Many seniors (some quite young) have told me they wish to stay in their own homes as they age, but a fall or other accident/illness prevents them from feeling secure when alone. Such fear can prematurely immobilize seniors by keeping them from getting enough exercise and by actually causing more falls. (Studies have shown that a lack of confidence leads to more falls after having the first one.) Recently, a woman told me she avoids taking a shower or walking on her treadmill for fear of falling with no one to help her up!

Recovering from an injury or illness takes time and can be highly inconvenient, at best, to painful, limiting, and depressing. My own recent fall and broken arm have caused me to think more of precautions that everyone should take, as well as the increased difficulties of the disabled and those who are older and living alone. Prevention, support from others, and a plan in case of injury are a few of the best ways to stave off fear, as well as accidents. The solution, however, is not to do as little as possible. We must get up and get moving as much as our condition will safely allow!

Speak with your doctor about how much activity is good for you . Pain is not always an indication that you should stop what you are doing. If you’ve ever had physical therapy, you know that you’re sometimes pushed to the point of pain. Keep up your normal routine to whatever degree your doctor recommends and give yourself a break in those areas which are beyond your capability. The recovery process is only for a season. In time, if you are not as good as new, you will adjust to new limitations.

Below are a few simple steps you can take to prevent falls and live more safely and securely at home. If fear persists, talking to a counselor is probably a good idea. He/she can help you work through the transitions of aging as well as the next steps if there is a true need to no longer live alone.

1. Install grab bars in shower and by toilet and use a shower chair, if needed.

2. Use the proper mats in shower/bath to prevent slipping.

3. Remove rugs which can easily be stumbled over.

4. Don’t hesitate to use a walker or cane, if recommended.

4. Wear an emergency alert necklace. These have literally been life savers for many who would not have been able to call for help otherwise.

5. Have a telephone in the bathroom within reach of the tub/shower and toilet.

6. Ask a neighbor, friend, or family member to call 2-3 times a day just to check on you. Good times would be right after bath time and just before you go to bed at night.

7. Hire professional help for a few hours per day to either assist or be there for you during tasks you fear most and where you could use some reassurance. (Taking walks, bathing, etc.) You will still be able to have privacy at those times when you desire it.

8. Spend time with others at senior centers, etc. We need each other to keep smiling!

Please Submit Comments using the ‘Contact Form’ and Reference this ‘Post’