Hairdresser credited with helping elderly victim who had fallen in home

When an elderly customer missed her 3 p.m. appointment last Thursday, hairdresser Lisa Buswell knew something was wrong.

Fortunately, Buswell doesn’t like loose ends.

Buswell, the owner of Boston Hair Salon in Marblehead, asked one of the woman’s neighbors to check on her. The neighbor found the woman lying at the bottom of her stairs, and called for help, Buswell said.

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The woman had been there for 29 hours, dehydrated, with a broken hip, broken leg, and fractured ribs, Buswell said. Paramedics told Buswell the woman would not have made it through the night.

“I’m just glad I did what I did,” said Buswell. She has given the older woman a blow dry every Thursday for years, and the two had become close friends. “When you have a client like that, they become like family.”

Buswell visited her client earlier this week in the hospital, where she is recovering from surgery at a steady pace. But it will take a few months before she is well enough to return to her regular scheduled appointment at the salon. Once the woman is settled in a rehab center, Buswell hopes to visit and do her hair there.

Other customers have been commending Buswell. One person even came in off the street just to say thank you.

Buswell hopes this will inspire others to check in on the elderly.

“Make that phone call every day,” she said. Buswell also wishes more older people would consider getting medical alert devices to keep them safe.

Marblehead Police Chief Robert Picariello shares Buswell’s views on looking out for the elderly.

“Always, as much as you can, check on your neighbors,” he said. Oftentimes, the elderly have a fixed schedule, he said, and it is a good idea to call police if something seems off.

“We would certainly go and check on someone,” he said, “We’d rather show up and see that someone is fine.”

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