“Mom visited with Grandma and Grandpa. It’s true that Grandma Carolyn has slowly become less steady on her feet. Of course, we’ve all now noticed it. Your mom has been dealing with it for some time. Your grandparents will join us in a few minutes, and we want to be careful to respect that they may not immediately warm to the idea of us arranging a plan for their future care. Let’s all remember that God gave us one mouth but two ears for a reason!”
Just then, Jodi interrupts. “Oh, Grandpa is in the waiting room. I’ll admit him.”
Warm greetings are shared and James announces that Grandma will not be joining. Already very concerned about Grandma, everyone carefully maintains their warm expressions.
Jodi breaks the silence. “Dad, you and I discussed that Grandma is not as steady on her feet as she once was. I did some research and, frankly, I’m alarmed to learn that statistically, when an elderly person falls, their hospital stays are almost two times longer than those of elderly patients who are admitted for any other reason. The risk of falling increases with age and is greater for women than men. Annually, falls are reported by one-third of all people over the age of sixty-five. Two-thirds of those who fall will do so again within six months. Sadly, falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people age sixty-five and older with more than half of all fatal falls involving people age seventy-five or over.21 Our natural instinct is to avoid the topic of aging, but that simply is not smart.”
James, looking concerned, takes a moment to internalize the information, “I had no idea. For Grandma, the most profound effect of falling would be the loss of her ability to function independently.” Chuckling, he adds, ”or her version of independently.”
Wanting to appear supportive of Grandpa’s attempt at humor, the family members nod or smile, but it is easy to read their faces, which clearly indicate that they fear that their grandma is at risk of adding to those scary statistics.
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