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Elderlyish relative falling over for no reason. What could it be?

(22 Posts)
Reepicheep Sun 16-Aug-15 16:25:23

For a few years my female relative who is now 70 falls and often injures her face. She knows she has not tripped or slipped but kind of thinks here I go again. She is otherwise fit and active. She won't speak to GP because she would refuse to ' go into the hospital system' should amy investigation be required. She is a diabetic and has medication for high blood pressure. I was wondering if anyone has heard of anything similar? Thanks. sad

FabULouse Sun 16-Aug-15 17:02:01

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Aug-15 17:05:24

My dad was doing something similar when he needed a pacemaker. He would stand in the doorway and not know how he was going to reach a chair. He didn't fall but felt he didn't have the energy to move. The pacemaker has been fantastic. He stayed in hospital overnight while they assessed him, but after it was fitted he skipped out of there grin

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Aug-15 17:07:01

Perhaps she needs reminding that one day she might fall over onto the cooker hob or into traffic. She's very silly knowing she needs help and not getting it.

Fayrazzled Sun 16-Aug-15 17:08:10

It could be so many things, not the least the diabetes (blood sugar levels) or blood pressure. She really needs to see the GP, who should refer her to the local falls clinic for investigation. Falls are common in older people but there could be so many causes which need to be properly investigated (and at least initially, will be on an outpatient basis so won't require hospital admission).

gingerbreadmam Sun 16-Aug-15 17:08:43

could be mini strokes my grandrad had these.

Reepicheep Sun 16-Aug-15 17:40:35

Thanks for the replies. They give me something to talk to her about. She is of the opinion that there is no point asking since she will refuse all investigation or treatment. I have signed some sort of living will which I don't really understand but means - I think - that in the event of her being unable to say for herself she wishes not to be treated. I worry and will try again. Thank you.

Atenco Sun 16-Aug-15 17:45:49

It sounds like she is imagining this worst, whereas it is most likely something that is quite simple to remedy.

yomellamoHelly Sun 16-Aug-15 17:51:04

My mum was falling over because of mini strokes we now reckon. Apart from cuts and bruises, sore ribs and sprains to ankles and wrists she also broke her arm and later her leg. Not treated, so got worse and worse. (Her dad had died of a stroke so she ought to have known better.) Led to a situation where she lost her independence. Very sad.

MrsRossPoldark Sun 16-Aug-15 17:57:29

It could be so many things. I'm reading 'Still Alice' about a woman with Alzheimer's who falls as she can't judge distances/space any more.

Without a doctors diagnosis you are just finding lots to worry over (& why wouldn't you, as you obviously care about her). Can you persuade her to see the GP to out your own kind at rest? Sounds a bit silly and she'll probably say 'no' but no harm in trying?

Reepicheep Sun 16-Aug-15 18:12:17

She says it's just her age but she isn't daft so maybe she suspects it could be something more. We are planning to go up next week so I will try again. smile

Footle Sun 16-Aug-15 18:15:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PoshPenny Sun 16-Aug-15 18:22:18

So if she falls and breaks a leg/wrist/hip/whatever is she intending to refuse medical intervention for that as well? It sounds a bit silly and stubborn to me... The chances are it's something easily sorted, or at the very least helped by using some kind of walking aid. My mum kept falling and it turned out after tests it was low blood pressure after eating (quite common) and also she needed a pacemaker. Now in her 80s and staying upright!

funambulist Sun 16-Aug-15 18:26:42

Could also be Parkinson's. Does she have any other symptoms?

Bunbaker Sun 16-Aug-15 18:34:12

This could be something that might be so easily remedied and therefore prevent it happening again. By refusing to get a diagnosis she might well make things worse for herself. Falling over all the time at 70 is not normal.

Reepicheep Sun 16-Aug-15 18:54:00

She doesn't need a walking aid she is fitter than me!grin
I know it makes no sense.
I also struggle to understand a senario where her living will makes a difference. It's not like I wave it around her bed demanding they turn the machines off. Wouldn't they do that anyway if it was in her best interests? It cost a lot of money to draw up.
I need to try and find out what her fear lies exactly and then appeal to her better nature and common sense.
You are right though. She is very stubborn.wink

Biscuitsneeded Sun 16-Aug-15 18:56:29

My great aunt did this for a while. It turned out to be a rare neurological condition. I hope it's not that, but still think it would be better to know what you're up against.

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Aug-15 21:03:33

My dad was really fit (at 80) when he had his pacemaker. He couldn't understand what was wrong. Now, 11 years later, he's not too good but that's not a problem with the pacemaker.

OverTheHandlebars Sun 16-Aug-15 21:08:54

It could be something as simple as her blood pressure medication being too strong so she's actually got low blood pressure. That wouldn't need any sort of hospital investigation.

MatildaTheCat Sun 16-Aug-15 21:28:07

Remind her that falls increase her chance of fractures which will mean hospitals whether she likes it or not. 70 is really not old these days and she should concentrate on keeping herself as fit as she is. Unexplained falls/ turns do need investigating. If you need to add leverage you could mention that you worry about her getting hurt and need to know she is safe.

I think that lots of people get worried about the cascade effect of getting involved with healthcare as one gets older. The truth is that most of the people within these systems have complex health difficulties. She really is better off seeing her GP and getting to the bottom of this. She does sound scared, could you offer to go with her to appointments to offer moral support?

Reepicheep Sun 16-Aug-15 22:39:20

grin She would be outraged if I offered to go with her! But thank you. She is the least neediest person I know!
She is extremely independent and self sufficient and in otherwise good health. She has spent many years taking care of other people who have no one else in their old age until their deaths not because they are family but because she is a good person. I guess in doing that she has seen some things and doesn't wish for herself.
However her approach will not necessarily prevent her suffering which I will attempt to point out...I am not expecting her to have the conversation with me if she doesn't want to though!

Bunbaker Sun 16-Aug-15 22:58:36

You need to point out to her that going to the doctor will help her keep her independence.

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