How to Regain Confidence After a Fall as a Senior
EAST LANSING — It’s been 60 years since Cyrus Stewart walked into Spartan Stadium as Sparty, but he bears physical proof that he was one of the very first students at Michigan State University to portray the mascot.
“Give me your finger,” Stewart, 82, said Wednesday afternoon, his voice echoing off the high ceiling inside the west lobby of Spartan Stadium. Just a few feet away stood the original Sparty statue, unveiled in 1945 and moved inside the stadium in 2005.
He points to his own nose, “Put your finger right in there. Can you feel the dent?”
The obvious dent is at the bridge of Stewart’s nose, where the mouth of the more than 4-foot-tall, 30-pound, fiberglass Sparty head rested when he wore it during football games from 1959 to 1963.
“The problem was it was so damn heavy,” he said. When Stewart was running onto the field its mouth would slam back into the bridge of his nose repeatedly, he said.
“So many times when I came out of the game I’d have two black eyes.”
That was the price he paid to be Sparty — long before the mascot’s outfit was redesigned and became much lighter and safer to wear. Stewart, who went on to teach at MSU for more than 50 years after he graduated said taking on the role was a seminal experience, worth every bump and bruise.
“I think Sparty represents everything that’s good about Michigan State,” Stewart said.When seniors fall, it can be worrisome for older adults and their loved ones. After all, these unfortunate experiences are common among older adults aged 65 and older. Many who have senior family members commonly ask “are falls the leading cause of injury to seniors?” and “how do seniors who experience falls recover physically and mentally?” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury and death for this age group, and one out of four older adults will fall each year in the United States.
Over the mascot’s 68-year history, the students who have portrayed him have said being Sparty was, and always will be, bigger than any of
When seniors fall, it can be worrisome for older adults and their loved ones. After all, these unfortunate experiences are common among older adults aged 65 and older. Many who have senior family members commonly ask “are falls the leading cause of injury to seniors?” and “how do seniors who experience falls recover physically and mentally?” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury and death for this age group, and one out of four older adults will fall each year in the United States.
Life Care Services® knows it’s never easy to experience a fall, however, there are trusted solutions to regain confidence and physical strength. In this article, we’ll take a look at a few of those methods and our team will provide some fall prevention education tips for the older adults and their families to utilize.
Understanding Seniors and Falls
If you or a loved one has recently fallen, you may be left wondering what next steps to take. Medical assistance may be an immediate need, however, not every fall results in a physical injury, and the ability to regain emotional and mental confidence can be just as challenging.
Regardless of the unique circumstances, every senior and their family will benefit from taking the following steps to better understand how to move forward:
- Identify why the fall occurred – Determine if there were any factors that could have mitigated the fall. Falls can occur as a result of a variety of scenarios and accidents happen. However, there may also be medical reasons that contributed to a fall, such as changes in blood pressure, a medication issue, or chronic numbness. It’s often best to receive a professional diagnosis and recommendations for combatting falls by consulting with a medical professional.
- Never place blame – Often, seniors may feel like they are at fault for falling or even that it causes an inconvenience to ask for help. Alternatively, caregivers may criticize themselves for not offering enough support when a fall occurs. Instead of assigning blame, focus on recovery and have a positive outlook on what that recovery will mean for the future.
- Validate fear and provide reassurance – This step is particularly important as fear after a fall is far too often discounted or not taken seriously. Older adults should know that it is normal to experience fear, anxiety, concern, etc. after a fall. The individual helping them regain confidence should verbally communicate that they are present to help the senior overcome fear and to know they are not alone in the process.
- Determine a plan of action – Creating a personalized action plan can help combat future falls as seniors will not only be more aware of fall triggers but they can also take preemptive steps to reduce the risk. This plan will look different for everyone, but it will often include reducing hazards within a living environment and using resources for assistance as necessary. A senior living community is often an excellent resource for older adults who experience falls from hazards at home. A professional senior living advisor will work with you and your loved one to find a community that is safe and offers new opportunities.
Fall Prevention for Seniors
There are a wide variety of products designed to help reduce the risk of senior falls. Some are very simple, yet effective.
- Bed rails for seniors to prevent falls.
- Grab rails for restrooms, stairs, etc.
- Restroom aids (mats, shower chairs, toilet frames).
- Canes, walkers, rollators, powered wheelchairs.
- Non-slip steps, rugs, pads.
- Lift chairs.
- Additional lighting (nightlights, warm white lightbulbs).
- Cushions and padding in high-risk areas (near beds, chairs, couches).
There are also numerous products available that seniors can use to quickly call for help if a fall occurs.
- Fall detection watches for seniors.
- Fall alert buttons and necklaces for seniors.
- Digital access to emergency information.
- Smart home assistants with voice calls.
It’s also a good idea to consider a senior living community, which is designed with many of these safety features and always has fall prevention in mind.
Here to Help You Get Up Stronger
When seniors fall, it’s important they have the right partner to help them stand with confidence. Life Care Services wants every senior and family member to know that support and help are always available. We provide professional care in more than 130 communities across the U.S, and seniors also have extensive support resources available through our programming when assistance is needed. Additionally, seniors with similar life experiences provide a true sense of community and friendship in even the most difficult times. We invite you to join a safe, supportive senior living community near you. Find a community in your area, today.
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