Do you think that your elderly or disabled loved one would tell you if he or she fell, or would he or she be hesitant to share information about a fall resulting in an injury? While almost one in three individuals over the age of 65 are reported to have experienced a recent fall, only half are sharing that information with their caregivers. The truth is that your elderly or disabled loved one or client may not only be fearful of falling but may also have reservations about sharing information about their resulting injuries with you. One major reason your loved one may be holding back vital information relates to not wanting to increase your burden. Another reason is the fear of a loss of independence. For example, most falls require extended recovery periods, including hospital stays, and if the damage is extensive, there may be a need to seek out skilled nursing services.
The risks associated with just one significant fall can be devastating for both your loved one and you as a caregiver. This is why you must be empowered to recognize the signs of an unreported fall, understand where to go for resources to help with making the home safer, and seek the assistance of additional support in the home, when it is warranted, to prevent falls.
Caregiver Wellness: U Model
Empowerment is a key component of the Caregiver Wellness: U Model, a conceptual model that incorporates the movement toward social, psychological, physical, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, and financial wellness among caregivers, while also incorporating the empowerment and resilience necessary to take charge of one’s health on a holistic basis.
The term empowerment is defined as the ability to engage in and execute behaviors for successful caregiving. It is a significant force that may help you with the tasks associated with caring for your sick or disabled loved one. In fact, once you are empowered, you are better able to assist your loved one live life with greater fulfillment, you are more likely to take responsibility for your own health and wellness in addition to the well-being of your loved one, and you are more likely to reach out for support to prevent a fall.
Homewatch CareGivers understands the importance of empowering caregivers as a strategy to prevent falls.
Homewatch CareGivers is an organization that recognizes the importance of empowering caregivers to reach out for support to aid in preventing falls. In fact, in a recent interview, Jennifer Tucker, Vice President of Homewatch CareGivers, suggested that there are several signs to look for if you suspect your loved one has experienced a fall but has been reluctant to tell you, for example, signs of bruising or your loved one seeming less steady or less balanced. You might also notice that your loved one does not want to get up out of a chair when you are visiting. If you notice that your loved one is having trouble with balance or suspect he or she is at risk of falling, Tucker suggests setting up an in-home fall risk screening, a screening that Homewatch CareGivers is happy to conduct free of charge.
The following are five additional resources that you may find helpful:
Guide to In-Home Senior Safety: If your loved one is living alone, you may have concerns about him or her falling and getting injured. This step-by-step guide walks you through tips to improve the safety in your loved one’s living environment.
Let’s Talk, a guide to navigating difficult discussions about helping your loved one age comfortably, is a portable communication guide to assist you to prepare for difficult conversations, including talking about safety, with your loved one. As a strategy, you might consider scheduling a fall risk assessment so the conversation about making the home safer is specific, structured, and more meaningful.
10 Tips for Preventing Dementia-Related Falls Individuals suffering from dementia are at a significantly higher risk for falls. The 10 tips for Preventing Dementia-Related Falls was released in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day and National Fall’s prevention awareness day to support you and your loved one suffering from dementia. The tips included in the guide are practical strategies to aid with improving safety in the home for your loved one with dementia.
Consider placing an emergency response system in the home. Emergency response systems can be a source of comfort for both you and your loved one. In fact, they offer the convenience of calling for help without having to make it to the phone in the event your loved one has a fall. Your loved one will wear a device like a necklace or wristband. The device contains a button that, once pushed, prompts a live response over the intercom that is part of the personal emergency response system. Many systems now have the range to allow you to hear your loved one throughout the home and even outside the home up to a certain number of feet.
Listen to the Caregiver Support Radio: Caregiver Wellness series podcast on empowered caregivers. Caregivers are encouraged to listen to the Caregiver Wellness: The Empowered Caregiver. The podcast is free and offers suggestions about how to implement a plan for self-care while providing for your sick or disabled loved one.
In summary, a fall can be devastating for you and your loved one. It is important that you are empowered to recognize the signs of an unsafe environment and take the steps to improve safety to prevent falls whenever possible.