Perhaps your 80-year-old mother is a new resident at one of Florida’s assisted living facilities. She has balance problems and fell at home twice in the past year.
You are concerned that she may fall again. What can you do to help her?
Learning about falls
The risk of falling increases as people age. In fact, falls are the major cause of injuries and fatalities among older adults. Age brings changes in bone and muscle strength. Your mother is experiencing balance issues because advancing age has caused her reflexes to weaken over time.
Transitioning to new surroundings
Since your mother was living alone, bringing her into an assisted living environment where she will have round-the-clock care was a good idea. Your mother agreed to the plan but she is also feeling stressed and somewhat sad about leaving her home. Although the ALF is clean, organized and well-staffed, you worry that Mom could fall again. All it would take is a slippery floor, lack of railings or other types of support, dim lighting or clutter in the corridors.
Understanding what your mother can do
As a new resident, your mother should be sure to voice any concerns she has. She should speak with staff or her doctor if she feels in any way unsafe. She should always wear shoes with slip-resistant soles and use her cane or walker when walking around the premises.
Helping staff monitor the situation
Be sure that you provide facility staff with all the background information about your mother’s experiences with falls and any physical or mental issues that may have developed. Sometimes only close family members notice subtle changes that point to loss of physical strength or mental acuity. Also, encourage your mother to remain physically active so that she can maintain her mobility.
Managing assisted living facility issues
You can only do so much to help your mom avoid another fall now that she resides in an assisted living facility. However, if she should fall again, and you believe negligence was a factor, do not hesitate to look into your legal options.