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I'm her primary caregiver and she has been taking falls steady for the last year. Every so often. Now it's like once monthly. She also has lung disease and on oxygen full time. It worries me and not sure how to deal with it. I'm praying it doesn't get to point that I have to place her in NH. But, her safety is my number one concern in the matter. Has anyone else experienced this? How did you deal with it? I'm making appointment next week for specialist. She exhibits many signs of Parkinson's. Appreciate any feedback or positive vibes! Thanks, Kelly

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When was the last time she had a PT consult? She may need a wheelchair or 100% supervision.
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Dianne, I'll share what I learned when my LO suffered repeated falls. It was very scary and stressful. She ended up with a fractured foot, fractured spine, fractured hand, and fractured wrist, all on different occasions. These injuries caused her a lot of pain, especially her spine. We tried everything, including a safety belt for when she's in her wheelchair and a bed alarm that alerted when she got out of bed at night. (She couldn't walk, but, would get out of bed and hit the floor.)

Regardless, of the measures you take to prevent falls, it's unlikely that you can prevent them, unless you are standing by her side all the time. I once caught my LO from falling as she tried to walk around her walker. She went straight back and would have hit the floor had I not caught her. There was no reason for her to have turned loose of her walker. Her brain just wasn't working properly. Her falls were actually 100% due to loss of balance. And, if she had been holding on to the walker, as she was supposed to be, she would not have fallen, but, she forgot to use her walker due to dementia, so no amount of reminding, notes, etc. helped. The only thing that worked was supervising her constantly, so that if she got up, you told her to grab her walker and you watched to ensure that she didn't let go of it. Otherwise, she would forget. But, that's not practical, so they forget, they fall and they get the fractures.

I might discuss her falls with the doctor you are going to see. Is this the same one who diagnosed her with dementia 6 years ago? You say that she's thinking clearly, but, if she is falling and not using the walker, I would consider that she is progressing in the dementia, since she's not using proper judgment. Or she's just forgetting. Either way, it's not likely to improve. I'd explore the options if you cannot handle her fulltime care. Soon after my LO's falls, she went to a wheelchair and that did slow the falls down, but, you would still need to know how to do transfers inside the home 24/7 and she could not be left alone if wheelchair bound. If she were to fall, you could call 911 to help get her up.

