So since my last post, which talked about my mom's recent fall, we've done a few things to prevent another fall and limit the damage should she have one.
First, there are some great resources out there to help you if you're in fall prevention mode. The National Council on Aging is excellent, and provides a list of fall prevention programs all over the country. We actually found a great fall prevention program at the Y which we enlisted my mother in. She goes to the program 2 times a week, working on her strength, flexibility, balance and mobility.
My mother was initially very scared of falling. It prevented her from seeing her friends and from doing her normal activities. It also meant I had to spend more time at her house, which as I said in my previous post, made fulfilling my responsibilities to my own family a challenge. The program changed her life.
First, the exercises really helped her. Aside from going to the Y twice a week, she has a regular daily exercise routine to help her avoid falls. It includes doing 10 standing squats, one legged standing for 30 seconds on each leg, 10 toe raises and the plank for as long as she can. She loves the routine. Most importantly, it's given her enough confidence to get active again, stopping the downward health spiral.
She's also taking vitamin D supplements, to help strengthen her bones. After a consultation with her doctor, he suggested Vitamin D, with a glass of milk a day, would help with her bone density. This will hopefully prevent a fracture should she fall again.
Lastly, we got an occupational therapist and senior home remodeling expert to come to the house and they made a series of changes that have made a WORLD of difference. Firs they installed grab bars in the shower and by the toilet. Second they added a seat in the shower. Third they elevated the toilet seat. Fourth they got rid of a raised doorway threshold which she always tripped on. Fourth they added lighting everywhere - made a big difference in the hallway and the stairway. Lastly they added hand railings in her stairway upstairs and in front of her house.
But one thing was still bothering my mother. What if she fell and was too injured to get back up on her own. How would she call for help? Worse, what would happen if she fell and got knocked-out, who would find her and how long would it take?
Actually, that worry bothered me more than my mother. So we got her an emergency response system. The cost of a life alert system is not that much if you compare it to having a private caregiver, or sending her to a private home at $3,000 to $4,000 a month.
The system we got works great and gives both my mother and I peace of mind. Best of all she feels safe and is able to maintain her independence.
That said, between the exercises, nutrition, home modifications and alert system, we're feeling much safer than we were only a few months ago.