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Falling over -“ having a fall”

(45 Posts)
MawB Tue 23-Jun-20 11:47:47

From the time I went “flying” while running for the train in my new pink wedge mules at North Sheen station in 1972, I have never given the odd trip a second thought.
Until recently.
My blood pressure is fine, I have no “underlying health issues” but I have had a couple of falls and near misses recently which have really shaken me up. Nothing worse than bruises, so no signs of osteoporosis, so that’s a plus, but just that awful fear as I have felt myself go. Poor balance, stiffness or is it just clumsiness which seem to prevent me from the recovery I would have managed in my youth?
The only common factor in the past has been stress -tripping over nothing walking the dog at night when paw was ill, waiting for “the call” when DD was due to have her second baby and now all this Covid stuff on my mind more recently.
My confidence has taken a bashing , I feel vulnerable and always hold on to banisters when going downstairs, I only feel safe in flat lace up trainers and I tremble at the thought that this is the future.
No chance of an appointment with a Falls Clinic or even a Dr until the pandemic eases, but it’s a sobering prospect isn’t it?

25Avalon Tue 23-Jun-20 11:54:32

I find I am less confident about balance these days. My body tells me not to do things like jumping off my low walls which I used to do, and if I do trip I feel I’m not going to stop myself from a full blown fall. I think it’s an age thing.

merlotgran Tue 23-Jun-20 12:11:52

I was reading about the importance of Vit D the other day and we're advised to walk with our heads held high so we can get the sun on our faces. This must have been written by somebody who doesn't have to watch where they're putting their feet!

I've had to make new rules for myself having fallen over in the garden earlier this year. No harm done and I didn't trip, I just sort of wobbled and couldn't regain my balance. I now make sure I don't swivel to look at something. I stop and turn round. I also stand still to look at the view across the fields when I'm walking Peggy.

If it's any consolation, Maw, I now live in a bungalow so always have to use the bannister when negotiating stairs because I'm out of practice.

Better to be safe than sorry.

Nortsat Tue 23-Jun-20 12:14:09

I am sorry to hear your (physical and mental?) confidence has taken a hit. I know what that’s like.
Does it help that you have successfully identified and analysed the issue. Your self awareness is high and clear.

Is there a way you can remind yourself of all the occasions when you haven’t fallen and have managed challenges well?
You’ve developed strategies for coping (holding the bannister, flat, safe shoes), which seem, in the main, to be standing you in good stead.

Would some gentle exercise increase your sense of physical confidence? Swimming, yoga?
If a friend shared such feelings, what would you say to her? I wonder if you are judging this a bit harshly and need to recheck your perspective on things?

I feel we’d be inhuman not to be shaken by the current circumstances. I hope matters begin to feel more manageable, soon. (And how about buying some really funky trainers, I have some black glitter ones!!) Good wishes 💐

Ealdemodor Tue 23-Jun-20 12:20:56

I tripped over in the street last year, and hurt myself quite badly. My confidence has been somewhat rattled ever since. However, I insist on saying that I fell, and not that I “had a fall”. You may ask, what’s the difference? About 20 years I reckon!

dahlia Tue 23-Jun-20 12:27:22

I had a bad fall in the garden on Friday, falling flat on my face in the baby beetroots! Luckily nothing broken, just my self-esteem, but after one or two other falls I have lost a lot of confidence and, worst still, my DH worries about me. With very bashed knees, it has taken me a couple of days to recover but I am determined not to give in and let him take over!

Septimia Tue 23-Jun-20 13:08:42

FutureLearn has a course called Ageing Well: Why Older People Fall. You might find it worthwhile to take a look at it.

It's not just about the why (and falls apparently aren't a standard part of getting older) but about how to minimise the possibility of them. I did it a while back as part of my strategy to deal with my FiL's reduced mobility. It was interesting as well as helpful.

I've always been an expert at turning my ankle over and going flying. It worries me more now because the idea of broken bones is not an attractive one. So I tend to be extra-careful about stairs and uneven ground. The first thing I did at my son's wedding, wearing higher heels than usual, was to step on the edge of a paving stone and end up on my knees!

DiscoGran Tue 23-Jun-20 13:57:03

I am doing this future learn course at the moment, and it is very good. Lots of useful information.

SueDonim Tue 23-Jun-20 14:35:04

I fell on my own driveway a few years ago and sustained a double fracture in my leg. Tbf, I was hurrying and I slid on a metal manhole cover and went down, but my goodness, that knocked the stuffing out of me. So I completely understand your apprehension, MawB. flowers

I don’t hold the stair rail at home but I do when out and about on unfamiliar territory. At my dh’s last employer it was mandatory to use the hand rails on the stairs and could result in a disciplinary if you wilfully disobeyed.

The curious thing about my leg fracture is how much cautious it had made my dh and many of my friends. A number of them have said they take more care now since I had my accident.

I think we just have to adopt a use-it-or-lose-it attitude and keep doing stuff but with caution in mind.

tinaf1 Tue 23-Jun-20 14:47:06

I have recently just got over from falling face first in an alleyway ( very rough broken concrete) that leads to our local shop. Went down face first although I did try to save myself.
I put my teeth through my lip so think I will have a permanent scar , two black eyes ,and a dark purple bruise under my chin with the force of the fall.
It really has shaken my confidence as the paving stones are very uneven where I live. When speaking to a friend of mine about falling she said that she thinks as we get older we tend not to pick our feet up properly from the ground
I haven’t heard of the fall clinic or Futurelearn.

