A task as simple as changing the battery in her smoke alarm led to seven years of pain for Dorothy White.
But White is not alone. Figures released by ACC reveal 48 per cent of injuries in Porirua happen in the home.
‘‘I think [New Zealanders] are inclined to do it ourselves,’’ White said. ‘‘We know we shouldn’t climb up on things, but we think, ‘Oh no, we’ll be alright’.’’
In 2007, the Waitangirua resident fell off a stool while trying to change the battery in a bedroom smoke alarm.
‘‘I never imagined I’d done what I’d done. Seven years on I’m still suffering.’’
She broke several bones in her leg and despite an operation to fix it, now walks bow-legged.
‘‘They reckon it was a very bad injury. It’s affecting my back and my hip because I can’t walk properly. I’ve been in so much pain.’’
She qualifies for one hour of home help per week, and her husband has taken on a lot of the work in the house.
‘‘I used to be a very active person. That’s what frustrates me. I used to play outdoor bowls, but I can’t do that any more.
‘‘In my mind I don’t feel old at all. I wish that I could be pain-free more than anything.’’
The 69- year- old said she never thought she would seriously injure herself at home, and is much more careful since the accident.
‘‘I’m more aware of it now. I don’t attempt to climb on anything.’’
ACC Community injury prevention consultant Jo Vilipaama said that about 700,000 injuries nationally happened in or around the home each year.
Of those, about 290,000 resulted from falls like White’s.
But falls were not restricted to the very young or elderly, Vilipaama said. About 45 per cent of home falls happen to people aged from 20 to 64.
‘‘We suspect that one of the reasons we’re so prone to injuries, such as falls, in the home is because the home is where we naturally feel safe and secure, and we let down our guard a little,’’ she said.
‘‘Also, we don’t tend to have formal health and safety practices in place in our homes, as most of us do in our workplaces.’’
Vilipaama said some of the main causes for home falls were slipping on water on bathroom and kitchen floors, tripping over electrical cords and tripping over toys and clutter.
Dorothy White fell off a stool seven years ago and is still suffering.