Falling can be a life-altering event for anyone at any age, but there are increased risk factors and more serious aftereffects when a fall happens to an older adult. Caregivers and family are often met with the need to recognize those risk factors, help with the prevention of falling and discuss next steps with their loved ones.
At Prestige, we are here to provide information and advice on how to go about this journey. Our free Fall Risk Assessment is a great tool to kick start the dialogue of risk factors of falling with your loved one.
Risk Factors of Falling and Prevention
There are several factors that contribute to falling as we age. Acknowledging and understanding the risk factors is essential for implementing open dialogue.
Falling is not an inevitable repercussion to aging. If you and your loved are taking appropriate actions to cut down on risk factors, falling can be reduced significantly. The first step is preparing the home and your loved one to aid in the reduction of falling. Also, exercise has been shown to improve physical and mental health which will lessen the risk factors of falling.
Here at Prestige Senior Living, we work closely with a senior fitness expert and certified athletic trainer, Adrian Cagigas. He plays an essential role in the wellness of our residents, including fall prevention, by designing and developing signature fitness programs for our communities and you at home.
You can learn more about exercises and tips from Adrian by viewing his Fall Prevention videos, similar to the one below.
How to talk to your loved one about the risks of falling
Having conversations with your loved one about aging and the risk of falling can be difficult and uncomfortable but we are here to provide advice and support.
Building your knowledge on the risks and prevention of falling before discussing with your loved one will ease the discomfort of the conversation. Having details on this topic will give you and your family member assurances that you have the common goal of their well-being.
The next step to a productive conversation with your loved one is to be considerate and supportive with your choice of words, which will help alleviate the apprehension for both parties. When choosing language to begin the conversation, you should avoid being abrasive with phrases such as, “you will fall if you don’t exercise”.
Additionally, making your loved one feel as if you are talking at them, and not with them, will create an uncomfortable setting for them. Instead, you should initiate the conversation with a question such as, “Have you been feeling worried about falling?” or “Do you feel uneasy when walking or doing daily tasks?”. By using a question, it allows your family member to express their feelings and feel in control.
You can also take what you gathered about the risk factors of falling and use it to continue the conversation by saying phrases along the lines of, “I noticed that there is a cord in the hallway, I am worried you will trip and fall on that. Would you like me to move it?” Your loved one will be more receptive to this topic if they are greeted with love and empathy.
Being mindful of your body language, tone, and communication style can support a positive environment. Having engaged body language and a positive tone, such as, leaning towards your family member with an upbeat positive tone, will give them a sense of safety to have an honest engagement with you.
This topic may be hard for your loved one to accept, it can be viewed as a lose of independence, so you may need to have this conversation more than once. Because of this you should prepared to adjust your approach and have resources available for you and your family member.
What to do when you or your loved one falls
When the risk of falling is brought up in conversation, the focus is the aftereffects such as broken bones, head injuries and fear, so the information about what to do at the time of the fall is left out. If you get up incorrectly or lay on the floor too long after a fall it can cause or amplify injury.
After you and your loved one have taken the proper steps to know the risk factors of falling and make a prevention plan, it is important to have the information on what to do if a fall happens. You should always consult with a doctor or physical therapist for a more personalized guide if health conditions or mobility is a concern.
Prestige is here to help
At Prestige Senior Living, we have seen firsthand how a fall can affect an individual and their family’s life. To help reduce fall risks in our communities, we engage our residents in fun exercise programs like our Celebrations Wellness Program.
Contact the community nearest you for more information about our programs and how we can help you or your loved one stay safe and healthy.