Introduction: Sadly, you are not alone.
Falls among elderly individuals are alarmingly common, the UK Gov estimates that around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year. This alarming figure highlights the importance of knowing what to do when such an incident occurs. In this blog post, we'll explore the steps you should take after your elderly mum or parent has had a fall, along with key considerations to ensure her safety and well-being.
1. Stay Connected with Their Care and Try to Get to the Bottom of It
Falls can be a sign of underlying health issues, including dementia or other cognitive impairments. While it could be something minor, it's essential to communicate with healthcare professionals to understand the root cause of the fall. Consider the following:
Consult with Doctors: Reach out to your mum's healthcare providers to discuss the fall and any potential health concerns. They can perform tests and evaluations to identify any underlying issues.
Registered Nurse Visit: Arrange for a registered nurse to visit your mum at home or in the hospital. They can provide valuable insights into her condition and offer recommendations for care.
2. Assess Home Safety
Before your mum returns home from the hospital, it's crucial to make her living environment safe to prevent future falls. Consider these steps:
Home Safety Assessment: Many organizations offer free home safety assessments. Amora Care, for instance, provides free home assessments to ensure that your mum's living space is hazard-free. You can also get a free risk assessment form online, which will give you a good idea about what you should be looking for and what changes might be needed.
Modifications: Make necessary modifications like removing tripping hazards, installing handrails, and improving lighting. Ensure that her bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen are easily accessible and safe. It might be time to move downstairs.
3. Consider Some Post-Discharge Help
The first few days back home will be intense. Particularly if she's been in Hospital for a while. Do yourself a favour, and get some help in place before! Hospital discharge teams can be instrumental in coordinating your mum's care post-fall. Additionally, there are options to fund post-discharge care in certain regions, such as West Kent, through organizations like Involve Kent which will fund post-discharge care for a few weeks, giving you precious time to adjust to what could be a different new normal.
You can also consider arranging for carers to do regular check-in visits and welfare checks a couple of times a week, or as needed. Professional caregivers can provide both medical and emotional support during recovery.
4. Use Technology to Help
We must give a warning here - while technology can be beneficial, it's important not to go overboard with gadgets for the elderly, particularly if they show signs of dementia because there's a big risk your investment will backfire and they will get very confused. Having said that, some useful gadgets include medical alert systems and fall detection devices. Ensure that any technology is user-friendly and promotes independence.
5. Don't Let a Fall Knock Their Confidence
After a fall, it's common for elderly individuals to experience a loss of confidence. Here are practical ways to help your mum regain her self-assurance:
Physical Therapy: Encourage participation in physical therapy to rebuild strength, balance, and mobility.
Supportive Walks: Accompany your mum on walks and outings to boost her confidence in navigating the outside world.
Safety Measures: Discuss strategies for fall prevention, such as using mobility aids, wearing proper footwear, and balancing exercises.
Conclusion: Help Her Get Back Up!
Experiencing a fall is a common concern among the elderly, but it's essential to remember that it doesn't have to lead to a loss of independence or quality of life. Stay calm, get the necessary help, and follow the steps outlined in this guide. If you're in need of post-discharge care or welfare check-in visits, don't hesitate to reach out to Amora Care for local, professional and compassionate assistance. By taking proactive measures, you can ensure your mum's continued safety, well-being, and confidence in her daily life.