I hope you find the answers you need.
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Dianne38 Nov 30, 2018
Her last fall was several weeks ago but she didn't start complaining about extra or increased pain until a week ago. I don't get why it's taking so long for her to experience the after math from the fall. She never will go checked at ER. This last fall was in kitchen instead of bedroom. She had walker but didn't do any good. I just wonder if it's possible to feel the pain from fracture a week later? If so, I think I will take her in for x-ray to just make sure. She has degenerate disc disease and these falls only increase the pain. Her specialist is a nerologist and I'm having her checked for PD. I'm almost certain. The doc who diagnosed the dementia was a fill in doc and her regular doc has never told me she had dementia. But, it always stayed in my mind BC he saw something in her to lead him to think this. It's so much to think about and figure out, but I'm realizing how important getting correct diagnoses are, so the PT can be treated appropriately. She sees a new pain specialist next week that I hope will get her to better coping place for pain. Thanks for all feedback and thoughts!
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This most likely has nothing to do with your mother but it was a huge eye opener for me. My best friend Betsy, had suffered head and neck cancer in her 40's, and the consequent loss of speech ; she was using a feeding tube when I met her. She fed herself and lived alone. She was 76 years old, lived in a big rambling co-op in nyc with her dog. I met her in the dog run. She began showing me her huge bruises all over her chest arms and back, and then her face, and she did not come clean about why. She had a lying streak, and would just say"SHE FELL FLAT ON HER FACE FOR NO REASON".
Well, the reason that she was falling, was that she was feeding herself vodka and gin along with liquid codeine /tylenol right into her feeding tube. I never smelled it on her, because it went right into her esophagus, bypassing her mouth. She could not swallow. When she finally fell so hard while in a parking lot that she broke her knee and wound up in a brutal E>R with doctors who yanked out 4 of her teeth, and could not understand a words she said.
Her doctor asked me if she was drinking; it never occured to me that she even could without me noticing the smell.
I was her best friend but she was very stubborn and very alcoholic. She hid the drinking in plain sight of me. She Kept 2 large gallon sized bottles of vodka and gin in her kitchen. She claimed that they were for guests-but she never had guests.
This story may be unacceptable for this group but it was a huge eye opener for me. Old people self medicate just as young people do.
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PrairieLake Nov 30, 2018
Oh, I can relate to your experience. My Dad was living by himself and kept falling. He said it was his medication, or getting up too fast.
The gallons of vodka and wine he hid under his sink had nothing to do with it, he said. He said it was only for company and he never drank.
Funny thing, now that he is in the nursing home and unable to drink he isn’t falling down anymore.
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I assume that it happened at home. Are all of the floors fall safe?
No throw rugs etc. Are there handrails at the toilet, tub, and around the sink?
Try to see , and keep a Fall diary, how and why it usually happens.
Make sure she has a medical guardian alert system, for 24 hour access to the E>R and you. Make sure her shoes are sturdy, no laces but the velcro type of closures.
Is her hip bothering her? My stepmother was falling and had balance issues and after they found out that she had water on the brain, and a hip issue they did surgery for both. She is fine now.
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Falls happen anywhere, so if you’re looking to PREVENT a fall, I’m sorry to say that’s not possible. If you’re worried about her spending time on the floor until she’s found after falling AND she is of reasonably sound mind, give her the choice! “Mom, I’m worried about you falling when no one is home. I’d hate for you to spend a night on the floor.” You may be surprised what an elder is willing to trade off to keep their independence in their own home. To them, safety doesn’t necessarily trump the comforts of home and independence. If Mom is willing to spend some time on the floor possibly in pain in case of a fall, then I’d say honor her decision and keep her home as long as possible. If she falls and breaks a hip, then you can rest easy knowing she went out on her own terms. It’s so hard!!! *** I don’t give this advice flippantly. My MIL and FIL flat out refused to move into AL, so we’ve supported them as much as we can in their own home. (We did make them move to our town, as their drs told them ‘no more driving,’ and they weren’t behaving. In that case, yes, safety — theirs and others’ — had to trump comfort.) Their daytime caregiver was giving FIL a shower Monday when MIL decided to go for a stroll around the house. She fell, hit the corner of a table (we think) on her way down, and broke her femur. She is now heavily medicated for the pain and is expected to pass by week’s end. It’s awful!! But ya know what?? She wanted to die peacefully at home in her own bed, not at a facility or hospital. My husband and I honored that as best we could, and she is getting her wish. God rest her soul. Meanwhile, we’ve already started looking for an MC facility for FIL. He needs 24-hr supervision (late stage Alzheimer’s), which he cannot afford privately at home.
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Dianne38 Nov 24, 2018
Wow FarmJelly. I am so sorry to hear about your MIL. It's Alot of stress. Just taking on the "worry," factor of a loved one...But then when you add all the other obligations, it can feel tremendous. I got mom an nerologist appt. Hence, the suspicion of PD. But he is booked until end of January. I guess I wasn't clear on what advice or help I was asking for! I think I wasn't even sure. Just to know others know exactly what I'm going through and what I'm feeling, is quite enough. My mom hasn't drove in like five years! Some things just aren't negotiable!! I feel so bad for all elders that slowly start losing independence, and then illness after illness arrives. So sad. Thanks for response, and again very sorry about your MIL. At least you will rest assured that you honored her wishes.
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Wow, a lot of information to take in! All helpful and appreciated however. She is using a walker but she tends to walk way to far from the handles. The reason I think Parkinson's is because about fifteen years ago she was told by a nerologist that she had early stages. She was working and all over the place. I thought he was wrong but that's why he is the professional. He is the best one in our area. She has tremors, and flat face, and fast shuffling almost like running when walking.She was also told she had early stages dementia about six years ago. She is very ill right now, and she will be here with me until God forbid, she can't walk any. The reason I mention NH and the falls, is because I can't lift her, at all. So if she gets past walking, Ican't transfer her. She is of sound mind, but has some moments sometimes, where I feel she is paranoid. She has been complaining of dizzness lately. Please keep us in Prayers!!💙😇💙💗💖😘
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My Mom was diagnosed with dementia and everyday in late afternoon when my Dad took mom to the bathroom she would just crumble to the floor when she went thru the doorway. Had PT come in to help with walking and exercise and he would come in the morning. Second time he came he asked questions about what type of dementia Mom had and did she have Parkinsons. We had no idea about the dementia and no to Parkinson's. He suggested we let doctor know that mom was hesitating at thresholds and showed mild signs of Parkinson’s. At this point my parents were still going to Church everyday, etc with mom holding onto Dads arm. With a change/addition to medication and deciding to put a commode behind a screen in dining room the falls stopped. However after a couple of years moms mobility declined and we just used a wheelchair around the house. Hope this was helpful and good luck on this journey 🙏
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She should be seen by a neurologist.
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I can't tell from your post how your mother's cognitive capabiities are at this time. If they are reasonably still OK, as one of the other posts sugested, she might benefit from balance training. I live in a mid-sized city, and we have multiple options for group balance training--many specifically for seniors--and including some specifically for people with Parkinson's. You can also get such training individually from a physical therapist, and one of your mother's healh care provides should be glad to prescribe it. I agree with the suggestions of some of the other posts about making things safer in your mother's environment, but if she is able to improve her balance, that would also help, and give her some self-confidence.
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Falls CAN occur ANYWHERE. Our personal criteria for decision making was based on fall risk vs. availability of services and care.

