Senior Citizen Injured in Fall Shares Story

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Charlie Jones said he used to be six feet tall and as strong as a mule.

"In my younger days, I could just pick you up and walk with you. And I have done that," he said.

These days, the 78-year-old former Coweta County Commissioner is slowing down, battling back from bladder cancer and multiple surgeries. 

On July 13th, 2015, leaving a family birthday party, he took a hard fall off a sidewalk.  He rolled about 20 feet and then couldn't get up.

"I told my son, I said, 'Call 911, I can't put any weight on it,'" Jones said.

Jones had broken the ball of his femur, where it meets his hip. He needed surgery and was facing a long recovery.  That is how he ended up seeing physical therapist assistant Kelly Adkins at HealthSouth Rehabilitation hospital in Newnan.

When he arrived as an inpatient, Jones said his right arm hung weak at his side. Adkins and her co-workers focused on rebuilding Jones' strength and flexibility.

"Mr. Jones is a very hard worker. He's a very gentle spirit," Adkins said.

Soon, Jones said he was going through physical therapy every day.  And he started to be able to lift his weakened arm.  He was stunned by how much progress he made after just a few weeks.

"It just, it blew my mind, what they can do, if you listen," Jones said.

Adkins said hip fractures are common, and risky for seniors.  Each year about 250,000 American seniors fall and break a hip. Some never recover.  Some suffer repeat fractures.

"If they have a broken hip, and let's say they fall again, because they're not as stable. That can impact their recovery process," Adkins added.

HealthSouth helped the Jones family fall-proof their home, something she said we all need to do. Start by looking around for trip hazards.

"You definitely have to watch out for loose objects, such as rugs. Keep the night light on so that you can actually see where you're going at night," Adkins said.

Many falls happen in the bathroom, so the Jones family installed grab bars and other safety features.

"Make sure your stairs are secure, that you have a strong hand rail," Adkins said.

Adkins said there are also things you need to do if you are a senior headed out of your home.

"Let your family know what you're going to be doing, and have that phone or a call system handy just in case you do fall, so that you can get immediate help," Adkins added.

Charlie Jones gets around pretty well with a walker, but putting on his socks and shoes is tricky. He said HealthSouth helped him with tools to make getting his socks and shoes on easier. With a little help, and a lot of faith, Charlie Jones said he is going to be okay.

"If you have a negative attitude, you're not gonna make it," Jones said.