DEAR ABBY: This letter is about an experience that I and several people I know have endured. We are old, and sometimes we fall. I have "mini-strokes" and never know when they will happen. So far, I have been fortunate in that there have been no serious injuries. However, once down, I can't get up without help. I am very independent and prefer to live alone in my own house.

When I come to, I can wiggle and crawl - which is how I got help the last time. My phone is on a low table by my favorite chair. I reached it and dialed 911. They came right out and helped me.One of my neighbors fell and broke her leg. She did the same thing (her phone is also low). They came and took her to the hospital.

Another woman fell and broke her hip. Even if she could have gotten to the phone, she couldn't have used it because it was mounted high on a wall. She lay on the floor for 16 hours before anyone came!

My point is this: Anyone who lives alone should have a phone that is low enough to be reached from the floor. We are all in our late 70s, but I'm the only one who had a stroke. The other two just "fell." People can fall at any age!

Most of the people I mention this to say they aren't going to fall. I hope that you can get through to them. God bless you for your concern for others. - PEGGY

DEAR PEGGY: To deny that something can go wrong is a common human frailty. (If I don't think about it, it won't happen.) But you make an excellent point, Peggy. People of all ages fall, but older people are more vulnerable. Thanks for a possibly lifesaving letter.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are preparing to buy our first house. (We now live in a mobile home.) My mother is mad because she thinks the neighborhood we chose is too far from her.

I will be living near my sister-in-law, but SHE'S mad because my father-in-law (her father) is lending us the money to buy the house. (He can well afford it.)

My stepchildren are upset because now we won't have quite as much money to spend on them.

And, last night, my husband's ex-wife told him if we could afford to buy a house, she's taking us back to court to raise the amount of child support we pay her each month. (We have never missed a payment.)

Abby, I am very hurt. I thought buying a house would be a happy experience, and others would be happy for us. Is it selfish of me to want a nice home? - KEEP ME ANONYMOUS

DEAR KEEP: Certainly not! Turn a deaf ear to the whining of your mother, your sister-in-law and your stepchildren. Jealousy frequently brings out the greed and pettiness in some people.

However, the ex-wife is not whining; she's threatening. Your husband should discuss this with his attorney. He needs to be prepared should she make good her threat.

To get Abby's booklet, "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)