Senior Life

Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and  Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners  Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys,  and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer  at

Dear Jennifer, 

My wife has lousy balance. She falls at least once a week. So far she hasn’t broken anything. The doctor hasn’t said there’s anything wrong with her to cause the falling. I’m concerned that she’ll break something, go into the hospital, and they won’t let her come home. She’s my best friend. She’s my whole life. My brother keeps telling me she may do better in a nursing home. What are they going to do – put her on one of those alarm pads so she can’t move around anymore? Is there something the nursing home can do differently? Is it something I can do at home and keep her with me? 

Most Sincerely, 


Dear Stuart, 

I don’t have enough information about your wife to know why she falls, so let me address that first. The most common reasons for falling are: 

1. Something to do with the person such as: stroke, Parkinson’s, muscular weakness, neuropathy, arthritis, blood pressure changes, inner ear problems, alcohol consumption, medications which cause grogginess, and infection. Once someone has fallen, s/he may become so fearful of falling that their anxiety and altered gait increases the risk of falling. 

2. Something to do with what the person was doing such as: rushing to the bathroom, standing up too fast, not using the walker, or not applying the brakes to a wheelchair before sitting or standing. Another common cause is reaching for something on the floor from a seated position and ending up on the floor. 

3. Something to do with surroundings such as: poor lighting, tripping over a pet, poor footwear, slippery floors and rugs. The riskiest room is the bathroom. 

Your first task is to determine why your wife falls. Keep reading. 




First, let me answer Stuart’s question; living in a nursing home does not stop falls. If you are standing next to someone who loses his/her balance a bit, you can help right them. If you are standing next to someone who is dropping to the floor, you cannot “catch” him/her and bring her back to her feet. If you try, you will be injured along with her. 

Here’s a list of interventions that may help:

1. Request a physical therapy evaluation and treatment. The primary doctor will place the order. The physical therapist can do a home safety evaluation and make recommendations. 

2. Outfit the house with grab bars – the physical therapist can guide you. 

3. Consider a walk-in shower. Tubs can have a cut-out for this purpose.  

4. Correct problem areas such as footwear, slippery rugs, and lighting. 

5. Have someone constantly attend to the elder who forgets to lock the wheelchair or use the walker. This could be family / friends or a hired helper.  You might consider an alarm pad for the home, to alert you that your loved one is getting up. 

6. If possible, move the bedroom to the ground floor to avoid going up and down stairs. 

7. Use bright colored tape across the edge of each step to make them easier to see. 

8. Stand tall and straight. Falls are more likely when the elder’s posture is off balance with the body’s center of gravity. 

9. Report any physical complaints to the primary doctor; pain, weakness, lightheadedness, dizziness, vision changes. 

10.Have the elder’s eyes tested and upgrade eyeglasses as needed. 

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By John Sproul


Who were the feuding gangs in the musical play and movie "West Side Story"?

A. Brooklyn and Harlem

B. Devils and Knights

C. Blades and Knives

D. Jets and Sharks

The correct answer is D.

"West Side Story" is often thought of as a modern-day adaptation of the classic story of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The Broadway play was nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 1957 (but that award went to "The Music Man"). The movie version won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, George Chakiris for Best Supporting Actor, and Rita Moreno for Best Supporting Actress. Many people remember Natalie Wood playing Maria (the Juliet character). There were many notable lyrics from the play and movie, including "When you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dying day."