Falling down is one of the most common ways a senior can be injured. Depending on their preexisting conditions and overall health, this could be just a bump or a major injury. As such, it's important that those who care for seniors know what to do in the event of a fall. Here's a step-by-step guide on helping a fallen senior.
1. Try to Communicate
Assuming they haven't been knocked unconscious, the first thing to do in the event of a fall is to try and communicate with the person. Ask them if they're been hurt, how bad they're hurting, where the pain is located, and any other questions that might help you understand the extent of their injuries. If the senior is unconscious, attempt to wake them up by talking to them. If they do not respond, call 911.
2. Identify Injuries
The next step to take is to identify the injuries sustained through the fall. Whether or not you have medical training, you can do a simple visual examination of a person to identify bruises, broken bones protruding from the flesh, bleeding, or other noticeable injuries. Look where a senior has told you the pain is centered, but be sure to examine other areas for more minor injuries as well.
If the injuries sustained are severe or a senior is unconscious and unresponsive, call 911. Remain calm and explain the situation as clearly as you can to the operator. During this process, make sure to reassure your loved one and monitor their breathing. Do not attempt to move them around, as this could exacerbate a serious injury. Wait with them until help can arrive.
3. Help Them Up
If the injuries sustained are not serious, you can help a senior to their feet. Be gentle and take the process slowly as it can sometimes be difficult to get back to your feet after a hard fall. Help them roll over onto their stomach, then transition onto their hands and knees. Bracing it from behind, have them grab hold of something sturdy like a chair or other object and move into a kneeling position. One leg at a time, assume a stance like that of a kneeling lunge, then a squat. Guide them upwards until they are standing. Help them to sit down in a chair if they are still unsteady.
In times of crisis, just remember this guide to be able to effectively help a senior who has fallen down. If your loved one is prone to falls, consider our balance exercises for seniors, and review our Fall Prevention Fact Sheet for strategies to help them. For any extra assistance, feel free to contact us.