At 70 years old, falls are becoming a major concern in my life. My wife has a chronic condition that now limits her ability to walk without the assistance of a wheeled rollator and too often without the assistance of an electric scooter. She has fallen so many times over the past few years it is amazing that she has not suffered a serious injury. Though she does have chronically swollen and discolored tissue on her shins from repetitively falling to her knees when she loses her balance.
She has fallen multiple times over the weekend alone and I prevented multiple others by restoring her balance seconds before she fell. Luckily, she was uninjured. I am very vigilant when my wife is using her rollator so I can come to her rescue if she loses her balance. While we (I) try to limit activities that put her at risk for falls, my wife accepts the risks rather than limiting her immobility.
I am not as good at falling as my wife is. I have only fallen twice that I can remember but I was injured both times. The first time, a few teeth punctured my upper lip, and the second time I partially tore the labrum in my hip. The lip was quick to heal, but I have spent nearly 15 months recovering from the hip injury.
Slow and STEADI
Falls and injury never entered our minds until just a few years ago. During the most recent visit to my general practice physician, she asked me several questions about my balance, falls and fear of falling. While this was the first time she asked these questions during my visit, she told me that these questions are now standard protocol for her patients aged 60 and older. The questions were adapted from a United States Government program designed to reduce falls among elderly people. The program is called Steadi (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries) .
We make a conscious effort to minimize the risks of falling and our physical therapists continue to play a major role in keeping us going. I do not know what we would do without them. They have helped us recover some injuries that he occurred and provided therapy to improve our strength and balance.