Meet Ann Hightower

Tx:Team turns 40 in 2023!

Founded in 1983, Tx:Team will celebrate a big anniversary in May, 40 years in business. Because it is such a major milestone, we felt we should celebrate this achievement throughout the year.

Thank you to all Tx:Team associates throughout the decades for his or her part in our success.

Meet Ann Hightower, Vice President of Internal Operations, and hear her story of her time with Tx:Team!


Falls Prevention Week

Each September, we recognize Falls Prevention Week to raise awareness of the impact of falls. The good news is that most falls are preventable.  Tx:Team’s Teaming Up Against Falls Program incorporates the components of the Otago Exercise Program including balance, strength, flexibility, vestibular, and proprioception evaluation and treatment to tackle balance issues and help prevent falls.

According to

  • Falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults. One out of five falls result in a significant injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
  • Each year, three million older adults go to the emergency room because of falls. Over 800,000 need to go into the hospital.
  • Older women are twice as likely to fall and break a bone as older men. Men have a higher risk of dying after a fall. 


What can I do to decrease my risk of falling?

  • 75% of falls occur in the home. You can decrease your chance of falling by keeping your home safe for you to move around.
  • Make sure you have good lighting in every room. Include night lights in your bedroom, hallways, and bathrooms.
  • Rugs should be firmly fastened to the ground, especially at the corners. Electrical cords should be kept off the walking areas.
  • Add handrails to your bathrooms for support for your bath, shower, and toilet use.
  • Always use the rails on stairs on both sides and ensure that each stair is well lit or has a visual cue.
  • Wear shoes with firm, nonskid, non-friction soles. Avoid wearing loose slippers that could cause you to trip.
  • Keep kitchen items within easy reach to avoid using step stools.
  • Place the bed at a proper height to allow for feet to be flat on floor while sitting at bedside.

Taking good care of your body will also keep you strong, mobile, and more independent.

  • See your eye doctor once a year.
  • Care for your feet and see a doctor if you have pain or corns.
  • Use assistive devices if they are recommended to you.
  • Sit on the bed for a few minutes before getting up to go to the bathroom at night. This will prevent dizziness in the dark.

If you notice that you may have some trouble with your balance or mobility in general, talk to a physical therapist and find out how they can help you to stay on your feet and prevent falls.

Balancing Act: Keeping You On Your Feet

Do you find you are less confident than you used to be when walking in a crowded environment or on an uneven surface? Are you avoiding certain activities, or perhaps gripping the handrail a little tighter these days? If so, you’re not alone. Up to 85% of older adults are afraid of falling, and with good reason. One out of every five falls results in a serious injury and falling once doubles your likelihood of falling again.

Most people don’t even think about their balance until it starts to deteriorate, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to keep us on two feet. Our brain uses sensory input from our feet to adapt to the surface, and proprioceptors on our joints to know where we are in space. Our eyes and ears give us information about our environment, and our inner ear, or vestibular system, keeps our equilibrium. These systems work together to tell our motor system how to make corrections and keep us upright.

These corrections are typically fairly automatic and start with engaging our ankles, then bending at the hips, and eventually a quick step in order to recover. If these reactions aren’t strong enough or quick enough, we end up on the floor. Unfortunately, many medical conditions, as well as general deconditioning, can have a negative impact on your ability to both identify and correct a loss of balance. The good news, however, is there are things you can do to not only maintain your stability but gain it back! Some of these strategies include:

  • Strengthening your hips and thighs. These large muscles are responsible for keeping you upright and shifting your weight into your base of support
  • Stretching out your calves. Flexibility in your ankle actually plays a big role in whether your body can effectively right itself when you start to wobble.
  • Getting your eyes and ears checked regularly to maintain optimal function.
  • Wearing properly fitting footwear with good traction and reviewing your home for possible trip hazards.
  • If you’re struggling with dizziness, have your doctor review your medications with you for possible side effects.

The fear of falling may be a healthy fear at times. After all, it often keeps us from doing unsafe things. However, studies show that a fear of falling is associated with higher risk of falls, partly because individuals reduce their regular mobility and avoid activities that would normally challenge their system. This results in increasing weakness and perpetuates the cycle of instability.

Programs that target balance, like yoga and tai chi, are great, but the key to staying committed is to pick something you really enjoy. Activities like golf or gardening can be just as effective at challenging your system. Even going for a walk with a friend will require you to turn your head and hold a distracting conversation while picking your feet up and avoiding obstacles! If you’re unsure where to start, talk to a local physical or occupational therapist. They can do a specialized assessment to determine where your specific problems lie and recommend strategies to address them. Most importantly, keep moving! As they say, a body in motion stays in motion!

Rachel Hett, PT, DPT is a graduate of the University of Florida where she received her Bachelor of Health Science as well as her Doctor of Physical Therapy.  She is an experienced physical therapist as well as Team Leader in the senior living setting.  Her professional interests lie in Falls & Balance, Vestibular, Dementia, and Neuro programming.  Rachel is also a Certified Dementia Capable Care Specialist.