I have a fairly unique situation- I'm a 39-year-old single guy and my 94-year-old grandmother lives with me. I insisted that she move in with me about three years ago because she was falling so much that her cardiologist took her off of blood thinners. Amazingly, she has fallen dozens of times in the last few years and not broken anything...yet! But she has done some permanent damage that may cause her pain for the rest of her life.
She fell about 10 weeks ago and landed on her tailbone. She seemed okay at first, but a few days later began having horrible pain in her lower back and hip. I was terrified that she had broken her hip. Before we could see her doctor, she developed a UTI and was hospitalized for four days. While in hospital, I had them x-ray her hip and lower back and it showed no damage to any bones (thankfully).
After she recovered from the UTI, she had horrible hip and lower back pain intermittently and it eventually started shooting down her right leg. An MRI showed that the L4/L5 disc was pressing against the nerve causing her pain. I took her for an epidural and she got immediate relief for a few days. Then the pain returned but not as severe and it wasn't constant. Even after this ordeal, she still managed to fall twice (on her tailbone)! I have repeatedly explained to her that another fall could do further damage and pain that an injection won't fix. Even worse, she could break a hip and that would be the beginning of the end.
But when she wakes up during the night to use the bathroom, she often forgets the walker and ends up on the floor! I've begged her to call me (button mounted on her nightstand will page me (but she doesn't). She uses a bedside toilet at night (I lock her bathroom door at night so she doesn't have a choice) but she has still fallen using that. When she is sick or recovering from a hospital stay, I usually end up staying up all night waiting for her to wake up to use the potty so I can help. I've stayed up for 48 hours at a time before and it isn't a viable long-term solution.
Moving her to any sort of care facility is out of the question. I work from home most of the time and when I go to the office (or to see a client), I have a friend stay with her or hire someone for the day. So I need to figure out what to do within my home to keep her from falling and to prevent her from getting out of the bed alone at night.
I'm thinking that a bed alarm (that sounds in my bedroom) is a possibility. But I also need something to keep her in the bed until I can get in there. I don't know if adding rails to the sides of her bed is the way to go or maybe just getting a hospital bed with rails? It may be necessary for her to start wearing adult diapers at night just in case.
The problem that I have no clue how to solve is not using her walker during the daytime when she's up and around. She will walk somewhere in the house using the walker, then suddenly reappear without it and I will find it in the middle of the room she just left. Short of following her every move around the house (which would be miserable for both of us), what can I do???
I have done everything possible to remove fall risks around the house. There are no throw rugs anywhere, I have rearranged her bedroom to allow plenty of room for the walker everywhere, I even bought a smaller dining room table to give her an extra two feet of clearance to pass by it safely. I also installed safety bars in her shower, at her toilet, along the bathroom wall going to the toilet and I've even considered some type of railing in the kitchen but that would only encourage her NOT to use the walker....any ideas here would be greatly appreciated! Short of wrapping her in bubble wrap, I'm out of ideas.....