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Topic How can we keep Mom from falling? Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By nan2 On 2010.07.28 22:39
My mom has been in assisted living for 4 months and they are suggesting she may need someone at her side 24/7. I can't imagine where she would go next. The paramedics have taken her to the ER twice due to falls, but now that the cast on her ankle is off and the bruises and dinks have started to heal she wants to move about. More falls are inevitable and more calls to 911.
All the residents wear call buttons and my mom does use hers, but not often enough. She is alarmed but unclips the device. Surely there is more we can do before resorting to a less humane nursing facility.
I'm going to try to figure out if the alarm device will take a stronger clip. What about a safety pin to keep it attached to her clothing? What about bed rails? I don't think most rails will keep her in bed, but maybe a hospital bed? How about the mattress on the floor? But falling out of bed from a supine position has not been the problem.
The wheelchair has a lap belt, but are there comfortable chairs for watching TV that have belts or lap trays? I am trying to come up with as many ideas as possible and hoping for more from all you experts out there. Making the environment as safe as possible for falls was possible in her own place but in assisted living prevention is the key.
Thanks so much for any ideas.

By overwhelmedinFL On 2010.07.31 17:25
Sorry abour your mom's falls.. If you read some of my posts you will see it is how my life has gone with my mom this past year.

My thoughts are
1. Does her ALF really understand Parkinsons?
2. Did your mom recently deteriorate quickly?

My mom went from riding her bike 6 miles a day and doing water aerobics, line dancing in 1/2009 to being in an ALF in 10/2009 with a walker for trips to the potty...and by 1/2010 she was fully in a wheelchair and a walker when assisted. So one year she went downhill.

From 10/2009 when she moved into the facility..a brand new one with lots of staff.. She fell more than all the other residents combined. She pushed her button/alarm less than any other resident. She still thought she could walk. She would bend down to pick up a speck of paper..she was drawn to pick up that speck of paper like it was a 3 carat diamond.

It was very frustrating. The ALF could not get through her head to ask for help. Part of it cognitive I think, and much of it stubbornness to let go of what little independence she had left. Thoughout this year we have had counselors speak with her (my dad is on hospice in the ALF and the counselors come regarding him). The counselor is great and basically my mom is dealing with her disease and loss of independence in a terrible way. She just cannot accept it. My mom is 5'2" and has gone from 125lbs to probably 190lbs this year and that has also made her very mad. Lack of exercise, too much food put in front of her.. but that weight/padding has probably saved her from breaking a hip.

I don't think you can stop your mom from falling. Someone can be right next to her and the second they turn their head she can fall. It happened ot my mom last week.

Your mom is the only one that can stop this and she has to want to stop it. Have you thought of having someone speak to her? Is there a local PD group she can go to?

I am so sorry, but in the last 3-4 months my mom has finally accepted a bit of her disease and limitations. She hardly every falls anymore because she does not try to walk unless with a nurse or therapist. might want to get her doctor to prescribe some home health to come do special therapy for PD patients with her. My mom is now working with a company called Geveity I think and my mom feels her balance is improving. They have much experience with PD patients.

Hope this helps.

By Emma On 2010.07.31 18:28
nan2, I'm sorry to hear about the problems with your mom. It must be frightening and maddening at the same time. If you could find an assisted living facility that has a Parkinson's unit that would be great, but I can tell you from personal experience that no one, not even a nursing home can be "eyes on" every minute of every day and even if they could you would have to be extremely wealthy to pay for that kind of care. My aunt was in a nursing home recovering from a broken hip and while she was there she fell and broke her other hip. It wasn't really their fault, she got out of bed and her alarm went off but by the time they got there the damage was done.

I don't know the answer,my husband is just now starting to accept some of his limitations but he still at times does what I consider to be foolish and dangerous things. I do what I can to keep him as healthy and safe as possible but I can't totally control his life and I can't save him from himself.

Maybe as overwhelmedinFL said some therapy to improve her balance would help. We have a PT with Parkinson's posting here now so maybe you can get some professional advice.

Good luck!

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