Dan­ger

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

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.

Photo: RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

Bad fall:

Dorothy White fell off a stool seven years ago and is still suf­fer­ing.

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