Help my parents age safely at home after a series of falls

Post date: 2021-11-24 23:51:33
Views: 10
What modifications (physical or procedural) have worked to help your aging family members stay safe in their house after a series of falls? What strategies have worked best when talking with your loved ones about their deteriorating physical conditions?

My mother and stepfather live independently at their home in the country about 45 minutes from the nearest major hospital, 2 hours away from my sister and I, and with only one direct neighbor that they can walk to. My mother has poor mobility. She has been having falls and is unable to get up without assistance.

I'm concerned that they are not taking these falls seriously and not being forthcoming about when they happen. The last fall, she hit her head hard enough to dent the wall and required my stepfather to get the neighbors to get her up off the floor. They then put off going to the ER for 72 hours after that fall. I'm not sure we would have heard about the fall if we hadn't called to confirm some upcoming plans, as they haven't been forthcoming about falls in the past and have downplayed how serious they were.

Mom has been prescribed a walker, but finds it ungainly and doesn't use it consistently. My stepfather does his best to support her when she is walking. He acknowledges that it's not a good solution. Should they both fall, he knows they would both need assistance getting up.

Neither Mom nor stepfather will have serious discussions about forward-thinking solutions to addressing the falls. It's particularly painful because in our family, we have a therapist who has worked in geriatrics and falls, but they won't take this person's advice seriously (despite having loudly and publicly championed their doctoral education). When we do try to have these discussions, any suggestion is met with my stepfather's explanation of how it would never work or how inconvenient it would make their life.

Ideally, we want my mom and stepfather to age in their home as long as they can safely do so. Their neighbor suggested grab bars all over the house and they thought that was a smashing idea (ignoring the fact that our in-family falls expert had brought that up years ago).

Their current plan is to install grab bars everywhere and get LifeAlert bracelets, which is good, but it's not addressing anything long term.

We've looked for a therapist to do a safety evaluation of their home with no success in their remote area. We have considered trying to hire a live-in/daily therapist/assistant, which might be beyond their means, may not be helpful with the acuteness of falls, and would definitely be way outside my parents comfort limit.
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