Don’t underestimate the power of a fall

hospital

Admittedly, I used to laugh at those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” LifeAlert commercials. What can I say, I was young and the commercials were done in an over-the-top manner. But as my parents aged, I discovered that falling is no laughing matter.

My father’s love of walking made him a dangerous dementia patient. When he was at the memory care center, we got several calls over the course of a year that my father had fallen. The care center’s policy required them to inform us each time Dad took a spill, even if he was not injured or was not taken to the hospital. Sometimes he was taken to the hospital, and I can only imagine how an ambulance ride and an ER visit must seem to someone with dementia.

Even though Dad took multiple spills, he never ended up with more than bruises. My mother, on the other hand, took one bad fall and broke her shoulder. She lived with pain from the injury for the rest of her life. When she first became ill with cancer, her mental status changed and the home health staff suggested I get a monitoring system for her. I signed up for the one they offered, which was Philips Lifeline. Overall, I was satisfied with the service. There was a billing issue upon returning the equipment after her death, but the service while she was alive was good.

ReviewsBee rates the Top 10 Medical Alert Systems, placing Philips Lifeline at #5. I mainly agree with the review. My mother was skeptical of technology, but because Philips is such a well-known and trusted brand, she was more comfortable using the product. The fall-sensor technology was sometimes oversensitive, thinking my mother had fallen when she just turned over in bed, but it was still reassuring to know that a live person would check on my mom immediately via intercom if a fall was detected.

All systems have their pros and cons, and I only had experience with the one brand, so make sure to read reviews from different sources and think about the features that are most important to your family. Keep in mind that some monitoring systems require landlines and make sure to read your contract so that you don’t get stuck with fees when returning the equipment when it is no longer needed.

If you have tips on preventing falls, I would love to hear about them.

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3 Comments

Filed under Awareness & Activism

3 responses to “Don’t underestimate the power of a fall

  1. Great article with so much useful and helpful information! Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. We should pay more attention to fall prevention!
    P.S. Thanks for the mention 🙂

  2. I wish I had tips on preventing falls. When my FIL was alive, he fell all the time due to his Parkinson’s. He had several stitches over the years, but thankfully never broke anything. Unfortunately, it’s a fall that ended my MIL’s life this past weekend. What happens in the elderly is that if they break something, their body usually isn’t strong enough to heal. While my MIL was laid up from the broken bones, she got one infection after another that her body couldn’t fight off. It was the infections, not the breaks or the fall that took her life.

    Thank you for sharing your story and about the life alert system.

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