By Gina Murray, Co-Founder and Director of Aware Senior Care
Editor's note: Client names have been changed to protect their privacy.
We received a frantic call at 4 PM on a Wednesday from a woman named Patricia. She told us that her 92 year old Dad, Robert, was found on the floor of his apartment this morning. They had spent the day at the hospital in the Emergency Department and numerous tests were performed. Fortunately, there were no fractures and no signs of an acute medical problem including stroke or heart attack. Patricia told us the hospital staff told her she could ‘take him home’ as he was living independently prior to this fall. Unfortunately, the hospital staff did not address the fact that her Dad could not stand up or walk without help now. They said he was suffering from ‘extreme exhaustion’ and would need help ‘for a while’. The family requested caregivers around the clock until they could decide what level of assistance their Dad would need. Patricia asked if I knew good assisted living facilities. I told her I would bring information to the assessment and help them in any way I could.
I met Patricia, her Dad and her brother in her Dad’s apartment at 6PM. I listened to them tell how well their Dad had been functioning until 2 months ago. He was completely independent with all of his ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) and walked to the community’s dining room for his meals. He attended programs in the community and enjoyed visiting with his numerous friends. I asked if anything had happened in the last two months and if anything changed. Patricia looked at her Dad’s calendar and she said his first fall happened three days after he went to the Urologist. She said Robert was given a new medication to help reduce his numerous trips to the bathroom at night. This medicine is also known to cause dizziness and weakness, especially in the elderly. I asked Robert if the medicine had helped with his urinary problems and he said it really hadn’t made a difference. Robert had three falls in two months while on the medicine. He had not fallen prior to starting it. I asked when he took this medicine and Robert said “Each morning." I recommended they call the Urologist before Robert took tomorrow’s dose and discuss all that had happened recently.
The Urologist told him not to take the medication. We provided care for Robert around the clock for less than one week. By then he had regained his strength and was able to live independently once again. One of our greatest joys is having clients ‘graduate’ from service and continue to thrive in their home.
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