LO fell in her AL after living there about 3 months, I was notified within 20 minutes, she received Tylenol and stated that she had no pain, slept well, and was X-rayed the following morning.

She had fractured her clavicle, and wore a sling for 7 weeks, healed correctly, no problem.

In HER situation, the AL was the better choice for her, and she’s doing well there, with frequent visits and lots of staff love and encouragement.

I was an ABSOLUTELY CONFIRMED anti-NH advocate until I tearfully admitted that my sweet mom’s management was totally overwhelming even to an active and cooperative family team.

The last 5 1/2 years of her life were far happier and more comfortable than many years before them. Try to keep an open mind about ANY potential alternatives to her care, doing the best you can to find safe, comfortable, and content, whatever you (and she) decide.

If you DO decide to choose a residential care setting, the closer you are, the more comfortable you’ll be likely to feel. I LOVE the fact that I can run in and check on my LO several times a week. Our short visits are a joy for both of us!
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jacobsonbob Nov 19, 2018
I love what you said about being an "absolutely confirmed anti-NH advocate until...". I would like to quote this (anonymously, of course, but mentioning the AgingCare forum) whenever I read a comment on Yahoo or elsewhere that "selfish children throw their parents into nursing homes to get rid of them". I've answered such comments by mentioning that nursing homes are expensive, so a selfish person would want to inherit all the parents' money instead of spending some or all of it for nursing home care (but of course I realize some parents don't have assets to inherit). However, your comment really sums up the other side of the issue--that the most generous and helpful children sometimes have to concede that they can't do it all themselves. As one person I respect told when I was planning to care for my parents by myself as opposed to keeping them in a nursing home "they're professionals; you're not".

Thanks for this candid and succinct statement summarizing the decision most of us ultimately are forced to make.
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Nursing home is not necessarily the answer.
Mom fell the first day in the nursing home even with a bed alarm and knowing that she was a fall risk.
The only way a fall can be avoided is constant 24 hour one on one monitoring and who can really do that. Can you?
With that in mind have her in a facility where immediate help is available and she can be monitored as much as possible.
Do yourself and your mother a favor and your some facilities in advance an go to your two best choices on a Sunday and talk to families coming into the home. Ask them how the care is there. Ask them about the quality of care.
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Is there any way she can get 24hour supervision WITHOUT a NH? Is there some way for her to attend balance "classes"? My mom had 3 falls over a period of 5 years i think, and she is super-careful now but she had a close call this morning. She wears booties at night for comfort on her hammertoe and bunion, and the treads had slipped off the bottoms of her feet and she was slipping off the bed. Luckily I had moved to the couch earlier in the AM and heard her crying. I was able to hold her up and w my other hand I called up on the intercom to my brother, who helped her back on the (moving! ) bed. It was such an ordeal for her, ( she is 85 and frail/vulnerable at this time) she was still shaking and her heart was pounding a half hour later. I did try to sign her up for balance classes after her last fall but she was adamant that she didn't need them. So I know they have them. Maybe u can check w ur local hospital. Good Luck! God bless!
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I installed some grab bars in my mother's bedroom and bath just so she can hold to them when getting out of bed or moving around her room while dressing. She hasn't fallen where I have the grab bars but has taken a couple of falls where they are not.

If your mother will use one of the walkers with rollers while moving through the house that may help reduce the falls. My mom can use the older model where when she presses down springs let the posts touch the floor and stop the walker. My brother purchased one of the new rollator walkers but mom doesn't like having to use the "brakes" to stop it from rolling.
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Falls can be a sign of Parkinson’s. It’s a hard disease to diagnose. What to look for is a fall and nothing is done to protect themselves. No arms up, not trying to grab on to something. When they walk, no arm movement. Arms hang straight down. No facial movement. Blank face.

Only a neurologist can really diagnose. They do an MRI first to discount a stroke that was undiagnosed. Then it’s a matter of watching them walk and look for other signs.

Taking carbidopa for Parkinson’s can come with a plethora of side effects. Some will get them and others do not. My husband got every one of them listed.

Please go to a Neurologist first. Get the MRI that will be suggested and go from there. Don’t put the word Parkinson’s out there to the Dr. Let them do the tests and see.
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Falling becomes an issue for the elderly. My father kept falling when he was in his 80's, he discovered his balance was compromised. He was in good health otherwise and decided to do PT for his balance.
My MIL falls or bends down to get something and can't get back up.

