A fall can take a lot out of your senior physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Many seniors are so afraid after a fall that they create a cycle that almost guarantees they’ll fall again. That’s something you want to help your elderly family member to avoid.
Ask Her if She Wants to Talk about It
If your elderly family member has been avoiding talking about the fall she experienced, that could actually contribute to her fear of falling again. You might have been avoiding the topic, too, simply because it’s scary as her family caregiver. But talking about what happened can help you both to understand each other’s concerns and put a plan together. If she doesn’t want to talk about the fall, you may have to wait it out.
Set a Small Goal to Start Out
Assuming your elderly family member does want to talk about what happened and work through her fear, the next step is to set a small goal that she can achieve. That might be as simple as she’ll use her cane to walk around the room once an hour. Fear can cause older adults to avoid moving much at all, which causes them to rapidly lose muscle tone and strength. Rebuilding that takes time, and small goals can help with that.
Use Success to Set Bigger Goals
As your elderly family member does grow stronger and as she meets her small goals, that success gives her something to use moving forward. She can start to set even bigger goals. If she has no reason to not regain her strength and balance completely, then her big goal might be to become strong enough to not need her cane unless she’s feeling unbalanced. Even her bigger goals should be reasonable and achievable.
Encourage Your Senior to Lean on Help
There’s nothing wrong with needing a little bit of help, whether that’s from people or from assistive tools. Often older adults don’t like using tools like a walker or a cane because it makes them feel old and feeble. But if you can remind your senior that those tools help her to stay safe, that may help her to feel less resentment about using them. Other tools, like physical therapy, can help her to become even stronger. If your senior is worried about being alone, then home care providers are an excellent addition to her care plan. They can help with mobility and offer companionship, too.
Recovering after a fall may take longer than your elderly family member expects, but getting past the fear of moving is an important part of that recovery.