By: Mimi Thurlow
“Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” These are phrases that you may recognize from a popular commercial on the television. I know the stereotypical phrase should be reserved for elderly, however, I personally have had to use it whether I wanted to admit it or not.
At 57-years-old the last thing you want to do is admit that you have a fear of falling. Especially when you are a mother to three daughters, a licensed practical nurse (LPN), and a volunteer for the community. There are times when I get so wrapped up in my different roles that I do not want to admit when I needed help for myself.
Admitting you need help makes you feel weak and helpless, whether it’s true or not. However, there will come that time in everyone’s life when you have a wake-up call to what needs to be done. I have found myself at the hospital multiple times as a result of falling and admitting it was from a simple fall was very difficult.
There is always that fear that if you do admit you hurt yourself because of a fall that you might have your independence taken away. I know I went in thinking that my doctor would want to take away my driver’s license or tell me I would need to go into an assisted living facility. It was a little humiliating. Plus, when you are only 57-years-old the last thing you think is that you need help as if you are 100-years-old and are walking with a cane.
Little did I know that my falls were a result of certain medications and personal health problems far beyond my control. How was I supposed to know that I needed to change the amount of medication I needed to take, or the fact that there was something wrong with my blood pressure? My doctor didn’t know either, because I didn’t want to share with him what was going on with my health.
Being an LPN I should have known better, but it was the stigma and fear that kept getting in the way for me to admit I needed help. The truth is that a majority of falls can be prevented. It’s this fear that stops most from ever saying anything to a loved one or to a doctor.
Once I finally had the courage to admit what was wrong and that I had fallen so many times due to health problems my care team was very helpful.
As a result, I was finally recommended to take the evidence-based program, Matter of Balance. This program was facilitated by two trainers at the Pequot Lakes Public Library. It covered using easily applicable strategies every day to help prevent falls so that I could build confidence in myself. I appreciated the program and how it gave me confidence in living on my own, again. It also reassured me that I wasn’t alone in this. So many people out there are struggling with the same fear of falling: my father, my mother, friends, and family.
The key to preventing a serious accident and staying safely in your home is to speak up and say something. Do not let fear silence you any longer.
A Matter of Balance: Reducing your Risk of Falls Class
A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels. The free class is a series of eight weekly sessions that include how to:
- view falls as controllable
- set goals for increasing activity
- make changes to reduce fall risks at home
- exercise to increase strength and balance
The next Matter of Balance classes begin:
- Wednesdays starting September 28 from 1-3pm at The Center in Brainerd
- Mondays starting October 3 from 9:30–11:30am at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd
- Wednesdays starting October 12 from 9-11am at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Baxter
Crow Wing Energized, A Matter of Balance, Carefree Living, and Good Samaritan Society are pleased to offer this education. Class size is limited. To register online visit CrowWingEnergized.org or please call 218-820-5588 or 218-839-8237.