Caregiving Tip for the Week for When Falls Occur
Falls occur no matter what our age. Most cause a bruise or two. However, the aging process often adds an element to a simple fall. It is easy to forget that when seeing a loved one lying on the floor, the grass or a sidewalk.
What I am talking about here are the bone degenerating diseases. Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, gout, low bone density (osteopenia) and rheumatoid arthritis are just a few of the possible problems. Bones with any of these conditions or any combination of these conditions can be more fragile than the same bones were when younger.
Adding any one of these bone conditions, a fall can become something a lot more complicated than a bruise or two. Unless you are a trained medical professional, simply picking up someone on the floor and helping him or her to a bed or chair can cause greater damage than the accident itself. My mother had osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. One of her doctors warned us about the risks involved in a fall.
My father was a retired construction worker and was accustomed to utilizing his strength when necessary. Had not the doctor explained the dangers in simply lifting my parent from the floor to a bed or chair, neither he nor I would have thought twice about the simple response.
Brittle bones fracture/break easily. Move an injured spine without proper support, a neck, a fractured arm the wrong way and the fracture can become much more serious. Maybe nerves get pinched so badly feeling or mobility is impaired. In short, unskilled help, sometimes even skilled help can make a small problem a much bigger issue.
Resources Available for Assistance
I am a great fan of calling the Fire Department in the case of a fall at the home or during an outing. One of the first things any of my relatives did after a tumble was try to get up themselves.
Embarassment or just plain orneriness was usually the problem. In either situation keeping your loved one calm and and as motionless as possible until trained help can arrive is invaluable. In the few cases falls happened in my family, the first responders were wonderful. We only needed one hospitalization and that was for observation.
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