There are many things that can increase the chances of your aging relative falling. You’re probably aware that gait and balance problems can lead to falling. You might even know that certain medications can cause dizziness, which can also cause a fall. But, did you know that simply being afraid of falling makes it more likely that an older adult will?
Surveys indicate that people who are over the age of 60 and fear falling are between 40 percent and 73 percent more likely to fall. Unfortunately, that can make them limit their activities. They may become less active and more inclined to stay at home where they feel safe. That’s too bad because it can severely impact their quality of life and lead to health problems that can make it even more likely they’ll fall.
If your older family member fears falling, there are ways you can help them to get over their fear and start living life again. Below are some suggestions to reduce or eliminate the fear of falling.
Helping older adults to be more confident in their abilities can reduce their fears. When it comes to falling, they need to be more confident in their ability to walk safely with proper gait and good balance. One way to increase their confidence is by encouraging them to exercise to build muscle strength and improve balance. Some organizations offer classes that help seniors to get stronger and gain better balance. These classes usually offer an assessment before the classes begin and again afterward to help older adults understand their personal risks and what they can do about them. Other types of exercise that can help are tai chi and yoga.
Some medications have dizziness as a side effect. Knowing if any of their medicines may be causing problems and changing them for those that don’t may help your aging relative to feel safer. Bring a complete list of all prescription and non-prescription medicines the senior uses to their next doctor appointment. Be sure to include any supplements. Ask the doctor if any of them can contribute to the risk of falling. Even if none of them do, hearing the doctor say there’s no reason to worry about their medicines may increase the older adult’s confidence.
Having a homecare provider present to assist your older family member can make them feel safer and encourage them to be more active. A homecare provider can walk with the older adult so they can exercise and build lower body strength without being afraid.