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The story of a 80+ lady that has fallen several times

Location and time a day may be factors to target for intervention but mental factors may be the most challenging to overcome

Photo of Rebeca Khorzad
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I am passing on the story of a dear friend of my mom (disclaimer: the person in the picture is not my mom's friend) whom I will call Maria for story sake and to protect her privacy. She is an 80+ lady that lives at home in a small town in the South of Mexico.  

Her three daughters have split the tasks of helping her on everyday shores and provide company. They have tried to hire - all day help - but she refuses the help and would only accept her daughters help.  When Maria was young, she was a very strong person, kind, disciplined and well mannered, she always kept the house in order.  

In the last year she has fallen 4 times, despite preventive measures taken by her daughters. Every time she fell it was between 11:00pm and 3:00am and in her bedroom, when she gets up to go to the toilet (in her bedroom). The room has night lights and non slippery floors. As often with elderly people, she does not want to feel old (wear a diaper or use a walker). She takes multiple medications and her doctors have not mention anything about possible medication interactions or effects in terms of falls (multiple specialty doctors ).

I found my mom's friend story interesting as I had read about the 2013 Design for America Team ( that reframed falls prevention to focused on preventing falls at night in senior bedrooms.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Preventing falls is a wide undertaking, targeting interventions to different settings may make sense. In the case of my mom's friend, their daughters believe the biggest challenge is how do we convince her? (to change behavior towards accepting help)

Tell us about your work experience:

I work in process improvement in healthcare, I previously worked in quality engineering in the manufacturing sector. I have great interest in learning more about the design innovation process.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Rebeca!

Thank you so much for telling us about Mary and the challenges she and her daughter's face. Whose advice would Mary take on board? Is there a need to properly educate medical staff? Would she listen to their advice?

The ideas phase is open and I hope to see you there -