When you think of who’s in your caregiving village, would you ever consider an ex-spouse as a source of support?
Maybe not, but in some situations and families, an ex is involved in caregiving—and the extent of that support looks different for everyone. For some, it means hands-on care. For some, it means financial assistance.
For orthopedic surgeon Dr. Walker Wynkoop, it was setting up a helpful service to foster prolonged independence at home.
“We’re really good friends still, and we really want to take care of one another,” Dr. Wynkoop explained. “So I just went online and googled ‘home service’ and ‘computer call,’ and iamfine popped up.” An affordable service that has been a lifesaver for some clients—and for many others, a great way to let concerned friends and family know that all is well—Wynkoop is happy he found it.
It’s been a way for him to pay it forward, to take action and help others the way he wished he had for a close friend, who suffered a debilitating fall last year. “If I would have found this service sooner, he’d be home right now—and he’s not, he’s still in recovery three months later,” said Dr. Wynkoop. “So I guess that’s why I get passionate about it. When you see someone who lives alone and is prone to falling like my friend was—well, I feel like I need to make it up to him somehow,” he said.
Dr. Wynkoop now encourages patients to use a check-in service like iamfine because fast action after a fall can immensely improve recovery time for injuries associated with a fall, such as a broken hip.
“When somebody falls down with a broken hip, they cannot move. They cannot (with rare exception) crawl over to where their phone is,” he said.
Two things happen when a broken hip is not addressed right away, Wynkoop explains. “One, if you lay like my friend did for three days, that’s three days longer before anything gets fixed. And our guidelines within which we like to fix things are no more than 48 hours after you get to the hospital, or ideally, no more than 48 hours after you break it,” he says. “If we can somehow fix a hip within eight hours, it’s almost as if there was never a fracture. The patient is sitting up, going to the bathroom, and even walking later that night with little pain!”
“If we can somehow fix a hip within eight hours, it’s almost as if there was never a fracture.”Dr. Walker Wynkoop
But that laying around, waiting for your neighbors, family, or friends to find you? “That takes time away from the recovery process,” says Wynkoop. But if you’re getting called twice a day by iamfine, that’s going to speed up the time you get “discovered,” he says.
There’s another critical reason for fast action after a fall. “After you’ve been lying on the floor for 48 hours, your kidneys might need to be tuned up, or you might face other problems that will prevent you from being able to have surgery right away,” Wynkoop explains. “The longer you wait for surgery, the greater the mortality and complication rate is. If you have a service like iamfine, it’s much easier to secure that 24- or 48-hour timeframe.”
“Take care of your loved ones; take care of you!”Dr. Walker Wynkoop
Sometimes, people are hesitant to sign up for a check-in service because it feels like a loss of independence, or they think falling is just an inevitable part of aging. “I’ve had people say to me ‘well, if it’s time for me to fall down and break my hip, I’m okay with that,’” says Wynkoop. “Which I understand, and they have the right to feel that way—but how will the person who finds you feel for the rest of their life? They will have that scene of you lying helplessly on the floor in tremendous pain burned into their memory for the rest of their life,” he says.
“People have to stop being selfish and thinking only of themselves; they have to take care of themselves, but they also have to take responsibility and care for their loved ones, and this is a great way to do that.”
Dr. Wynkoop’s key takeaways:
- Take care of yourself and take care of your loved ones. Don’t be selfish!
- You cannot move with a broken hip. People often say no to check-in services or fall alerts because they figure they’ll be able to maneuver themselves over to a phone—this is almost never the case!
- The sooner you can get your injury taken care of, the better. If someone has fallen and injured himself, this quick and easy-to-use check-in service ensures the person gets the care he needs—and within the critical 48-hour-window—so their healing process can begin.