My Mum Falls Often: Here is How I make Her Life More Manageable
When my mum falls, it’s a scary moment, mainly because I don’t know whether she has hurt herself. How to lift her from the floor is always a concern to avoid more injury, even to myself. If I can’t lift her from the floor, I usually get someone else to help. If I think she has severe injuries, I call the local emergency unit.
Even when she has not injured herself as much, but I cannot lift her from the floor, I call the local non-emergency police or fire department and request a lift assist from the EMTs. As my mum falls often, here are some things I do.
Can I lift Her from the Floor?
Before I attempt to lift her, I have to make sure I have the necessary skills to avoid injuring myself or her. However, when she has sustained an injury, I leave her on the floor but make sure she is comfortable and warm as we wait for help to come. Excess movement can worsen the pain or cause more harm.
Immediately after the fall, I help her stay calm, take deep breaths, and encourage her to point out areas she feels the pain. I examine the injuries and check for bleeding, bruises, sprains, or broken bones.
What Do I Do When I Detect Injuries?
If I detect broken bones or serious injuries, I don’t move her at all but keep her warm and comfortable until the medics arrive. If she is not severely hurt and can stand up on her own, I assist her in doing it slowly, and if she gets stuck, experience pain, or become too tired to get up, we stop.
Note that even when your loved one has sustained minor injuries, it’s essential to have a thorough medical checkup and a doctor look at the wounds. Some of the common injuries are to the elbows and legs. An orthopedic surgeon can recommend an elbow debridement procedure when injuries are detected in the area.
I try to Encourage My Mum to Speak About Falls
One in every four elderly citizens above 65 years experiences a fall at least once per year, but fewer than half report the falls to caregivers or physicians. Most are embarrassed as frequent falls are indicators of a decline in health, including cognitive function.
Frequent falls might indicate poor eyesight, hearing loss, illnesses, lack of strength and stability. Most seniors would not want their caregivers to realize their deteriorating health because some are afraid of more severe implications such as being under nursing care or assisted living all their life.
Not talking about the incidences can lead to more severe injuries. Research has revealed that when a senior falls once, the chances of falling again doubles. Most falls indicate underlying health problems that need immediate medical attention. I encourage my mum to speak about a fall anytime it happens, but she is too embarrassed to talk most of the time.
I Now Pay More Attention to Her Health
Because my mum might not talk about every fall, I often pay more attention to how she walks, and I occasionally check her legs and arms. Some injuries will leave marks days after the fall making it easier to realize a problem. It’s also not easy to hide the pain.
If I suspect she has fallen lately, I usually ask the doctor to thoroughly check her body for injuries on the next scheduled visit. Also, I let the doctor know that my mum feels embarrassed talking about the falls. The doctor will think of how best to approach the topic and encourage her to discuss other embarrassing concerns.
How Do We Minimize the Falls?
If the falls are due to a medical issue, treating the underlying problem helps minimize the incidences. However, we realized we had to make our home safer and more comfortable for her. One of the significant causes of falls is poor eyesight.
We had to make sure our home is well-lit and clutter-free. We taught the young kids to put everything back to its place after use. Most importantly, we remove objects on the paths she uses the most.
We invest in carpets and floor rugs because we have slippery tiles. We also fixed grab-bars and rails on the hallways and bathrooms. We minimized movement up and downstairs by ensuring everything she needs is easily accessible on the lower floor of our home- we set up her bedroom where she didn’t have to go up a set of stairs.
We also have someone with her whenever she is walking around the house or outdoors to ensure there will always be someone to spot obstacles and remove them on the way or offer support when she needs it.