Each year millions of older adults suffer falls. Many of these result in serious physical injuries that can reduce their mobility and functioning, cause pain and discomfort, and even increase the likelihood of death in the near future. As a family caregiver, however, it is important that you recognize that it is not only the physical effects of the fall that you should consider if your elderly loved one suffers a fall. They may also experience serious emotional consequences that can diminish their quality of life as they age in place. Helping them to handle this type of impact can help them to move forward after their fall and preserve their lifestyle as they age in place.
Use these tips to help your parent recover from the emotional impact of a fall:
• Acknowledge it. Your parent might feel as though their emotional response to their fall is overly dramatic or petty. This might cause them to not discuss it, which can worsen the negative impact. Acknowledge that they have gone through something frightening and that it is alright for them to have an emotional response to it. Show them that you are there for them and offer support and encouragement to help them through it.
• Recognize the risk. Suffering from one fall does increase the chances that your senior will suffer from another fall. Recognizing this risk and acknowledging it to your parent can further validate their feelings, but also lets them know that you know that they are facing a more difficult decision and are prepared to give them the help that they need.
• Encourage them. Your parent might be struggling with the emotional impact of falling, ranging from distress at the changes in their physical functioning to fear that they will fall again, but that does not mean that they should just stop engaging in activity. In fact, avoiding activities can actually further diminish their quality of life and increase the possibility of another fall. Show your parent encouragement and emotional support to help them regain their activity. Take things slowly and help them to embrace that even if they are facing challenges and diminished function, they can still enjoy their later years.
If you have noticed that your elderly parent’s needs have increased, that you have not been able to handle them as effectively due to your own challenges and limitations, or you simply think that they would benefit from more diversified care, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for them. An in-home care provider can work with you to create a customized schedule so that you can feel confident your parent is getting all of the care, support, and assistance that they need at all times. This can be particularly beneficial when it comes to helping your senior stay safer while also maintaining a more active and fulfilling lifestyle. This care provider can provide physical assistance to help them with their daily tasks, safe and reliable transportation to where they need and want to go, and encouragement to make good lifestyle choices that will help them to keep their body stronger, healthier, and safer. This care provider can also be a valuable source of emotional support and companionship, helping to boost their mental and emotional health throughout their later years.
More information about fall prevention.