Seniors who have experienced falls often suffer a range of physical injuries, from kneecap damage and hip fractures to head trauma and spinal cord impairment. Beyond these debilitating problems, however, there are injuries that aren’t easily seen, precisely because they happen in the mind. You’d just notice a change in their mood or behavior. When before they would want to go out and spend time in your garden, now, they prefer to stay indoors and watch from the windows.
Falls affect your loved one not just physically but also emotionally and mentally. At its core, the fall has taken away your loved one’s confidence. Afraid to go out and move around on their own, they would be more at risk for physical and mental health problems, as they refuse to exercise and isolate themselves from the world.
The good news is it’s possible to restore that lost confidence. Here are ways to do that.
Make it easier for them to move around
Equip your home with safety equipment, like grab rails in stairs and poles in beds. In the bathroom, use non-slip mats and raised toilet seats. If they’re still struggling to stand up for long periods, add shower chairs. Around the house, clear the clutter along paths and keep every room well illuminated. Make sure that spills are wiped away immediately to avoid wet floors. Secure the carpets to reduce the risk of slips.
It’s also important to provide mobility aids. Invest in a scooter, if necessary. Or if you already have one, consider getting electric mobility scooter accessories, like front baskets or drink holders so that it’s easier for them to reach for stuff they need.
Talk to your loved one
The lack of confidence stems from a lot of emotional issues emerging after a fall — self-pity, loss of sense of independence, fear of falling again, the anxiety of being a burden to the family. It’s different for every person.
Your goal is for your relative to open up about what they’re struggling about. And there’s a high chance that they would hesitate when you initiate conversations like this because they want you to think that they’re okay so that you won’t worry. But try as much as you can to draw out their struggles. Because unless they recognize that they need help, all interventions won’t be welcomed on their part.
Encourage them to get active
As much as your loved one wants to stay in the bedroom, don’t let them. There’s no other way to address their lack of confidence in moving around but to get them to move around. Motivate them to exercise. The more that they’re active, the more that they regain ease and familiarity with movements, making them more confident.
What’s more, physical activity rebuilds strength and improves balance, which further helps them get rid of physical insecurities. Make sure to consult their doctor which activities are safe for their condition. Do note also that the goal isn’t just being physically active, but socially too. Encourage them to sign up in community activities in your district.
Fall incidents steal your loved one’s confidence. Get it back and restore them to full health by providing comfort, creating a safe home environment, and encouraging them to get moving.