Is it normal for a 71 year old to fall down several times in the same day? -

Is it normal for a 71 year old to fall down several times in the same day?


My Dad, 71 years old, has type 2 diabetes, low thyroid, high BP, all being successfully managed according to Docs. He has begun to fall down a lot. Several years ago my Sis noticed him doing in foot tapping kind of thing, (just one leg moving all the time while seated), and pretty often when he'd be in our region for a visit every couple of months. I sort of notice too, but thought is was just a subconscious kind of thing, out of boredom, or being all revved up as he often was. But Sis thought he couldn't control it, I thought something was wrong. Hmmm? Other than that though, he was still very clear headed, writing political speeches, running a non profit, doing lots of traveling, outwardly healthy, so I blew it off since he really did seem OK otherwise.

Exactly 3 years ago, he and his new wife sold their home in KY and moved to FL, not uncommon for my Dad as he always made moves for employment advancements in his life. 2 years ago he had a minor car accident. A neurologist at the hospital said he had a minor bleed in his brain, subarachnoid hemorrhage, what ever that is, that would need watched. It did self resolve. They do precautionary scans every now and then, all have been clear since. Docs aren't sure if the accident caused the bleed, or if the bleed caused the accident. Dad said he doesn't know either, but that he feels like the accident was his fault due to the statistical info of car positions etc. He remembered gassing up his car before getting back on the road right before the accident, but didn't remember how he got to the hospital after the accident, so I don't know if that's a factor in all of this or not.

One year ago, Dad lost major ground on what I think is known as "short term memory", AND he started to fall down. Usually after physical fatigue, like mowing his stupid 2 acre yard with a PUSH mower. Took me 5 years of harping to finally get him to buy a rider, the goofball. But he's tough. I harped on him to go back to Neuro with new symptoms, the falling, Neuro said "possibly" Post Polio Syndrome, since he did have that as a kid. Fast forward to last fall, he can't remember a thing, had to give up his writing, falling several times a day, sometimes can't get back up. One day he went out on an errand, got off on the wrong exit, had to pull off into a parking lot and phone home to get redirected. Granted, a newer area, but, ????, the guy was born to travel, and this was his new neck of the woods. (?) He rarely calls me now, never ever went a week before, all my life. When I call him his voice is weak, soft, he forgets what he's saying, but tells me how many times he's fallen down lately.

What the heck? Does this sound at all familiar to anyone? No answer will be considered dumb, :-), fire away if you have any ideas. I am getting worried.

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Thanks GardenArtist, I checked into the Life Alert and one called Life Line and sent the info to my Dad. I also called his only other remaining immediate family member, my Uncle, his little Brother. Dad had just phoned him too, and asked for help also. Just seems, odd. Uncle is going to speak with new wife about what is going on, and what her "plan" to address the changes is, get back to me. So that's a relief. Hope that it's all OK, but we just don't know this lady very well at all, some things she's done seem kinda, "gold digger" like, but hopefully it's just my being overly protective and under informed. I didn't like it when he did get sent to PT last fall, the new wife told him she couldn't drive him to his appointments, to busy with her volunteer work. I helped him figure out a ride in a van from the hospital, incase he wasn't feeling like he should drive the days he had appointments. Then too early spring when he needed a re check with a urologist 6 hours away, she sent him off in the car alone for that. Geez, I just don't know what to think at this point. Thanks for the great ideas, will find out if there is another Neuro in their small area too.
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I've kind of skipped through the family dynamics for the time being, focusing more on the issue of falling.

If the neurologist he saw didn't do any further workup than suggesting the cause might be post-polio, find another neurologist. Document the number of falls and activities at the time, to the best of your ability so the neurologist can develop some sense of how and when this is happening, and if there are any triggering factors (such as mowing the lawn).

A cardiologist should also do a workup as well; there might be some issues with blood flow to the brain causing syncope episodes, or blackouts.

It wouldn't hurt as well to see an orthopedic surgeon to check his legs.

PT is great, and it's wonderful that your father enjoys it. Assuming he's on Medicare, it MAY pay for additional therapy if a doctor certifies that more than the allotted Medicare allowance is necessary. Alternately, some hospitals have therapy affiliates which offer cheaper rates for a few months follow-up after PT.

