Five years ago, Nick was an active man in his 70s. Nick and his wife, Mersina, enjoyed holidays around the world and travelling to visit their children and grandchildren in Asia.
Nick walked more than 10 kilometres each day from his Port Melbourne home to St Kilda beach and back. He also enjoyed home maintenance and DIY projects.
Nick had recently completed a project to extend their home. Nick’s new roof was put to the test when a torrential downpour occurred. Water started coming inside through the roof. Nick went outside to see if he could fix the leak.
Nick had placed 2 ladders on top of each other and without thinking he decided to climb onto the ladders. He fell from a small height – about a metre high – and he fell backwards, hit his head on the grass and he was unconscious.
Mersina and Nick’s son, John, were home at the time. John heard Nick fall and went outside to see what had happened.
‘When I went outside, Dad was lying on his back on the grass,’ John said. ‘At first I thought he was dead, because he wasn’t moving – he was unconscious.’
John rushed inside to get Mersina and call an ambulance. By the time they came back out, Nick had regained consciousness and got up. He seemed to be ok, but John and Mersina took him to the hospital to be safe. Nick suffered a seizure while he was in the emergency department.
Nick was in the hospital for nearly 6 months. As well as the initial injuries, he suffered a number of setbacks while in hospital, including , fibrosis of the lungs, a pulmonary embolism and muscle atrophy.
Now back at home, Mersina and John care for Nick and have taken over responsibility for the household. Their lives have changed significantly since Nick’s fall.
‘We used to do so many things,’ Mersina said. ‘We travelled all over the world; but now every day is the same.’
'Before the accident he was very active; he mowed the lawns, he did house maintenance. He was a very hands-on European migrant who did everything himself.
'He never thought anything would happen to him – certainly not in the way it turned out – so it could potentially happen to anyone.’
Ladder safety tips
- make sure your ladder is safe and right for the job
- work in the right conditions
- set up your ladder safely
- work safely up the ladder
- know when to get help.
Where to get help
- If you or someone you know has had a fall and is seriously injured and needs urgent medical help, call triple zero (000)
- Your – if you have had a fall, for information about safe use of medications and for referrals to a Falls and Mobility Clinic near you
- A – for suitable exercise programs to improve your strength, balance and coordination to reduce your risk of falls