The Anatomy of a Fall — Mine

My Boot!

My Boot!

In April 2016 the health writer Jane Brody wrote a powerful essay in the New York Times Personal Health column, Thriving at Age 70 and Beyond. She described the importance of focusing, as we age, on a healthy life style and maintaining social relationships as well as adjusting to age-related physical changes that occur. Brody specifically noted that we need to make individual adjustments to reduce the risk of falls.

All-in-all, the article, mostly focused on women, but much also applicable to men, encouraged people to think in all sorts of ways about what they can do to stay as healthy and strong as possible as aging progresses.

I am still a distance from age 70, yet Brody’s New York Times article offered a wake-up call — reminding me to think about my own aging and any potential issues. I thought a lot about the things we have already done in our own house to prevent falling problems and considered what else we might do. And then, a few weeks later, I fell.

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Pets Can Cause Falls

Check out these safety guidelines.

I watched it happen almost in slow motion.

An elderly woman climbed out of her golf cart, and her medium-sized dog bounded out beside her. But then the dog saw another dog and without looking back, tried to take off, jerking on the leash. The woman held onto the leash, but she fell down. Her injuries were severe enough to require a call to the rescue squad and a trip to the hospital.

A March 2012 New York Times New Old Age blog article, Rethinking the Value of Pets, highlights the dangers of mixing pets and elders, and it contains links to research on pets, people, and accidents. So many pet-related falls occur, that the article quotes Harold Herzog, a professor at Western Carolina University, who comments, “If we were giving a drug that had such serious side effects, we’d consider taking that drug off the market.”

Realistically, people are not going to give up pets. However, more care needs to be taken. Below are a few resources to read, just to keep informed about the potential problems.          Continue reading

Different Falls – Different Interventions

If you have aging parents who falls — and recently one of my parents took a spill — read the article about senior falling in the September 2010 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Mobilize Boston, the organization that conducted the research stated on its website that, “The purpose of the study is to collect information that will help us learn how older adults can maintain their health and independence longer.” The article abstract is free, but the article itself requires payment (or you can visit the library at your local hospital).

Identifying the differences between senior falls that occurred inside and those that occurred outside, the Mobilize Boston Study followed a cohort of 765 randomly selected men and women, most over 70 years old. Researchers collected data through questionnaires and medical examinations. During a median follow-up period of 21.7 months, 1,122 total falls occurred, consisting of 598 indoors and 524 outdoors. All study participants were Boston, Massachusetts residents, and they reported falls as they occurred.

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