Regaining confidence after a fall
Falling when you were a child was a minor inconvenience. Most of the time, all that was needed was a hug from mom and a Band-Aid for your knee. But as we age, falls become a serious issue. One in every four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year, according to the National Council on Aging. The falls can be serious. Statistics show that every 11 seconds, an older adult seeks treatment in an emergency room for injuries connected to a fall. After a fall, most adults become more cautious to avoid another fall but if that caution develops into fear, the quality of life begins to suffer. Here are some suggestions from experts on overcoming fear after a fall.
Understand your fears
Medline reports that up to 73 percent of people who have fallen have a fear of falling again. About half of those people begin to restrict their activities as a result. This lack of activity often leads to weakness, which can increase the risk of having another fall. Although there can be some physical issues connected to this fear, in some cases, the main issue is a lack of confidence in your own abilities. A study published in the Journals of Gerontology identified “balance confidence” as an important part of mobility. Those people who felt they could do various tasks performed better than people who didn’t think they could do the same tasks. Taking steps to regain confidence can help avoid future falls. For example, learning to walk with a cane confidently is better than deciding not to walk at all due to a fear of falling. Doctors or therapists can often provide strategies to help you regain confidence and retain an important quality of life.
Recovering from a fall can reduce your strength so it is important to come up with a way to tone those muscles so they can do their job. Not all exercise classes are appropriate for someone recovering from a fall. Look for classes designed for your ability level. As your strength returns, the risk of falling will decrease. Physical activity is a major factor in the aging process. If you are not active, both your physical and mental state of being will begin to decline. Staying as active as possible is crucial for aging well.
Look around your home for potential fall risk factors. Throw rugs that slip across the floor or extension cords that snake across pathways should be removed. Move anything that restricts movement around the home like the pile of boxes next to the stairs. To reduce the chance of falling in the shower, install grab bars and non-slip floor mats. Evaluate the lighting around your home and come up with ways to light dark hallways or entrances that could be trip hazards. Instead of hoping that you won’t fall, take action to prevent falls with targeted safety features.
Have a plan
If you do fall, know how to get help. Sign up for a medical alert system and carry the button wherever you go so you can summon help. Another option is to make a habit of carrying your cellphone with you at all times. Knowing that you can contact someone if a fall occurs will help relieve many fears.
More than healing
Falls can result in broken bones, head injuries and other major medical issues. After everything has been repaired or healed, there is often still some work to be done to get back to an active lifestyle. Everything from exercise to balance control needs to be addressed. This is why many people choose to recover in a short-term rehabilitation facility after a hospital stay for an accident, illness or procedure.
Whitehall of Deerfield is the North Shore’s premier location for short-term rehabilitation. Whitehall of Deerfield has consistently received Medicare‘s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and rehabilitation centers, which reflects Whitehall of Deerfield’s outstanding clinical care and outcomes.
This is the destination for superior medical care and effective, meaningful rehabilitation services. At Whitehall of Deerfield, all needs are addressed by caring and compassionate experts who are focused on each guest’s recovery. Seven days a week, experienced therapists provided one-on-one physical and occupational therapy needed to regain strength, mobility and independence. The staff also understands fears and helps guests move forward to regain the confidence they need to return to an active lifestyle. When it is time to return home, discharge planners make arrangements for any needed equipment or services.
There are few competitors than can match Whitehall of Deerfield’s ability to pamper their guests. Well-appointed rooms and suites feature world-class amenities including concierge service, high-speed wireless Internet, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and newspaper, in-room massage and dozens of cable channels with a 24-hour channel of newly released movies. Guests select meals from menus and enjoy in-room dining. There are also complimentary fresh-baked treats and ice cream available at an on-site ice cream parlor and coffee shop. Friends and family will find valet parking when they come to visit and a variety of inviting areas for spending time together.
To learn more about Whitehall of Deerfield, or schedule a tour, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.