September 30, 2014
Fall Hazards Are Subtle
Another procedure keeps me safe at bedtime. I rely on my vision to tell me if I am vertical. If I turn around after I darken a room by turning the lamp off I stumble badly. I quickly learned to make sure I am turned to face the lighted room I am heading towards before I look down to find the light switch. It is a relief to find the lit room as soon as I look up.
If these procedures sound trivial, let me tell you about a stroke survivor who could have ended up in a long-term care facility because of a bad fall. He has impaired balance so the hospital staff gave him a long-handled reacher so he would not lean over to pick up objects on the floor. But using a reacher at home was frustrating. If he was downstairs the reacher was upstairs. If he was at one end of the house the reacher was at the other end of the house. This repeated aggravation tempted him to reach down to pick up something even though he knew it was not safe. He fell and broke his sound wrist. When he finally got back home he bought three more reachers. A reacher is always close because he has two reachers per floor with one at each end of the house.
I learned not to let subtle fall hazards lull me into a false sense of security because they do not make me fall every time I encounter them. Are there hazards in your home you are not paying attention to, like a poorly lit front porch or extension cords snaking across a room?