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.
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.
It can be difficult to see your loved pain suffer from pain and agitation, but try to keep your loved calm by taking to them nicely and helping them take deep and 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 them about pain
As them where it hurts and how severe their pain is. 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.
Guide them at every step:
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 labored.
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. 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 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 u
Don’t pull all the weight
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. 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.
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
Inform the family doctor about 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. Remind them gently to get up slowly.
Check at the surroundings
If there are any steps, ledges, or sharp corners, make sure to be aware of those when walking around. Picking up small objects from the floor and keeping the path clear can help prevent unnecessary accidents and tripping incidents.
Access to proper footwear
Have a pair of slip resistant shoes 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.
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.
Installing safety bars in the washroom or areas where you think they might need it would help provide extra security and safety for your senior loved ones. Use safety bars where ever you can, and make sure all doors are easy to open and close. This is anything that ranges 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“