Well, my favorite time of year is finally here…..Fall! The Autumnal equinox on Sept 21st makes it official but what really counts is when the weather changes here in Middle Georgia, right?
And change it did indeed last week with Hurricane Michael rolling through. Hope you didn’t have too much damage wherever you call home. Here at the farm we had lots of trees down but no fences broken through or animals missing, PTL!!!
In fact, with the generator purring outside (bought it last year just before a big storm) we were “snug as a bug in a rug” as the saying goes. It’s more important out in the country because no power means no water if you’re on a well as most of us are here.
My wife decided we should celebrate with pumpkin pancakes for breakfast topped with whipped cream and served with apple cider. Not too shabby a breakfast while we were waiting for the power to come back on and the first fire of fall in the woodstove to soften the chill!
Long time readers of this column may remember that I use this time of year to remind all seniors of the dangers of falls. Here are some harrowing facts from the government’s official CDC site:
One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury
Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways.
Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
In 2015, the total medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
To bring it closer to home, I remember two falls my mother had; one caused a broken arm while she was scraping her icy windshield in a NJ snow storm. The other broke one arm and the opposite shoulder while getting the mail from her mailbox in Perry. Can you imagine the trauma of being without both arms for many weeks of healing for an 80 year old?!
Well, this year my sons talked me into something new: an Apple watch of all things! The reason being is that the new 4th edition has a fall detection/911 calling app along with so many other features my head is spinning but I’m determined to learn how to use most of them.
My sons want me to wear it while I’m working on the farm “Just in case”. In the first week I tricked it into thinking I had a fall while I was doing a bunch of chainsaw work in the wake of Michael. Even though I had on protective hearing muffs and the chainsaw was running, it got my attention by vibrating on my wrist and gave me 15 seconds to respond before it called 911. I managed to get my gloves off in time to prevent the ambulance from coming so I guess this false alarm turned out OK.
In theory at least, it should be a much more affordable fall detection/alert system than those that charge a monthly fee. I’ll keep you posted on my progress over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, enjoy the Fall without any falls.
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!
Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit and more information @ https://www.macrumors.com/2018/09/23/apple-watch-fall-detection-off-by-default/
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