When I entered her rehab room for the first time, I saw a nice sign by the entrance.
It was a beautiful color photograph of autumn leaves with a message printed on it. But its message wasn't about autumn.
It declared that the occupant of the room (my mother in law) was at risk for falling.
Just in case this message needed to be reinforced, my mother in law was wearing a hospital like bracelet with large lettering. The lettering said:
That is what my mother in law was, to the staff of this rehab - this woman who raised four children, one of them developmentally disabled, cooked, cleaned, did generous things for friends. The woman who has lived self-sufficiently as a widow for over 15 years.
Because it's true. She's fallen many times before. Falling was a part of growing old. It couldn't be helped. One day you would get sick and die. Or you would fall and die.
Now, my generation wants to prevent falling where we can.
We hope that falls prevention classes like the one I took helps us avoid that fate. Doctors do fall assessments on older patients. Those that are at risk have their needs addressed.
Now, using my knowledge, I hope I can help break the falling cycle with my mother in law. But first, we'll see what her rehab work has done after she is released today.
Wish us both luck.