You love your elderly parents, but for some reason they won’t stop climbing on ladders and stepstools. Dad fell off a ladder last year while working in the yard, and suffered minor injuries that required medical attention. Now that they’re both in their 70s, you’re concerned one of them is going to experience a serious fall that will interfere with their ability to age in place. What should you do? What follows are several reliable ways to help convince your aging parents to avoid ladders and stepstools.
Falls Prevalence in the Elderly
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are now the number one reason for accidental injuries and deaths every year for seniors. The most commonly- reported injuries, including those resulting from ladders and stepstools, are fractured ribs, skulls, hips, legs and arms. CDC figures further reveal these annual fall-related statistics for seniors:
- One-in-three will suffer a fall
- 7 million of those falls result in serious injuries
- 27,000 die from fall-related injuries
Many of the serious injuries that seniors experience result in lengthy and difficult recoveries, including hospitalizations, rehab, and even stints in a nursing home.
Why are Seniors More “Fall-Prone”?
Once a person reaches age 65 their body has less muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it harder to stay on something like a ladder. Most elderly people also have poor balance and coordination because of these age-related factors:
- Recent illness or surgery
- Poor vision
- Certain medications they’re taking
- Chronic medical conditions
- Cognitive impairment from dementia or Alzheimer’s
If your parents are impacted by any of these, they’re at a higher risk of falling, and especially when climbing on ladders and stepstools. Now it’s time to explore how to get them to stop before a serious injury occurs.
Getting Your Parents to Say “Yes”
Most seniors don’t want to be lectured to by their adult children. Instead, respectfully approach your parents about discussing “something important” that’s been on your mind. Before doing so, research fall-related statistics in the elderly, and print off some recent news stories to share about seniors getting injured, or even killed, when falling off ladders and stepstools. Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to sit down with mom and dad.
During your discussion, tell your parents how much they mean to you, and then respectfully express your concerns about them climbing on ladders and stepstools. Show them what you’ve learned through your research, and explain the potential threat to their at-home independence that serious fall-related injuries would cause. Also talk to them about other seniors they know that have been seriously hurt when falling from ladders and stepstools. If the initial “talk” doesn’t do the trick, try these additional strategies:
Make a deal with your parents that if they pass a balance assessment conducted by their doctor, you’ll table your concerns for a while. If one or both fail the test, their doctors will probably advise them to avoid ladders and stepstools altogether.
Recruit Family Members
Ask your siblings and other family members to also speak to mom and dad about the issue. If they hear it enough from their loved ones, your parents may just get the point.
Move Objects Within Arm’s Length
Help mom and dad move commonly used items around their home that are stored in closets or on shelves down to where they can be easily accessed within arm’s length.
Turn Outside Projects into Family oOnes
Volunteer your entire family to help dad with outside projects that might require climbing on a ladder, like tree trimming, painting and gutter cleaning. If you have teenagers, this will be a great chance for them to spend more time with their grandparents while performing a valuable service!
Ask a Trusted Outsider to Speak with Them
If all else fails, ask a trusted clergy member, neighbor or friend to speak to your parents. If it’s someone your parents respect, their words will probably hit home.
In-Home Fall Prevention Assistance for Your Parents
Keeping elderly parents off ladders and stepstools is hard, especially when you have your own household to manage or live far away. When you need help, call the senior fall prevention experts at First In Care. While serving as an extended family in your loved ones’ home, our highly trained caregivers will help keep them safe and comfortable right where they want to be. In addition to fall prevention assistance, our caregivers also provide services like personal hygiene, light housekeeping, meals, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
And, all our companion care and home health services are designed to improve your senior’s quality of life, while further ensuring their dignity, independence and self-esteem. To learn why more families are placing their trust in the senior home care services that First In Care offers in the Manatee County, FL, area, or to schedule a FREE in-home care consultation, please visit: www.firstincare.com now!