What are the signs of Parkinsons? My husband and MIL both have them but they are essential tremors and my husband's is made worse by some meds as is my MIL. Hubby has COPD and most of those med side effects are Parkinson like.
Just something to consider.
A cane may be helpful too.
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My mother fell, breaking her hip, with TWO aides in the room. When I recounted this story to the RN who did mom's discharge planning, she said " sweetie, my mom fell with 3 RNs in her room. And one of them was me ( her daughter)".

Elders fall.
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The worse Alzheimer's gets, the more falls they will experience. It's called gait apraxia due to the plaquing. I think they simply forget how to walk.
(1) Most falls happen at night and near the bed. Get Mat alarms..when they step onto them it goes off. You can get them on amazon.
(2) keep hallways lit.
(3) lots of grab bars for walk-in showers. You need to get rid of the bathtub.
(4) fall mats near the bed.
(5) Get walkers with wheels.
(6) Get rid of throw rugs.
(7) ****Keep a bowel diary.**** If they still flush buy a flush lock to install on the toilet because you need to see their bowel movements and record it on your calendar. Why? Constipation feels uncomfortable so they will wander trying to find relief. They can get impacted as little as 2 days. If they get impacted you need to take them to the Emergency Room where a nurse will disimpact them and give them enemas. NOBODY will talk to you about bowels but the stress of caregiving -- over 90% of it has to do with their bowels. The older they get the worse their bowel function becomes.
Most people with Alzheimer's will die due to either falls or pneumonia.
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cwillie Nov 19, 2018
All great points - but the OP hasn't mentioned there being any form of dementia.
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Get her a walker! She needs to see a neurologist for an official diagnosis. She might be suffering from a different degenerative disease. Some of the meds they prescribe slow down the disease, but won't cure it.
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cetude Nov 19, 2018
actually medications to "slow" Alzheimer's only mask symptoms and can increase the likelihood of falling.
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Another regular poster on the forum mentioned that there came a point where it was safer for her husband to stop trying to walk so they let him use a wheelchair, do you think that is an option that would work for your mother?
(BTW falls happen in nursing homes too)
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cetude Nov 19, 2018
Falls happen quite frequently in nursing homes. In most cases they won't tell family unless they get hurt, but simply get them up and put them back into bed. Nursing homes are far from safe, and they can get infections very easily due to institutionalization.
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She may need to be placed somewhere for her own safety. You didn't mention how much damage her body has taken when she falls. Depending on the damage to her body, she may need round the clock supervision/care. If so then placing her somewhere is what may be best for her. Good luck.
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Dianne38 Nov 22, 2018
Thanks so much. She usually refuses to go to hospital after falling. I made her a couple times for my peace of mind. she has not had any major injuries, but I always fear broken bones or hip. It's getting to point where I feel she does need 24/7, but I will keep her home as long as I'm able to (safely) meet her needs. I realize that may have to happen but I hope not. Missed her terrible when she was in rehab (for mobility) the whole month of this past July.😇💞
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You can request a PT eval to see if it is balance or weakness. She might do better with a walker
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Good idea to check for Parkinson’s if she’s exhibiting symptoms. Also have her hearing, blood pressure and vision checked. And you could look for side effects of her medicines to see if dissiness is listed. Is she already using a walker? Make sure there are no obstructions in her pathways, or throw rugs or doodads etc, basically try to make her space as wide open as possible so if she falls she doesn’t hit anything.
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Dianne38 Nov 22, 2018
Thanks, I have made revisions but think I will go back and see what may trip her up. and remove stuff like rugs or anything in her path 💜
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Is your mom of sound mind? Do you have POA? My mom was falling several times a week, sometimes more than once per day. This is no joke!!! Being of “sound enough” mind there was nothing we could do. She was in too good of shape for the nursing home and we couldn’t force her into assisted living, or force her to hire an in home caregiver. We argued, begged, & pled with her to do something. The falls ultimately damaged her back to the point of needing surgery. The surgery left her with nerve damage affecting her right leg to the point of having no use of it. She is now completely wheelchair bound with 24\7 care at home until her money is gone, then it’s off to the nursing home. I wish you the best of luck in finding a solution.
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Hi, Kelly. Many things could be causing Mom to fall. Having her tested for Parkinson’s is a good idea. She may also have something as simple as an inner ear infection or a vision problem. If she is not presently using a walker, you may want to have her start. Being in a nursing home is not a guarantee she won’t fall unless she has a sitter with her 24/7. My mom fell quite frequently in her facility. Sometimes, it was her fault—going out without her walker, walking too fast, etc. I’m sure you’ve already made sure not to change furniture around in your home or in Mom’s room and you’re not using throw rugs which are a trip hazard.
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