OT - Concerned about my Mom

murfmom

Cathlete
My Mom is 76 and has never really exercised (other than a short time at Curves, but I don't think she really worked up a sweat...). The other day she came to my daughter's orchestra concert, and on the way to the car afterwards she tripped and fell in the parking lot. Apparently she didn't notice the speed bump. This is the 3rd fall that I know of, all of which happened when she wasn't really watching her feet or paying attention to exactly where she stepped. I'm concerned that next time she might break a bone. (She sprained her shoulder this time and was unable to drive home.) Anyone can make a mistake, but I'm starting to wonder if she needs a cane or walker. She was embarrassed so I don't want to make her feel bad, but I don't want to ignore it if this is a potentially dangerous trend. Has anyone been through anything similar with a loved one? Any advice?
 

dreamyjeanie

Cathlete
So sorry you and your mom are going through this. Unfortunately everyone is different. Like you said you don't want to embarrass her more, but hopefully you can find a tactful way to let her know you are concerned and that you would like to help her to find a solution that may help her prevent a serious injury. You can try and feel your mom out about how she feels about a cane or walker. Sometimes people don't want to admit they are aging and need assistance. My MIL didn't want to use a walker although she had fallen and received a fracture, while my mother, after taking a semi-serious fall, now makes sure she uses a walker almost 100% of the time. Hopefully your mother will realize you are just trying to look out for her.
 

Justinef

Cathlete
My mum fell down the stairs earlier this year, fracturing both wrists, an elbow, breaking 2 ribs and her nose. It was vertigo, which she had been in denial about. It turned out that it's stiffness / arthritis in her neck which causes the diziness - a few neck stretches, and she's as right as rain.
Perhaps have your mum checked for things like vertigo (just feels like not being able to balance, apparently).
Best of luck,
Justine
 

workout

Cathlete
Hello, I remember my mom also falling (very scary) and I tactfully and respectfully asked her if she thinks a cane would help her so that she can continue walking around safely. So I put it in a way that she would make the decision and then we both went to pick out a nice cane (I paid for it as a gift) and thanked her for making a good decision. Again, everybody is different and the older they get they may be more scared to fall and decide on some assistance like a cane or walker. In fact, later on my mother needed a walker and she loved it - my sister bought her one with a seat and a pouch.

Hope your mom gets better.
 

melagras

Cathlete
My mum fell down the stairs earlier this year, fracturing both wrists, an elbow, breaking 2 ribs and her nose. It was vertigo, which she had been in denial about. It turned out that it's stiffness / arthritis in her neck which causes the diziness - a few neck stretches, and she's as right as rain.
Perhaps have your mum checked for things like vertigo (just feels like not being able to balance, apparently).
Best of luck,
Justine
I totally agree with this comment. While I was going through PT for my positional vertigo, my therapist talked about her elderly patients who come in on a regular basis because of vertigo. Apparently, our vestibular (inner ear) system ages just like our bodies. Something else to look forward to - UGH!
 

firemedic

Cathlete
My MIL fell from her attic latter about 2 yrs ago and my husband told her she needed to slow down and suggested a cane, but she refused. She then fell down her basement stairs and broke all the bones in her face along with other bones. But she did not survive that fall and that was about 10 months ago. My husband still blames himself for not trying to do more. We live in FL and my in-laws live in PA. So it makes it hard to get someone to listen. So I hope you find a solution for your mother. It's hard having to talk with them when they don't always want to listen but at least your living near her and hopefully make it easier for her. It did with my grandmother who only lives 20 miles away. She listened to me and I got her a great walker and she's never regreted it. Best of luck to you and your mother and happy holidays.
 

murfmom

Cathlete
Thanks so much for all of your comments! It's scary to think what could happen. I mentioned a cane the other day...she didn't get upset, but I don't think she's quite ready to do it yet. Her Mom died Friday, and it was my Dad's birthday, so I didn't push too hard. Two of my three sisters will be here this week, so I'll talk it over with them. As for myself, I'm really starting to take the balance exercises more seriously, and doing them every chance I get. You guys are so understanding, supportive and awesome!
 

maddiesmum

Cathlete
My mother is 80 and we have been going through the same, or rather, she has. In her case, a lot has come from being so harried all the time, at home, looking after my father with vascular dementia. She was rushing everywhere, losing her footing, falling. Broken wrist, wrenched shoulder, etc, etc.

My father is now in a home, so that takes masses of pressure of her. Still, her personality, and my own (!), is why walk when you can rush?!!? So, this will happen again.

When she came to visit me from London last may, we went shopping and I bought he the most comfortable pair of sandals: everything velcro, padded footbeds like you would not believe, only a natural heel, and she wears them all year long in the UK. She is more stable now, her footwear fits better, the risk of another incident is still there, of course, but this is a small contribution.

The most difficult thing is to help an aging parent accept that who they feel to be inside, how they have always felt inside, no longer matches up to the physical reality of their aging body. This we have to handle with grace, tact, humour, and slow pacing.

The trick, in our case, is getting her to think about sloooooooooowing her walking. Stop rushing. Place the feet with care. Look where you are going. Stop trying to do 10 things at once as she used to do when all we kids were at home.... it's a major attitude adjustment. Lots of hugs required and frequent manifestations of love.

A cane can help with this as it will naturally increase mindfulness. Perhaps you could take your mother shopping for one she likes, or maybe research online: are there any whimsical ones with interesting wooden heads? Something to match her personalty, so it is an accessory, rather than an aging tool....

Clare
 

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