Why Are Falls So Scary for Seniors?
Falls can be absolutely terrifying for older adults for a great many reasons. Even a “small” fall can change much of your senior’s life as she currently knows it. Doing what you can as her family caregiver to help your elderly family member to avoid a fall is incredibly important.
Injuries and Long-term Effects of Injuries
Falls are a major cause of injuries in older adults, and often those injuries have long-term impacts. According to the CDC, one out of every five falls causes broken bones or an injury to the head. That can mean that even a seemingly small fall causes your elderly family member to have to spend time in the hospital or worse, have surgery. The recovery time from a fall can take a very long time and that can exacerbate other health issues your senior is already facing.
Anxiety and Fear
Whether your elderly family member has fallen already or not, she can have significant anxiety and fear around falling. For many older adults, the fear of falling alone is enough to cause your senior to avoid moving as much as she did in the past. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as your elderly family member loses mobility and muscle tone, ironically making a fall more likely for her.
If your elderly family member becomes fearful enough about her mobility and about falling, she may even start to avoid social interactions. As she spends more time at home, she may find that isolation starts to lead to other issues, like developing depression. Being able to interact with others is important for your elderly family member, so cutting off that contact has serious consequences for her.
Your senior may worry that all of these reasons can cause her to be forced to move from her home or to lose her independence in a variety of ways. If your elderly family member’s main goal as she ages is to continue to do so on her own terms and in her own home, this can be a devastating fear for her. After an injury, your elderly family member may worry that her only option is a nursing home.
Hiring elderly care providers to be there with your senior can alleviate a lot of the fear she has around possibly falling. This can enable her to stay more active, offers her companionship, and shows her that she can still be independent, even with help.