Falls, Falls, and More Falls – Part II

The other day I wrote about elder adults and falls after reading Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation, published in the November 2, 2014 New York Times. The author, Katie Hafner, wrote about the extreme challenges of falls for aging individuals. The next day, November 3rd, part II appeared. Katie Hafner’s second piece, A Tiny Stumble, A Life Upended, focused on one individual and her arduous recovery from a damaging fall. Both articles are worth reading.

My Past Blog Posts on Adult Falls

Falls, Falls, and More Falls for Older Adults – NY Times Article

The line on each bar illustrates the margin or error. Statisticians call this a confidence interval.

The line on each bar illustrates the margin or error. Statisticians call this a confidence interval.

I’ve just finished reading Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation, uploaded a few hours ago on the New York Times website. Long time readers of this blog, AsOurParentsAge,  know that I’ve been keenly interested in falls, and I’ve written about them often (see a list of links at the end of this post). My husband’s parents experienced some terrible falls, and one lead within to my father-in-law’s death a month or so afterward.

The Times article, by Katie Hafner, datelined in San Francisco, describes the increasing frequency of elder falls and the challenges presented, principally in one community for older adults. This is a long and detailed article, periodically quoting elder experts in the field and highlighting that many older adults, even the parents of some of these experts, continue to reject canes, walkers, and other supports that offer them greater balance. The report includes several excellent graphics. Continue reading

Observing a Senior Fall in the Supermarket

A range of canes at Fashioncane.com

Alas we watched it happen this afternoon.

Moving at breakneck speed through a large supermarket we reached the end of a row and saw an elderly woman fall as she pushed her cart. Earlier we had watched her moving slowly through the store, but we had not noticed any balance problems.

Still, we know what a fall means to an elderly person — often health deteriorates quickly — so we could not help feeling sad. We remembered how falls altered the playing field for my husband’s mother and father. Each fall meant a few days of hospitalization or at least bed rest, then a few complications after being confined to bed, and finally less mobility and confidence. This fact sheet, Seniors’ Falls Can Be Prevented, from Health Link in British Columbia shares some eye-opening facts about senior falls.

The store management was terrific. Two people sat right down on the floor with the woman while they waited for the rescue squad. No help was necessary from any of the shoppers, and the staff positioned her cart to shield her from the many people who passed by. Shortly thereafter an ambulance arrived. Continue reading