It was a normal day of chores. I lifted a new shelf that weighed about 15 or 20 pounds from my car and carried it up three flights of stairs to my condo. I set the shelf down at the top of the stairs to unlock the interior steel security door, only steps away from home. I thought that my climb was pretty good for a woman over 65 years.

Inexplicably, while attempting to unlock the steel door with only a key in my hand, I tripped, and slammed my forehead into the door, and gave my leg a massive bruise.

I sheepishly pulled myself up, gathered my shelf, and limped into my condo, trying to recall the advice of Ellen Corman, MRA, Manager, Injury Prevention and Community Engagement, Trauma Service, Stanford Health Care, who spoke at the Women & PD symposium presented by Parkinson’s Women Support, funded by a Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day grant.

Corman works with older adults to help reduce falls in Farewell to Falls, a program working closely with Stanford Hospital’s Aging Adult Services. Farewell to Falls offers several evidence-based, group programs at senior centers in the Bay Area. Corman reports that one in four older adults fall each year.

At Women & PD, Corman warned people with Parkinson’s disease that they should not use throw rugs in their homes because they are so easy to trip on. She warned them not to wear flip flops, and to always wear shoes with backs for support. She also suggested that they carry a smaller load.

There were no throw rugs or flip flops in my accident, but I hadn’t heeded Corman’s advice to carry a smaller load. I was in a hurry to get home, and I hadn’t taken time to recalibrate myself from balancing a heavy weight up the stairs to pulling open a heavy door.

“If you’re worried about fall, you’re going to fall,” said Elaine Sulzberger, instructor at A Matter of Balance, a fall prevention program also offered by Stanford that is free for seniors whose fear of falling limits their social and physical activity.

Sulzberger is one of several instructors who teach the series of eight sessions, two hours each. Participants learn the importance of exercise in preventing falls and promoting strength, flexibility and balance.

For more information on Stanford Healthcare outreach programs, check out this link: https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-clinics/trauma-service/community-outreach-programs/fall-prevention-older-adults.html.

My accident spurred me to buy an ID bracelet so that if my cell phone is not in reach if I knock myself out, at least my bracelet will identify me. https://www.roadid.com. Attention to balance and falling is important! Don’t let it slip!


2 thoughts on “A Parkinson’s Fall

  1. I’m glad you mentioned the bracelet. If you have a cell phone, there is a health app on there (for sure on apple, I think on android). Find the health app and fill out the information on there. Apple’s app has a small pink heart as the symbol. Besides filling out health info like Parkinsons and medications, height and weight and your photo to identify you – add an emergency contact, or 3-4 in case nobody answers their phone. The app also includes information like blood type and important allergies (like penicillin). If you fall or pass out, anyone (who knows about this) can access this app on your phone to call an emergency contact and find out this important data such as allergies, or what medication you need to take. They do not need the password for your phone and will not be able to access any information you do not want them to.

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