier so you can alleviate some of the worry associated with falling. An easy starting point is begin reorganizing. By removing clutter and rearranging, you can give yourself more open space to maneuver throughout your home. This is especially helpful if you are using  a device to assist you in walking. Additionally, make sure you keep items you use often on lower shelves; when you have to reach for items, consider using a reaching device rather than climbing on step stools and bending. An extra step in balance proofing your home can involve remodeling areas such as your bathroom. This could involve insuring you have easy access to your shower and utilizing grab bars, tub benches, raised toilet seats, or other utilities.


This article is provided by Heather Mack, PT, DTP, PCS, Clinical Manager at The Atrium. If you have any questions related to this article or would like to learn about the therapy and wellness programs offered at the Atrium, please call 814-535-5347 extension 4421.

Balance Series-Prepare, and Be Aware of your surroundings


According to the CDC: “Every second of every day in the United States an older adult falls, making falls the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans.” A harrowing statistic from the CDC.  While not all these falls occur in the winter, the ice and snow do create a hazardous environment that increases your risk of having a fall, especially if you aren’t being cautious.  So how do YOU avoid becoming a statistic? We are happy to provide you with a few tips that can help to greatly decrease your chances of falling.


Balance Series Part 1: Prepare, and Be Aware of your surroundings

This advice may seem simple, but it is important to remember that when you are venturing outdoors, you should make sure to use a safe path that has been cleared and salted. Here are some steps to take when approaching potentially dangerous surfaces:


Test any pathways for ice before you step on them. Take slow shuffling steps

After scoping out the path ahead of you, don’t jump right in to your normal walking stride. It is always helpful to take small steps first to be sure you have good traction. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for puddles and slippery surfaces in the entrances of buildings or even your home.


Avoid carrying anything

If you can avoid carrying anything, it is helpful so your hands can be free if you do start to fall. You can use your hands to help you regain balance as well.


Wear proper boots or shoes

Wear proper boots or shoes with slip resistant soles; avoid leather or plastic soles. If you aren’t planning on wearing boots, try to think ahead to which of your shoes have the best traction. This can go a long way in helping to avoid slipping on tricky terrain.


Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or caregivers when you know the path ahead may too dangerous or risky.


This is the first post in our balance series, where we hope to provide some simple tips that can serve as helpful reminders as you are travelling this winter.

This article was written by Heather Mack, PT, DTP, PCS, Clinical Manager at The Atrium. If you have any questions related to this article or would like to learn about the therapy and wellness programs offered at the Atrium, please call 814-535-5347 extension 4421.





Pathway to Health

Pathway to Health

Welcome!  Pathway to Health is a therapy blog for the On-Site Therapy and Wellness Services Department at The Atrium in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Who are we?  The Atrium is a personal care community with over 30 years of experience providing high quality services driven by our core values.  Conveniently located in historical downtown Johnstown, The Atrium is proud to be known for our caring approach and socially stimulating activities encompassed with a combination of personalize support and services. Our daily commitment to our personal care residents is to support their wellness, vitality, dignity and purpose. 


Therapy Services Conveniently located in downtown Johnstown

The Atrium has recently completed some beautiful renovations within our facility to enhance its warmth for our current residents and families, as well as to appeal to perspective new residents. In addition to the renovations, The Atrium has added a brand-new therapy department now offering Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy services to not only the residents at The Atrium, but the public as well. 

What can Functional Pathways at The Atrium do for you to help you down the pathway to better health?  Are you having pain? Arthritis? Are you afraid of falling? Do you suffer from Parkinson’s?  Recently injured yourself playing your favorite sport? Have you recently had an orthopedic surgery?  Do you find yourself getting weaker, or not able to do the things that you once loved?  Have you had a stroke and now find it hard to get dressed, shower, or even swallow?  WE CAN HELP!  Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy have the power to help you regain your function and strength, and reduce or eliminate your pain!

Our on-site therapy and wellness department at The Atrium provides each individual an in-depth evaluation and we develop a personalized treatment plan focused on your function and your goals to get you to where you want to be.  Our corporate office handles all billing, and insurance verifications, so no co-pay is due during the visit. We will conveniently be billed for any co-pays to you directly.  We have flexible hours to meet your schedule; and we offer FREE gated parking off our Lincoln Street entrance.  In addition, we are also located conveniently along the local CamTran bus route. 

Please call us at 814-535-5347 extension 4421 to schedule your personalized appointment.  We would love to help you down the Pathway to Health as we kick off 2018 in our new accommodations at The Atrium!


Innovated Wellness Approach at The Atrium


Johnstown, PA – For over 30 years, The Atrium has been devoted toward keeping seniors at the center of all commitment designed to identify needed daily supportive services and engage them and their loved ones with meaningful and goal-directed activities.  The Atrium, a personal care community conveniently located at 216 Main Street in Johnstown, is excited to announce the addition of new specialized services to the downtown neighborhood.  The Atrium has partnered with Functional Pathways to now offer On-site Therapy and Wellness Services. 

The Atrium, Caring Staff

“Our caring staff provides daily person-centered care for our residents.  This new exciting step of uniting with Function Pathways enables us to expand upon the care by developing customized programs to meet the need of our resident utilizing innovation, evidence-based therapy services on-site,” shares Traci Leintenberger, Administrator at The Atrium.  The On-site Therapy and Wellness Services will help to manage risk and ensure residents are able to successfully age in place.  Therapists will integrate within The Atrium to provide education on how to identify declines in residents that would benefit from therapy; and to ensure that when residents transition from therapy, a customized program will be created to help them maintain the gains they have achieved.

The Atrium, a not-for-profit Choice Community, is extending an invitation to the community to an Open House to showcase their beautiful renovations that have recently been completed on the first floor.  During this open house community members will also have an opportunity to tour the On-site Therapy Gym and meet the therapy team.  The event will be held on Wednesday, January 17th at 6 p.m.  Guest will enjoy the refreshments and register for some door prizes.  In addition, tours will be available for individuals wishing to learn more about the accommodations and lifestyle available at The Atrium. 

The Atrium, Johnstown, Open House

If you have any questions or would like to receive more information, please contact The Atrium at 814-535-5347.