Who can blame seniors for having a fear of falling? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year, 2.8 million seniors sustain injuries in a fall, resulting in 800,000 hospitalizations and over 27,000 fatalities. The CDC also reports that the probability of a senior sustaining a serious fall, at home or elsewhere, is 1 in 3 during an average year.
When the average person turns 55, physiological changes occur that alter their coordination and balance. These changes can cause falling, especially when a senior takes medication or has a health problem that further compromises their balance. Many seniors won’t tell their adult children that their fear of falling is interfering with their daily routine and activities.
How Can You Help?
Begin with an open and honest conversation with your loved one about your concern for them falling. Tell them you’d like to help lessen their fears because you love them and care about them. Once you’ve broached the subject, you’re ready to take action to make them feel more comfortable and put your mind at ease.
Have Their Balance Tested
Ask their doctor or a physical therapist to conduct a balanced assessment on your loved one. If they pass, you’ll both enjoy more peace of mind. If they fail the assessment, it’s probably time to buy them an assistive device, like a walker or cane. Whether they pass or fail, checking their balance every year is wise.
Encourage Them to Exercise
Talk with your loved one about taking a senior-focused exercise class, like chair aerobics, yoga, or tai chi. These are low-impact ways to improve coordination and balance. They also help reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and get a better night’s sleep.
Fall-Proof Their Home
Take a walk throughout their home and eliminate any trip hazards. Look for obstacles like protruding electrical cords, ottomans, throw rugs, step stools, etc. Bathrooms are known danger zones, so add grab bars and a shower transfer bench. Anti-skid strips or pads are also available.
Avoid Ice and Snow
Seniors with poor balance shouldn’t be shoveling snow on icy surfaces. Numerous hips and arms are broken every year by seniors taking outdoor falls during the wintertime. Volunteer to shovel snow for them, or hire someone reliable.
Get Them a Fall Alert Device
Studies have found that the faster first responders arrive after a senior falls, the less likely they will require rehab in a nursing home or hospitalization. There is technology readily available that seniors can use to quickly summon emergency personnel. Seniors may balk at the outward appearance of the devices, but they become more accepting when shown the devices look like jewelry pendants or watches.
AmeriCare Plus Can Help Seniors Stay Safe and Manage Their Fear of Falling
If you have an aging loved one in Virginia that has a fear of falling, it’s probably also a concern for you. When you’re trying to serve as a long-distance caregiver or are simply too busy managing your own household, call AmeriCare Plus. Our thoroughly screened and highly trained aides are experts at helping seniors overcome their fear of falling. They also assist with ensuring your loved one’s safety and wellbeing by using proven fall prevention methods.
While in your loved one’s home, our family trusted home care services also include light housekeeping, personal hygiene, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, and companionship, all delivered in an affordable and flexible package to put your mind at ease! For a FREE in-home consultation or to learn more about the senior home care services we offer throughout Virginia, please call us or complete this online form.