In Michigan, 2 hospitals that I know of offered patients 2 months of follow-up PT, done on their own, at $25/month (this was a few years ago). By contrast, a private facility I went to for a rotator cuff injury wanted $95, plus an indemnification which I refused to sign.

In the meantime, I'd get a Life Alert pendant for your father to wear; it will notify the monitoring service if he falls. He can provide priority numbers in the event that happens - the service can first call you or his wife, or EMS. It sounds as if EMS would be the best to call in this situation.
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All that his Neuro had to say was possible post polio, had him get some co Q10, and a cane. I talked him into going to his GP after that last fall, to see if he could get into some Physical Therapy. GP did send him to PT, Dad liked going, liked doing the homework part of it too, (he always did like working out). Then at Christmas time he had an emergency out of his state, unable to empty bladder. They had to put a cath in and leave it. Several weeks later they did surgery to make the prostate gland smaller, that was successful and he finally got the cath out. Of course he couldn't go to his PT appointments during all that, and hasn't been back since.

What gets me, is that he called me Sunday, told me he fell 3 times that day. Once was outdoors in his yard, he couldn't get himself back up. 2 men driving down the street, that he did not know, got out of their truck to help him get up. He said "I called you to ask if you will try and figure out why I am falling". I'm not sure what specifically that means, he has good Docs, they know the one leg is weak, they know he falls, so I assumed they must think that's to be expected with the post polio. Dad doesn't ask for help, he's never asked me to do anything for him before, so I am kind of lost. I'm a 2 day drive away and tied to some fair responsibilities here. His new wife is 69, retired, healthy, intelligent, and right there. (Well, I say "new wife", but I guess they have been married for 10 years already.) They are comfortable, he bought her a brand new big house, and 2 super nice new cars, cash, when they moved there 3 years ago and she quit work. He's got a fair income, she's got some retirement, I suppose they get social security too. So time and $ aren't an issue for them. She's been to his Dr. appointments with him, she's a retired microbiologist, so, ...why would he ask me to figure it out, given that she and Docs are right there and addressing it? I don't understand the mental decline running so hand in hand with the weak leg issue, I don't know if mental decline usually comes on that fast? From top of his game to can't hardly hold a conversation in just 2 years?

Babalou, I wouldn't think there would be a medical POA at this point, or if there were I'd assume it to be his wife. Same with finances. I do kind of wonder if something a bit shady is going on though. Right after my pretty well off GMA's estate was settled last fall she and Dad visited me. I didn't go up north to that, too painful, I loved my GMA a lot, I lost her, my Sis, my favorite Uncle, my sweet old Chocolate Lab all in less than 2 years. I couldn't deal with it, so sat it out. SHE told me, (not my Dad while he sat right there), that they had put everything from my GMA's estate into a trust, that would go to her when Dad passes, then it will be equally divided by me, (Dad's only heir), and her 4 kids, whom I have never even met, her son being executor. Ummm, her grown kids didn't even know my GMA, ...but what ever. They are married, but she kind of seems to be acting like she has rights to the things a 1st wife and my Mom would have rights to, I'm not sure she's entitled to all that being a recently arrival, but I let it go to keep the peace and respect the marriage. Right after they got that all settled, Dad declined, and she started doing "volunteer work". He was wanting to come up and visit me for a few days before the snow started, she didn't want him to come alone, (probably a good idea, really), but said she could not miss any of her volunteer work days, M-W-F. So basically he just can't come up to see me and his Brother a few hours north of me. They were going to come in the spring, no word, no plans. He's quit calling me, when I call him, she is NEVER home. Day or Night. She's out "volunteering". I hope that is really where she's at. (?)

I called Dad last night, told him to go back to his GP, get orders to go back to PT, and put my name on HIPPA form at GP while there so I can talk to him. Dad seemed pretty please with that idea and agreed. (?) I'm shook and confused.
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Of course it's not normal. Post polio syndrome does have some interesting effects. You need to learn more about what's going on. Why in the world would you think that falling down several times a day could ever be normal?
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Check his medicine, prescription and over-the-counter, for side effects.

My sig other tends to get wobbly and passes out if he mixes Ambien sleep aid with a pain pill or an antihistamine.
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Not normal. What does his doctor say? Is his wife concerned?

I think in your shoes, I'd ask dad to make an appointment with his neurologist that you can be present for physically or via phone. Has dad assigned POA for finances and/or health? I'd try to get an appointment with an eldercare attorney while you're down there as well.
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