Esspee Tue 23-Jun-20 14:55:50

Apparently standing on one foot and building up the time you can do it for helps your balance and minimises falls.

grannyqueenie Tue 23-Jun-20 15:13:56

Another where who shares your apprehension maw, my balance never great even in my youth is worse than ever since a hip replacement a few years ago. I’ve taken some spectacular trips, no illegal substances were involved, or even legal ones for that matter! Always when I’ve been rushing and thinking of several things at once, do I go try to take my time when I remember that is! The lasting legacy has been conspicuous scars on both my forehead and arm after an altercation with a bedroom radiator and a hand that aches due to slipping over on a muddy field and breaking bones in my hand. But having said all, that I’ve never “had a fall”. Isn’t that what old ladies do and I’m pretty sure, that like me, you’re not one of those yet maw?

SueDonim Tue 23-Jun-20 15:15:58

Yes, I head that Esspee. I try and do that while I’m cleaning my teeth!

grannysyb Tue 23-Jun-20 15:16:39

I recently tripped and sustained two black eyes, a broken wrist and a possible broken nose! I find pavements aren't great these days, but I also need to remember to pick up my feet!

Liz46 Tue 23-Jun-20 16:01:34

Another good exercise is to find a strong bench or chair, cross your arms over your chest and stand up and sit down as many times as you can.

JenniferEccles Tue 23-Jun-20 16:58:27

On this topic it always amuses me that up to a certain age we ‘fall over’

Then at some point as we age that morphs into ‘had a fall’ !

I am not sure exactly what age the change occurs but change it most certainly does!!

cornergran Tue 23-Jun-20 17:03:54

The standing on one foot while brushing teeth was a suggestion at a physio gym course suedonim and esspee. Easy to remember to do it, my balance has certainly improved. Worth a try maw?

Rosalyn69 Tue 23-Jun-20 17:05:23

Fallen twice resulting in broken bits of arm while walking my dogs. And then I broke my ankle while on holiday in Madeira. They have very sexy doctors there!
The hospital at home do ask me “Do you fall often”? It does seem likely. It’s an age thing I think. Or at least an age thing that when I fall something breaks. I don’t bounce any more.

MerylStreep Tue 23-Jun-20 17:09:20

I take 2 older women to balancing classes.
I balance for 2 minutes ( alternate legs) while I'm cleaning my teeth. You will bobble a bit to start but just pick a spot to concentrate on and you will regain your balance.
At the classes there are a lot of exercises to strengthen the ankles.

Funnygran Tue 23-Jun-20 17:13:54

At 71 I definitely feel my balance isn't what it was. I've tripped a couple of times although not fallen right over. DH and I have recently bought electric bikes with a view to getting fit and it's taken me a while to get used to mine again. I had the feeling I was going to overbalance yet I've never fallen off a bike in my life. But if the Queen can ride a horse at 94 then I can surely master a bike!

BlueBelle Tue 23-Jun-20 17:14:29

My friend fell and fracture or broke nearly all the bones in her face Eye socket both jaws cheekbones and many more I can’t remember She’s incredibly resilient and was able to joke her way through it all and healed so well without an operation Fast forward 9 months and she fell in the garden and has broken her sternum in two places she’s still joking with the doctors and healing well Again but I want to put her in cotton wool
I ve had a few falls but luckily not broken anything I think we do fall more as we get older my last one was luckily on the beach I saw a piece of old groyne protruding and my brain said make sure you miss that and I went straight into it It was one of those really slow motion falls where you are getting lower and lower over a good distance it must have looked so funny going going gone ..but only my pride hurt thankfully

geekesse Tue 23-Jun-20 17:57:52

I have had a shocking sense of balance since my late teens when I developed tinnitus. If something causes me to lose balance suddenly, for example stepping on a loose paving slab, I tend to fall rather than regaining my balance as most people do. I’ve sprained my ankle a couple of times that way, and once broke my wrist when I fell. Exercises etc don’t really help because it’s not a muscle thing, it’s neurological. As I get older, I’m conscious that my bones are more likely to be fragile, so I wear flat shoes if I have to do any walking, and I watch where I’m stepping carefully. It’s not a big deal.

welbeck Tue 23-Jun-20 18:28:16

Bluebelle, has your friend been tested for bone strength/ density. maybe there are some supplements she could take.
to the OP i think we have to expect and accept that we will be more prone to falling as we age and take longer to recover.
it's just a fact of life. it's not some kind of laziness or lack of effort.
i guess that's a sore point for me at the moment. there is a person i know whose son takes no account of her actual state of infirmity, complex multiple morbidities, disability, mostly bed bound. he never met with doctors etc to find out. he tells her that she should walk about, make more effort, so as to spend less on care. he will never take advice from HCP re anything, thinks not necessary, he knows best. pushes her to uses gadgets totally unsuitable/ hazardous for her. she idolises him, and continues to suffer from his behaviour.

butterfly1 Tue 23-Jun-20 18:33:11

I slipped on some wet leaves in a park while walking my dog. Landed heavily on my left knee and ruptured the tendon in my kneecap. Had to have an operation, leg brace for 9 weeks and physio, still need a stick to walk. Surgeon said it will never get back as it was due to my age (68). This was 8 months ago, and i'm paranoid about falling now.

Bellanonna Tue 23-Jun-20 19:07:45

I grab one leg by the knee and hold it up for 30 seconds, then alternate. I do this about 4 times a day. At nearing 80 I haven’t fallen yet thank goodness. It’s well worth the effort and I have definitely improved.