Why Do Falls Happen?
My mother has the “invincibility gene” and she passed it on to me. She lives one thousand miles away. She just informed me that she severely stretched the tendons in her ankles by using a ladder. To be honest my father had the same gene. I remember my mother calling to complain about him climbing up a two-story ladder to fix the gutters or push snow off the roof.
I have a friend whose father strapped a chainsaw to a rope around his waist, carried it up a ladder and onto the roof. He proceeded to cut his three-car garage in half. My friend got a frantic call from her mother, watching from the kitchen window, while he performed this amazing feat. Good news, no bodily injuries. The garage is a different story.
The “invincibility gene” is an issue of independence, judgement, and denial. Medications frequently warn of the risk of dizziness which can be provoked by moments of imbalance. Bifocals can impair sight in times of quick movements. Falls frequently occur when someone is alone or unsupervised. Most of us will not accept our physical limitations longer than we should raising our risk of injury. Falls can be physically painful and financially costly.
Here are five practical suggestions to reduce falls for those who continue to exercise their “invincibility gene”:
Rearrange the kitchen cabinets and closets moving needed items down too easy to reach locations.
Install gripper strips or skid pads on porches and steps that tend to be slippery when wet.
Securely mount railings preferably on both side of the staircase.
Anticipate bathroom falls by installing grab bars in the bathtub and gripper strips on the tub and shower floor make the wet surfaces more manageable. Bathroom rugs should stick firmly to the floor.
Organize the living area. Throw rugs and clutter represent land mines for senior adults, especially in the dark or with poor eyesight. Secure the rugs with carpet tape. Move the clutter up off the floor.
Monica Stynchula – CEO / REUNIONCare, Inc.