Updated: Apr 1, 2020
According to the CDC, more than 1 in 4 people age 65 and older fall each year. And, falling once doubles the chances of falling again.
Even worse, after an older adult falls, lying on the floor for a long time or getting up incorrectly could cause additional injury – even if they weren’t seriously injured from the fall itself.
For example, someone who isn’t able to get up or call for help may develop serious complications like dehydration, hypothermia, pneumonia or pressure sores.
Another issue is that many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear could cause them to avoid everyday activities. And if they’re less active, they’ll become weaker, which then increases their chances of falling.
To combat this, seniors can proactively learn safe techniques for how to get up from a fall.
Knowing what to do if a fall does occur and practicing ahead of time will give them confidence that they’ll be able to help themselves and minimize injuries.
We share a helpful demonstration of safe techniques for getting up after a fall and outline the key steps to take to get up or to call for help.
ALWAYS ASSESS INJURIES BEFORE MOVING
Seniors should only consider getting up if they’re not injured or dizzy from the fall. They should also feel that they have enough strength to get up on their own.
If you find that your older adult has been injured in a fall, don’t move them – that could make their injuries worse. Instead, call 911, keep them as warm and comfortable as possible, and wait for emergency responders to arrive.
HOW TO SAFELY GET UP FROM A FALL
This video is useful because it’s a step-by-step guide to get from lying on the floor to safely sitting in a chair. The demonstration of how to get up from a fall starts at 1 min 35 seconds in the video. The video opens with a long introduction and a liability disclaimer.
In the demonstration, they first show how older adults can safely get up on their own. Then, they show how seniors can call for help if they’re injured and can’t get up on their own.
Important: Seniors with serious health conditions or limited mobility should always consult their doctor or physical therapist for advice on what to do in case of a fall in order to prevent further injury.
HOW TO GET UP FROM A NON-INJURY FALL
Stay calm and still. Don’t move for a few minutes because moving too quickly can cause more harm.
Figure out if you’re injured. Slowly move hands and feet, arms and legs to check for pain.
If there are no injuries, slowly roll onto your side, starting the movement with your head and moving down your body toward your feet. Take a moment to rest.
Slowly push up into a crawling position and crawl slowly on hands and knees toward a sturdy chair or piece of furniture. Don’t rush and rest as needed. Place your hands on the seat of the chair, one at a time.
Supporting yourself with the chair, bring your strongest leg up to a 90 degree angle by putting that foot flat on the ground. The other leg stays in kneeling position. Slowly push up to standing using both arms and legs.
Slowly turn around and lower yourself onto the chair. Sit and catch your breath for a few minutes before doing anything else.
HOW TO GET HELP WHEN YOU HAVE INJURIES
Stay calm and rest for a few moments. Figure out what parts of your body are injured.
If you have one, use an emergency medical alert device or mobile phone to call 911 or a family member for help. Tell them about your injuries.
If there’s a pillow nearby, put it under your head. If there’s a blanket or some clothing nearby, use it to keep yourself warm while you wait for help.
If you don’t have a medical alert device or a phone nearby, start yelling for help. If you can’t yell, grab something nearby and use it to bang on the floor or on nearby furniture to make noise and attract attention.
It's always best if you can have someone with your loved one if you think they may be a fall risk. For more information on in-home care, give Favor a call at 501-725-2273 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.