Monday, May 18, 2015

Thoughts of Failing a Falling Class

Back in mid-March, I called a number published in our county's Senior News.  A woman answered.

"Hello?"

"Hi", I responded. " I am calling about the Stepping On Falls Prevention Class."

We chatted a couple of minutes.  She wanted to know where I had heard about the class. She talked briefly about the program - seven weeks, one class a week, a falling assessment on the first and last classes, guest speakers. They would teach exercises to help prevent falls, and would have several guest speakers talking about medication and balance, eyesight issues, and more.  The cost was reasonable - $35 for seven sessions, and I would get a workbook, too.

Then came the question.

"How old are you?"

The class was advertised for seniors 60 and over.

"62", I responded.

There was a pause at the other end - a pause that made me a little uncomfortable.

"Have you fallen yet?", she finally asked.

(For more on my interest in this class, check out this post).

Fast forward a week.

Just before St. Patrick's Day, an in law's mother in law fell in the bathtub and hit her head. It was not her first fall.  This 82 year old woman, who was living independently with her husband of many years, was rushed to the ER later that day with symptoms of a head injury.  Things did not go well from there.

The CDC has some sobering statistics about falling in older adults.  And now, this in law's mother in law is just that - a statistic.

Governments and agencies serving senior populations are recognizing the problem, and trying to take steps.  You don't have to be a senior to care about the issue.  The children and grandchildren of the woman who fell are not seniors.  This has impacted an entire family, a large, close knit family.

So, about the question "have you fallen?"

I told the woman yes, that I have fallen.  I've fallen in my house twice in the past year, in addition to a fall while exercising on the Vestal Rail Trail (this one due to a trick ankle from an old injury) and another walk with a fall in 2011.  The trick ankle didn't cause the home fall, though.  It was a balance problem.  I fell due to a throw rug that slid when I stepped on it.  And still another time, a shoe gripped the floor in the wrong way and I started to fall, but managed to recover.

I have problems with my balance. My spouse took me to work several times this winter because it was icy and I was frightened of falling. If I wear ice treads that are sold to slip onto boots, I feel like I'm totally unbalanced. I don't know if my near falls were caused by medication (I am on several) but I have to do something now.  I don't want to wait until I'm 82 and it's too late.

What I am concerned about the most, though, is that I am going to show up, and be in a class of 80 year olds.  Then, everyone will look at me and think "why is she here?"  Dare I call this reverse ageism, that I am not old enough to have any of the problems of a senior citizen?

In other words, is it possible in our elder society to be too young?

The first class is this Wednesday, and then I will know.

Have you taken any of these fall prevention classes?  Am I right or wrong to feel self conscious about my attendance?

13 comments:

  1. Good for you for being proactive! My grandmother -in-law, who is 92, and a staunchly independent New Yorker took a terrible fall a few months back. She now lives in Florida under the careful watch of her daughter. Falls are terrifying and she's lucky to have recovered. Many people are not as fortunate.

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    1. My mother in law has fallen several times, as has my husband's 103 year old aunt. I've seen several people lose their independence (and one, their life) from falls. These falls hurt, and I haven't even broken anything - yet.

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  2. Hi Alana,

    Interesting post and good information to know! Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. Reverse ageism. yes, I agree there is such a thing. You head to the class anyway. Falls are not fun and you need all of the proactive information you can gather.

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    1. I am going. Someone I know had shown interest (she's 68) wonder if she will show up. Even if she doesn't, I will want to get all the information I can.

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  4. I have not heard of classes for this kind of Health Issue except as part of Rehab. It's a great thing. Good for you, and even if you are in a class of older seniors, your presence there will be encouraging for others. Falling is a MAIN FOCUS in all Senior Care Centers and Rehab facilities. I learned this when my mother dealt with this after falling and breaking three ribs. It will be interesting to see how your class turns out. I know you will let us know.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. Our county has a large population of seniors and some good programs. Prevention of falls is now becoming something doctors in our area now look at if the patient is over 80, from what I understand. Yes, I intend to let my readers know what I learn.

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  5. I fell in 2007 at the age of 60 and shattered my left leg. After two surgeries, a lot of PT, and a spinal surgery, I have found that practicing yoga has improved my balance tremendously. That being said, I would think this class would be very useful.

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    1. The class includes a falling assessment at the first and last sessions. I have been intimidated by the thought of taking yoga, but I'm finding there are many different styles. I will see what the class says about yoga, and other movement methods.

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  6. No, don't feel self-conscious. I bet you'll fit right in. Especially if you feel like this is the sort of class you need. I bet you won't be the youngest one there, either.

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  7. I think it's great to be proactive about something like this if you feel it's a concern for you, but I do understand a bit of how you feel about the age thing. My husband and I experienced something similar when we attended the information sessions prior to his first hip replacement, and were by FAR the youngest people in the room! I think what's important is getting the information and reassurance you need, and it sounds like you're ready to do that.

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  8. I am 50 and I have fallen three times in the past year,its not easy to get back up like when we were 21....

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  9. Classes to prevent falling! That's new!
    I'm in my thirties and I have a great history of falling on stairs. I don't think age has got anything to do with it.

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