If Mom is afraid of falling again

older adults who have fallen believe it is best to “stay safe” and
avoid falling again by restricting their activities. Unfortunately, that’s the
worst thing they can do! Inactivity is a path to reduced strength and mobility,
which increases the risk of a fall and injury.

of the most important things you can do is encourage your worried relative to
stay up and moving. Here are some tips:

about the fear
Although you don’t want to push, it’s important to talk with your relative
about the risks of inactivity. This can pave the way to discussion of how to
work with his or her (understandable) fear. Putting things in terms of your own
concerns may be helpful. It sounds less blaming or demanding. For example:

  • “I’m concerned,
    Mom, that the fall you took in December has made you extra fearful. For sure,
    no one would want to go through that again! But I’ve done some reading and
    learned that being inactive actually makes you more likely to fall a second
    time. What can we do to build your strength and confidence?”

Offer strategies for change
Suggest ways that you can help your relative overcome his or her fear.

  • “Let’s talk with your doctor about what’s worked for
    other patients in this situation.”
  • “Let’s practice balance exercises together. Take a few
    laps down the hall. I’ll be here so you don’t have to worry.”
  • “Let’s ask for a referral to a physical therapist. They
    can give you tips about walking, how to better catch yourself, and how to get
    up safely if you did fall again.”
  • “Let’s take stock of what’s different now than when you
    fell. You were sick then.” (Or, “You’re no longer on that medication
    that made you dizzy.”).

Does fear of falling loom large?
As the Metro DC experts in family caregiving, we understand both sides! At Debra Levy Eldercare Associates we can help you negotiate a graduated activity program that starts small to boost confidence and then builds upon success. Give us a call at 301-593-5285.