Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Falling Wednesday - Thoughts of Failing A Falling Class

Back in the middle of March, 2015, 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).

Then, fate intervened.

Just before St. Patrick's Day, 2015, 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.[Update - she died in December of 2015, after a harrowing last few months of life for her and her family.]

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 had fallen twice between 2014 and 2015, 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 came, and then I knew how wrong I was.  More of what I learned in future posts.

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

Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

10 comments:

  1. Alana,

    First off, I'm sorry about the family member who died from problems stemming from a fall. That's really sad. I'm glad you got enrolled in the class. Balance problems are related to other things than age as you pointed out. Unfortunately many seniors especially those battling various health problems have to deal with it a lot. Both of my grandparents fell frequently. It's scary. My 94 year old father-in-law kept taking tumbles and still is unsteady on his feet but he now has a live-in caregiver. He doesn't seem to have as many now as he did a year or so ago. There are just too many scenarios associated with aging that can play out. Getting old stinks! But...it's better than the alternative, right? Oh well...all we can do is be proactive early in battling problems before they start or get out of hand. Good for you for taking the first step! Saying prayers you'll never need to use the things you learn but if you needed you'll be prepared. :)

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  2. I didnt know there are any classes like these. I dont think we have any here. But it is good for senior citizens. Good you enrolled. All the best to you.

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  3. At this stage in my life, I am lucky that the only "fall prevention" class I need is "in love".

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  4. There's something about being the *right* age, whatever that means. I think we're way too conscious of whether we fit in, when the rest of the world barely notices. It's amazing what other people don't see that we think is as glaring as a spotlight on us.

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  5. I'm fairly stable but my hubby has severe neqrve damage and falls frequently. He's so stubborn he won't use a cane.

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  6. I learned about balance problems when one of friend was asked to get her daughter checked because she kept falling in school. To be frank I didn't even know there is a class for fall prevention. Very sorry to heart about in law's mother. My parents are getting old and they mostly live alone. I always tell them never to lock their bathroom door. Bathroom floor can be so dangerously slippy sometimes. Glad that the class turned out well. Stay safe... Take care.

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  7. I had a fall recently and I swear I couldn't get myself back up. We now have a rule that I use my cane in the house as well as outside of it. It's not a guarantee I won't fall again at some point, but it moves the odds in my favor. I really need to take one of those fall-prevention classes, I think, and I won't be at all self-conscious that I'm twenty years younger than anyone else there. It seems like something everyone should take at some point. I almost think the people who wait until they're in their eighties are waiting too long.

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  8. Sounds like a good class. I am pretty stable but I do tip over now and then. Fortunately, all I injure is my dignity. Maybe all of that zumba has helped?

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  9. Fall prevention classes may have helped my parents. I'm glad that you have the option of taking one of these classes.

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  10. I had no idea there was such a thing as fall prevention classes, but I want to look in to it for my dad. He's 63, so my have some of the same issues that you did, but I think it would really help him. He has a lot of mobility issues caused by, among other things, a degenerative disc disease. His problems started in his late 50s, so definitely not the "right" age for the class. I'm looking forward to your future posts. I'll show them to my sister, so we can work together to get my dad in a class.

    I'm fairly used to being around people much older than me, so I don't know that I'd feel self conscious about it. Hubby and I just tend to gravitate toward older people, so most of our friends are quite a bit older than us. It just seems normal. As far as the class, you're within the specified age, so you have just as much right to be there as someone 20 years older than you.

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