Preventing Falls and Accidents at Home
Falls are such a common problem in the elderly, often because of equilibrium, medications and failing eyesight. Three of my own friends’ parents have been in the hospital recently from freak falls. My elderly father used to trip on his pretty persian throw rugs all the time and argued with me about putting them away, well, until he took a really bad fall but luckily didn’t break anything.
I am embarrassed to say that I have been recuperating from a freak fall and subsequent broken right arm and shattered shoulder–and not even on a throw rug to blame. I still can’t believe it happened to ME!
Apparently, my cushy rhinestone rubber flip-flops stuck on the hardwood floor and didn’t move with me when I had all my force stepping to the right. It happened so fast–one second I am standing there… and then BOOM, I am on the floor screaming. It was the most horrible sharp pain with immediate shock and chills and fever.
Luckily my condo concierge was with me, having just delivered a painting I ordered and helping open up the big box. Had I been alone, I don’t know how I would have possibly reached the phone, as I couldn’t move at all without excruciating pain.
Looking on the bright side, thank goodness I didn’t slice my face open on the glass coffee table and be facing plastic surgery; or wrench my head on the ottoman, break my neck and be paralyzed now. It happened so fast, I didn’t even have time to put my arm out and shatter my fingers, wrist and elbow!
So embarrassing–ambulance, numerous paramedics and friends all came to help, but I had to have mass quantities of Morphine before they could move me at all to get me on the gurney and to the hospital. Bright purple arm swollen twice its size, X-rays, CT, Vicodin, sling–and they send me home with, "Yeah, it’s broken real bad–good luck!" It is my first broken bone so I am shocked they aren’t keeping me in the hospital!
I couldn’t do anything for myself the first week–stayed in bed with friends handling everything, which is such a helpless feeling. Then three weeks in I started physical therapy three times a week and cried through nearly every session until recently.
I am delighted to report that I am getting much better and I am able to pat my head for a few seconds–hey, that is big! And, I am finally able to use the computer again, after hunting and pecking with my left hand for a couple months now. I have thrown away the flip-flops that flipped me out, and am thinking of getting a medical alert device. Here are the systems I have found–let us know if you have any experience with any of these!
For more, read Expert Patient Carol Bradley Bursack's SharePost on Medical Alert Services.
1) MedicAlert: http://www.medicalert.org/Main/24hour.aspx.
2) Health Watch: http://www.health-watch.com/
3) Lifeline: http://www.lifelinesys.com/
4) Rescue Alert: http://www.rescuealert.com/
5) Alert One: http://www.alert-1.com/plans.asp
6) American Medical Alarms: http://www.americanmedicalalarms.com/price.htm
7) Life Station: http://www.lifestation.com/?econline3
You can learn more about Jacqueline and find information about her book at ElderRage.com.