Falling is one of the biggest fears of elderly individuals, especially if they’re fallen before and were alone and unable to get help. An incident like that can create fear in an elderly loved one and stop them from enjoying many of their favorite activities.
If your loved one has stumbled or had a serious fall in the past, it’s important to help them find the help they need to continue to be active and retain their independence. Talking through what happened, looking at the causes, and then finding solutions is the best way forward. But you might also need to help your loved one overcome some false beliefs he may have about falls and how to prevent them. Let’s look at five somewhat common beliefs about falls that are incorrect.
Falls are a natural part of getting older.
While it is correct that many elderly people fall, it doesn’t have to be a natural part of getting older, even if your loved one has already fallen once. There are steps your loved one can take to reduce his risk of falling, which include building strength and balance by staying active. You can also help him make sure his home is safe with floors that don’t have tripping hazards and stairs that all have railings.
Falls won’t happen if I restrict my activity.
Because activity boosts strength and coordination, staying more active helps to prevent falls. If your loved one stays at home and on the couch most of the day, his body will slowly lose the ability to quickly adjust and recover when his feet find unstable ground, increasing the risk of a serious fall. If he’s nervous about being active, having a home care provider join him for a walk or a game of pickleball may help him feel more comfortable.
Asking for help will restrict my independence.
Your loved one may be afraid to tell you he’s nervous about falling when he goes out, so instead he just keeps declining all social invites. Having the courage to ask for help, will increase his ability to be more independent. A cane may help him to be able to tour the museum again, or having a home care provider hold his arm as he walks around the neighborhood could help him reconnect with neighbors.
He’s too old to regain the strength he needs to be steady on his feet.
It’s never too late to start an exercise program that will help him regain some of the muscle mass that he may have lost over the years. With the guidance of his physician and the help of a home care provider, he might find he can rebuild his muscle mass and be feeling strong and confident again.
Falling only occurs when your body cannot keep up.
Falls can occur for many reasons – an unsafe environment, bad eyesight, or medication side effects. Your loved one shouldn’t only consider poor balance and coordination as the causes of falls. Looking at all of the possible reasons why a fall may occur can help your loved one avoid a fall in the future.