Kevin Turkington with Senior Care of Alaska spoke at the MS Disability Fair and was a very entertaining speaker!
Unfortunately I didn’t think of recording him until he was half way through his ‘Maxine’ pink bathrobe skit! While Kevin demonstrated the hazards of some clothing he shared with us the need to remove rugs or at least tape them down.
Carpets can be re-stretched to avoid the bunches that cause the stumble and trip.
Kevin said falls are the greatest cause of hospitalization for seniors and I know that more than half of people with MS have been injured by a fall . He discussed ways to avoid the fall.
He started with the ‘brown bag test’, suggesting we put all our prescription and Over the Counter (OTC) medications into a lunch bag and bringing them to our Pharmacists to review.
Back-in-the day, Kevin explained, when people saw the doctor he prescribed all the pharmaceuticals needed, knowing the reactions of the different medications. Now-a-days, when we see our primary physician, we’re referred to one or more specialists who may prescribe medications to treat our symptoms.
Many people with MS have at least 4 doctors and are on at least 4 medications prescribed by different doctors. When we look at each of them they read, ‘Caution: may cause dizziness’ or ‘May cause blurred vision’. Many of our falls are due to the medications we take. Kevin illustrated a way to avoid many falls, simply by developing the habit of pausing before we start walking as he shows in his ‘sit, stand, walk’ illustration.
Kevin shared with us many gadgets to help us avoid falling:
A transfer bench is a great precaution while climbing into the shower and you can get a nice Drive Medical Plastic Transfer Bench right here.
If we do fall and are hurt, Kevin taught us that minimizing the time before help arrives and making sure we stay warm and hydrated can make the difference on the quality of life following a fall injury. Sometimes it can be a matter of life or death! He then showed us a simple fall survival kit made up of a tote bag containing a fleece blanket and bottle of water. (He threw in a few extra items like some crackers for hunger and a flashlight since our long and dark winters.) Kevin suggested making up several kits and stowing them down low in the areas we spend the most time in. That way if we fall and are hurt, we can possibly drag ourselves to one of the kits. He also showed us how to safely get up from a fall if we are not hurt.
Have you experienced any falls? I’ve fallen too many times in public when the only thing injured was my ego! When there’s no injury, it’s a time to laugh! If I’d put into practice Kevin’s tips, I could have avoided many of my falls.