5 Steps That Help Seniors Regain Confidence After A Fall

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Falls in the elderly are a cause of anxiety and worry. A WHO study indicates that adults older than 65 suffer the most significant number of falls. In the US, 20-30% of the older adults who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries. 

After the fall, the physical injuries receive the most attention, and unknowingly, one can neglect the emotional impact. 

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, after 60, your confidence level starts to decline. And especially after a fall, it takes a major hit. Some could even develop a ‘post-fall syndrome’ of extreme fear and anxiety. Additionally, it can add to the mobility issues that they are already facing. However, there are various ways and assistive devices like step stools to help seniors regain confidence after a fall.

Regain confidence after falls in seniors

Here are 5 Steps to Help the Seniors Regain Confidence After a Fall:

  1. UNDERSTAND, ACCEPT, AND TALK ABOUT THE FEARS: 

Basophobia is the fear of not walking or standing, along with the fear of falling. Although the muscles concerned do not have any injuries.  Even science recognizes this fear that often grips the elderly after a fall. However,  one can easily dismiss this fear as laziness or stubbornness. It is important to identify the symptoms and intervene before it becomes debilitating.  

  • Stop the blame game: Many times, after a fall, seniors may feel guilty, which can affect their self-worth. Regaining confidence becomes an uphill task and can manifest itself as depression and anxiety, eventually leading to immobility. 
  • Work with them: Working on building confidence, accepting their fears, and maintaining open channels for discussions are a few ways to help seniors regain confidence. Coax the seniors to talk about the incident and identify the reason for the fall. It is imperative to exude the feeling that you are taking their fears seriously, and you are working on finding solutions.  
  • Involve them, don’t exclude: Involve your loved ones in discussions related to the changes you want to make around so that you can avoid such incidents in the future. 
  • Suggest, don’t dictate: Give proactive suggestions for better mobility management and suggest simple exercises that can help improve balance and mobility. Encouraging yourself to undertake regular physical activity can help regain confidence.
  • The fall is not the end of the world: Make falls sound like an experience to learn from and not an irreversible mistake. Ensure that you are taking care of them by making simple changes like moving the furniture, keeping their medications and other articles of use within their reach. 
  • Don’t hesitate to get professional help: Seek professional advice if managing a senior seems difficult for you. Counselling often takes care of things in a very simple and practical manner.  
  1. SET SMALL, DOABLE TARGETS

Regaining confidence for seniors becomes easier when they realize that you are by their side. It may not prove to be an overnight process, but a step-by-step systematic plan can go a long way. 

Work together and decide on achievable targets. For example, you can set a goal to walk only a few steps at first within your home itself. And then you can increase the number of steps as they achieve their goals. The next step can be a stroll in the garden, then a walk to the store at the corner, so on and so forth. A few days of such plans are bound to help them regain confidence.

  1. MAKE THE TARGETS TIME-BOUND

You can’t expect too much too soon. It’s a slow process and may take weeks before one can achieve the original level of confidence. 

Help your loved ones set targets that are time-bound. Considering the extent of their injury and physical condition, help the seniors decide on small measurable targets that will lead to an end goal. For example, by the end of the 1st week, they will walk to the living room with or without support. Or, by the end of the 8th week, they should walk to the nearby store with support.

Select familiar routes that are not lonely, appropriate times, and outdoor conditions to avoid further accidents.  

  1. OFFER ASSISTIVE DEVICES

Falls are better manageable with the use of available aids and devices during movement. The use of appropriate assistive devices promotes overall wellbeing and enables the elderly to be more independent.

  • Bed Step Stools:
  • Bed step stools are vital devices that ensure the safety of the elderly while getting in and out of bed. The stool is specially designed, keeping in mind the mobility and other issues that seniors face. You can introduce bed step stools for the seniors to help them get in and out of bed without fear. Additionally, the bed step stools are available in heavy-duty steel, with rubber grabbers, and stoppers ensuring that the stool will neither topple nor slip while climbing up. 

  • Step Stools for Tubs:
  • Statistics prove that major accidents occur in the bathroom. A sturdy device like step stools for tubs eases the task of getting in and out of the tub. Made from industry-grade steel, they have an extra-wide landing base and non-slip step. With adjustable height, these stools feature a dual clamp system reducing the risk of slips. 

  • Accessories:
  • Apart from these assistive devices, there are also several accessories that can ease movement and promote independence in seniors.

    - Tall Grab Bars: 

    Tall grab bars are ideal for seniors who are tall. Often short grab bars make tall people uncomfortable and increase the risk of falls. Made of durable steel, the bars come with soft foam pads and are easily interchangeable with a short grab bar. 

    - LED Motion Sensor Light:

    The LED motion-sensor lights can detect human movement within 10 feet. Your loved ones do not have to stumble in the darkness anymore. They can easily be attached to the bed step stools, closets, stairs, and hallways.

    - Glow in the Dark Tips for Bed Step Stools:

    These rubber tips for step2bed are specially designed to enhance the use of bed step stools. Made of durable rubber filled with photo-luminescent glow material, these leg tips offer long-lasting illumination and protection.

    - Non-slip Grip Tape:

    Non-slip grip tape offers a strong grip and easily sticks to any surface. They are easy to clean and waterproof. 

    You can add this range of assistive devices to ease their journey and positively affect their overall wellbeing.

    1. EVALUATE

    It’s time now to evaluate the set tasks at the end of the pre-decided time window. You can evaluate the progress by asking simple questions such as:

    • Were the tasks completed?
    • Did they find it manageable, or was it very difficult?
    • Will they require some more assistance in the future?
    • If they have not achieved the target, then what was the reason for it? 

    Mind you, don’t be a difficult taskmaster. Whatever the results, encouragement and recognition of the effort will help in regaining the confidence.

    Falls can’t be prevented completely, but how you treat them makes all the difference. Often if you don’t attend to fears and anxieties on time, they can become incapacitating. Interference at the right time can go a long way in helping your loved ones regain confidence and avoid future falls. A time-to-time reassurance always works in favor of mental wellbeing. 

    Offering emotional support, encouragement, and physical aid will positively help them regain confidence after a fall.

    Vince Baiera

    Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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