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Someone says they think she has lost the ability to react when she starts to fall. She is coming out of rehab & will be moving back into the house she is renting. They say they are releasing her from rehab because she is safe to be on her own! She uses a walker, but it won't fit into the bathroom so she was using a cane & holding onto the sink, a bar attached to the side of the tub, & then the arms on the toilet. Not sure she will be safe. Right now we are hiring aides since I can't be there with her all of the time. Any ideas as to why she might be falling or ways to help?

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I would call the Visiting Nurses Association and ask them to do an in home assessment.
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If we owned the house we would install rails, but it is a rental with tile walls in the bathroom. We could install as long as we repaired the wall when she was not there anymore. Tile repair would be difficult. The ultra-narrow may be good in the bathroom even if it isn't quite as stable because it is a small room & she wouldn't be moving very far with the walker.
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There are ultra-narrow walkers that might fit. I looked at two online and they didn't look as stable as a normal walker. My father was fall prone and the bathroom door was too narrow for his walker. (Why do they make those doors so narrow!) He had places he could grab, though, so he was able to leave his walker outside. On the week that he died, we had scheduled a company to come in and install handrails in the bathroom. That never happened, since he died. Safety rails are fairly inexpensive, so you may want to have someone come by to evaluate where she needs them. A good rail is worth so much!
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Thank you, she hasn't fallen while using the walker. I think some of her problem is lack of muscle tone. I was rather disappointed in the rehab where she was as they never had her use any weights, just the new step machine. I also wonder how much she was getting to drink as her cup was usually empty & I would fill it when I came. Is there a walker that has narrower legs? The door opening is about 21".
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Hiring aides was a good call on your part. That will give you some peace of mind and your mom may really enjoy having someone around. Have you thought of Life Alert? Your mom can wear the necklace around her neck and if she falls she can push that button for help. It can be set up to where the company calls you or they call you AND an ambulance, whatever her needs are.

As to why she might be falling, I'm sure there are all kinds of clinical reasons having to do with aging tendons, poor eyesight, poor balance, unsteady gait, etc. But the fact of the matter is old people fall. If they've had at least one fall that increases their chances of falling again. I don't know the statistics but I've heard them before. A very high percentage of elderly folks fall. Throw in medical conditions, certain medications, previous falls and that percentage increases. Unfortunately it's usually a fact of life for our elderly loved ones.

You're doing a great job. Your concerns are valid and you hired help for your mom when you can't be there. All you can do is try to create a safe environment for her but if she's going to fall, she's going to fall. You can't stop it and if/when she falls it's not your fault. You could lay out foam padding on every inch of your floor and hire someone 24/7 to watch her and she'll still fall. Aides are there in case she falls but they may not be able to prevent your mom from falling, not if the aide is at risk of falling at the same time in trying to keep your mom from falling. There's the 'controlled fall' where an aide can hang onto your mom (if the aide is right there the second your mom starts to go down) and gently ease her to the floor to lessen the impact of the fall but healthcare folks are taught to not put themselves at risk of injury or falling while caring for someone. I'm in home healthcare and depending upon the situation if it's either my patient and/or me that's going to fall it's going to be the patient because I won't risk myself or my body. That's where the controlled fall comes in. Do I want my patient to fall? Of course not. But if my patient is leaning on me or I'm assisting them as they walk I'm not going to go down with them.

You're doing what you're supposed to do, all you can do is try to lessen the chances of your mom falling. You can't alleviate her chances of falling. Good luck to you both!
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