My mom is turning 89 in about a month. Her short-term memory is tarnished, but otherwise she is doing just fine.
I worry about her, though. One thing I worry about, especially with the winter months now approaching, is her falling. As a personal injury lawyer, I see a lot of slip-and-falls, trip-and-falls, and all other kinds of falls! So I know first hand the kind of serious harm a fall can cause.
So far mom has avoided any falls at all in her senior years. Will her luck continue?
Maybe there’s more to it than just “luck”. Maybe we can actually prevent falls. More on this below.
Falling is actually a pretty interesting phenomenon. Guess which age group falls the most. Seniors, right? Wrong! It’s toddlers, of course. But while young children do most of the falling in this world they suffer the least amount of consequences. Those small close-to-the-ground bodies end up with maybe a skinned knee or a bruised elbow in most cases.
The bigger they are the harder they fall. So a grown man from ages 18 to 75 is going to generally fall less but get injured more than a toddler. Interestingly, as we advance in age from 18 to 75, we not only fall more often (especially after we reach 65), but we also are prone to suffer greater injuries from the same falls. That’s why people 65 and older make up only about 13 percent of the population but account for 75% of deaths caused by falls. About 40 percent of those over 65 fall at least once a year, and of those that do, one in 40 ends up in the hospital.
Why do older folks fall so much? First, their balance deteriorates with age. Second, their legs and feet don’t work as well and they tend to drag their feet and are more likely to trip. Also, their eyesight might not be so good, which presents another tripping hazard.
Back to mom. How do I protect her from the risk of falling? Although there are no perfect solutions, there’s a lot I can do. I can encourage her to take balance and exercise classes for seniors at places like the YMCA. Exercising can help prevent falls because it can make muscles stronger and more flexible and improves balance.
I can also help mom prevent falling by conducting a “fall risk” inspection of her home (yes, she still lives at her home!). About half of all falls happen at home, so this is a great way to lower the odds of her becoming a fall victim.
So this coming weekend I am going to do a fall prevention inspection of her home. I will get rid of those old throw rugs or else use double-sided tape to keep them in place. I will install grab bars next to her toilet, tub and shower. I will check the non-slip mats in her bathtub and shower floor to make sure they are in good shape.
Just in case she does fall, though, I have another safety device for her that I highly recommend: A fall alarm system. There are lots of these available. Mom uses the “Life Station“. She wears a wrist band that looks like a watch with a button in the middle of where the watch face would be. If she ever falls, all she has to do is push the button. When that happens Life Station calls her. They can then talk to mom through a loud speaker device sitting on a table in her living room. If they can’t hear her, or if she does not respond to their call, they call her local 911.
When mom is safe and sound, I sleep better. So helping mom really helps me. Mom knows how that works; she has been helping me my whole life, which I am sure helped her sleep better over the years!
Help someone. Prevent their fall. You’ll sleep better, I promise!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.