How To Regain Confidence After A Fall (Updated 2022)
As we get older, our risk of falling over increases. And the more we fall over, the more anxious and worried we can feel about tripping and falling again. This article looks at how seniors can regain confidence after a fall.
Fear Of Falling
One third of older adults (65 years and over) will fall over at least once a year and of these, half will actually fall over more frequently.
Aside from the physical impact and injuries of falls, falling over can also affect a senior’s confidence in their mobility and balance.
This fear of falling can impact an older adult’s independence and quality of life as they choose to stay at home instead of going out, and limit what they can do.
Being Scared Of Falling Can Actually Cause A Senior To Fall
It’s quite natural that your parent will be scared of falling over again if they have had a bad fall. However, being scared of falling can actually cause your older loved one to fall over. This fear is a risk factor in itself.
To help explain this, imagine that an older adult has fallen over whilst rushing for the bus.
- After the fall, the senior does not want to risk falling over again so they stop using the bus when alone
- This impacts their life – they have less independence and are scared to leave the house alone
- This leads to the senior person going out and moving about less
- Physical activity (such as walking, exercise classes) helps to keep seniors fit. If they do less physical activity they have decreased fitness and mobility levels
- And this in turn actually results in an increased risk of falls. This is because exercise helps to build strength and balance in the elderly. So the less an older adult keeps fit and healthy, the less strong and balanced they are
This explains why it is so important to help your older loved one regain their confidence after a fall. It is however possible to break this negative cycle and build their confidence back.
How To Regain Confidence After A Fall
It is possible to recover and regain confidence after a fall. Here are our seven tips to help seniors build their confidence back up.
Acknowledge The Fear Of Falling
The first step to building confidence back is to acknowledge the fear. It might be a new feeling to your senior loved one but it is completely normal to feel like this (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). By acknowledging the fear, it shows that you recognise it for what it is, and with work can leave this fear of falling behind you.
To do this, think of an activity and mark out of ten how worried you are about completing it. It’s likely this activity will be directly related to a fall you have had (for example, getting the bus or going to the toilet in the night).
Understand The Factors That Caused The Fall
In order for you to move on, it helps to look at the cause(s) of your fall, so you can then make a plan to move on from it. It may help to discuss this with friends and family or a professional – sometimes talking about it will help you identify what the cause was if it isn’t instantly recognisable to you. The table below details potential questions and solutions to consider. There are of course other causes, but this starts to show potential questions and solutions.
|Did your clothing or footwear impair your balance and cause you to trip?||A simple wardrobe change could help keep you safe from future trips and falls. Did you know backless slippers cause so many falls? Read our podiatrist-approved round up of shoes for the elderly here.|
|Did the fall happen because you were struggling to see?||If the fall happened at night, could extra lights (maybe a motion sensor) help – for example light the path to the toilet. Perhaps booking an optician appointment would help too.|
|Did you trip over clutter?||Decluttering your house could help to remove falls risks.|
|Are you worried about your balance and mobility?||It is possible to improve your strength and balance as you get older, which will help your mobility and reduce your risk of falling over. Try some simple exercises which you can do at home.|
By working through the above exercise, your senior loved one has started to understand what caused the fall. Work through solutions to this with them, and help them take action.
Examples of action could be:
– Building up strength and balance through at-home exercises or going to a seated exercise class
– Making simple adjustments around your home e.g. removing loose matting
– Decluttering the home
– Putting their glasses within easy reach at night
Make a goal
This support will help your senior loved one to regain their confidence bit by bit. Now is the time for them to make a goal. It can be as small or as big as they want and should be detailed. For example:
– I want to be able to walk to the coffee shop at the end of my road in three weeks by myself
– I want to get the bus into town (solo or with someone for support) by Christmas
Having a detailed goal means you can set targets to achieve this – even if it is a stepped approach. Increase your activity level slowly to reach your goal. Split this into days or even weeks.
Taking the first example above, could you walk halfway to the coffee shop with a friend by the end of the first week?
Talk to friends and loved ones
Get their support so they accompany you on your way to achieving your goal. Could they walk with you to the shops at first, or practice the exercises with you?
When you have reached the timeframe set out in your goal, it is time to evaluate.
Think back to the beginning of this exercise when you acknowledged your fear and scored out of ten how worried you were about completing an activity. Now, score yourself out of ten again thinking of the same activity as in step one and see the results.
Falling over can affect a senior’s confidence and cause them to have a fear of falling. This fear can actually be more debilitating than the physical impact of the fall itself. Through love and support, you can help older adults to regain their confidence after a fall. Follow these seven tips and let us know how you get on!
At ElWell, we focus on providing information, advice and tips to help you support your parents as they get older. We understand it can be an overwhelming time, and we want to help you navigate your way through it. If you’re reading about falls already, you may be interested in our other article on preventing falls and strength and balance. And thanks for dropping by!
Falling over can affect a senior’s confidence and cause them to have a fear of falling. This fear can actually be more debilitating than the physical impact of the fall itself, but it is possible to regain confidence. Follow our seven tips to help a senior build their confidence back.