How to Safely Help Someone Up After a Fall
Older people are prone to falling due to limited mobility. As a caregiver, it’s important to take as many actions as possible to prevent falls in the first place. Of course, there are instances where such precautions are still not enough.
When a senior has fallen, the necessary steps to safely pick them up may be overlooked in the panic. As a result, caregivers can hurt themselves or worsen their loved one’s injuries. Take a look at these suggestions to safely help an elderly person up from a fall.
Keep in mind that these tips should only be used if your loved one has not sustained an injury! It can be even more dangerous to try to pick them up. If you are not sure if the fall caused damaged, it may be best to call 911 for assistance immediately.
Tips for helping a senior up from a fall
Do NOT pick them up right away. Take a few moments to calm them and yourself down.
- Often the shock of falling will make a senior agitated and they can become reckless in trying to get up, so encourage them to take a minute and sit with them.
Remain calm and keep your loved one calm by taking and talking them through deep, slow breaths.
- Just make sure that you are following your own advice, breathing will help you calm down so you can better assess the situation.
Ask if they are experiencing any pain. If so, assess where and how severe.
- If they keep shrugging you off and saying they are fine, try watching their movements. See if they wince at any point that they are moving and go from there.
If there is any indication of a serious injury such as broken bones, do NOT move them; call an ambulance and keep them as comfortable as possible while you wait for medical assistance.
If they are not badly hurt and wish to get up, proceed slowly and with caution. If at any point the process becomes too difficult or tiring, stop and/or take a break.
- Even if they keep trucking on, maybe suggest a break if you notice their breathing is laboured.
Make sure to have a chair handy, that way you can move them safely on to a chair.
- This could even be a sturdy box or bench, just anything that’s still relatively low to the ground to make sure they can easily transfer on to the chair.
An elderly person who has fallen and wants to get up must be physically capable of doing so themselves. As a caregiver in this situation, you are meant to be a guide. It is dangerous to attempt to carry all their weight for them.
Surround your loved one with at least two chairs, so they can use them as support.
- Make sure these chairs are sturdy so that they don’t end up falling again.
Have them roll onto their side before helping them onto their hands and knees. Use a cushion or a towel under their joints if it is painful for them.
- Pause after this step to see if they become dizzy at all, if they become dizzy after that small movement, they could get even more dizzy when they stand.
Have them lean their weight onto the seat of one chair and use their stronger leg to put one foot on the floor.
Bring a second chair behind them, so they can use the strength of their arms and legs to sit into it. Remember to keep your back upright if you are lightly guiding them up.
- Remember to keep your safety in mind. If you are helping to lift them up, keep your back straight and lift with your knees. The last thing you need is two injuries.
Notify their doctor of the fall and take note of any emerging signs of pain or injury.
- If you are concerned for any reason, taking them to the nearest walk in clinic can put your mind at rest. Be sure to take note of any pain or limping a few days after the fall. Sometimes pains and problems can show symptoms a few days after the fall.
Of course it’s better if falls don’t happen in the first place, but they are inevitable some times. But make sure you are taking as many preventative measures as you can. Here are five quick tips on preventing falls!
Watch their state when they stand up
- If it is a hot day and they are sitting outside, or even just sitting somewhere for a long time, they may get dizzy when trying to stand.
Look at the surroundings of the room they are in
- If there are any steps, ledges, or sharp corners, make sure to be aware of those when walking around.
Make sure they are always wearing proper footwear
- Have a pair of slip resistant slippers around them at all times. When they go out make sure to have proper supportive shoes on their feet. Even gripper socks on their feet can be worn to bed, in case there are any night time trips to the washroom.
Look into walking assistants
- Walkers, Wheelchairs or canes are all good ways that they can get around safely, as well as useful to lean on something over unsteady ground.
Look into household aids
- If your loved one is still living at home, look into installing bars into the walls in the washroom or areas where you think they might need it. Reinforce all hand railings as well for any stairs or steps. Insert any extra handles where ever you can, and make sure all doors are easy to open and close. This is anything from the front door to cupboards.
Falling is human nature, it unfortunately happens. When it does, it’s good to follow these tips to be ready if it does happen. Try to prevent falls as much as you can, but when they happen stay calm and don’t blame yourself.
If you are interested in knowing more ways to prevent falls click here to read Angela Gentile’s article “Watch your step! Fall Prevention Tips“