Is there a device to deal with falls?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My father has Parkinsons and is falling more often. He weighs significantly more than my mother. Once he falls he is like dead weight that she cannot pick up. He is very proud and has laid on the ground for quite some time before he allows her to call someone for help. Is there a device or something that would help her get him up?

Expert Answer

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Your question about a device to deal with falls due to Parkinson's, as well as your father's pride made me stop and think.  Also, I consulted with geriatric care managers who are members of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.   

There are lifts that might work, but it is hard to imagine a small aging woman safely lifting a large husband off of the floor.  You could go to www.AliMed.com  and choose the heading products for patient safey and then lifts and slings.   There are pictures of the lifts.  Also there are lifts that can be attached to the celing such as SureHands. Another web page is www.planetmobility.com.

Can you help your mother work with a team to prevent falls?  The falls may signal that he needs to go to another level of walker, wheelchair, or caregivng helper in the home. 

He needs assessment by a physical therapist.   A Geriatric Care Manager would be of help. His movements around the house need to be observed. Why does he fall one time and not another? Is there a pattern to the time of day when he falls?  Does some event make him nervous or out of balance or careless?  Could medication be an issue? 

Working with your father's pride is not easy. What is your father's finest character trait? What does he like?  What makes him feel his dignity? Does he need someone to listen to him, beside your mother?  Is there any way to get a caregiver in to help? Find small ways to bring comfort  to your father. 

While you are working with professionals to assess and help medically, you can uplift and enrich his world even though he has to bear a very difficult sickness.