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An Elder’s Fall Can Cause Lasting Trauma

Posted Dec 31 2012 12:00am

Dear Carol: Reading your column has helped me care for my 83-year-old mom who has Alzheimer’s disease . Now, I’m writing with my own question. Mom fell while in the memory unit of a very good assisted living center. She had a urinary tract infection and the doctor thinks that’s what caused her fall. The UTI is now cleared up. When she fell, she cut her head badly, needing several staples to close the wound. She also suffered a back injury though no broken bones. The facility couldn’t care for her after she was released from the hospital, so she’s in a skilled nursing home. It’s been three weeks, yet she’s still confused and agitated, far worse than before the fall. Mostly she just sleeps, or sits and stares at nothing. Her physical injuries are healing but she seems to be getting worse overall. What is going on? – Mary Ann

Dear Mary Ann: Your mom’s been through significant physical, mental and emotional trauma that would be tough on someone much younger and not fighting dementia. I think you need to expect that her current condition is natural considering her age, her dementia diagnosis and all that she’s been through.

Read more about accepting Mom's new health status:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

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