Seniors – What to Do If You Fall

Photo of professional private caregiver and injured senior

Injuries due to falls account for an estimated 2.5 million hospital visits for seniors every year. As the body ages, resilience and immunity weaken and can make slips or falls an increasingly dangerous and expensive misfortune. Many seniors try to do all they can to prevent falls at home when living independently during their retirement years. Installing additional railing, bathroom mats, shower chairs, among other precautions all do their part to assist with senior safety; but sometimes falls still occur, leading to the critical question “what to do if you fall?”

 

Keep Calm

It is advisable to limit the stress of the traumatic situation as much as possible. Sometimes taking a moment to remain still and collect yourself is important to avoid going into a state of shock. Staying as calm as possible is a good initial mindset to take before making the effort to get help. Taking a moment to evaluate yourself may be further useful in determining how hurt or injured you really are. Trying to get up too quickly or moving the wrong way may put pressure on areas of the body you hadn’t even realized were damaged and worsen the problem. If you feel you are able to get up again safely without assistance, it is advisable to first roll over on your side. Finding a sturdy object to raise your self up from a balanced kneeling position can be a safer way to rise up again.

 

Draw Attention To Yourself

Seniors are not always fortunate enough to have a spouse, relative, or other people present when incidents of senior falls occur, and that can be a troubling situation for an elder who is afraid and in pain following a hazardous slip. However, if you are in a house or a nursing center where others are around, it is important to do what you can to draw attention to yourself. Sometimes an elder’s voice is not strong enough to call out and be heard from inside their room after senior falls, but using what’s around you to make noise to alert others can be beneficial to drawing the attention and assistance that is needed.

 

Use Your Contact Resources

We are fortunate to live in an age where there are numerous methods available to contact help. Cell phones are becoming more popular with seniors and may be kept in a pocket rather than attached to a wire on top of a kitchen counter that can’t be reached when lying hurt on the floor. Other simple alert services such as Life Alert can provide emergency response to you at the touch of a button, worn on a bracelet or necklace. Buttons signaling for help can also be placed on walls or cabinets to contact security organizations. These services are useful when a senior is too disoriented from a fall or injury to talk in detail with an emergency responder about the situation or list an address to 9-11.

 

Notify Your Doctor and Your Family

When a fall happens, even if it was not an especially hazardous one, it is a good idea to alert your doctor and family about the situation. Doctors may be able to provide some advice or have a perspective about the possible affects of the fall that you may not have considered. Family members may be available to assist you in selecting the precautions needed to take the needed extra steps to prevent other falls in the future, as well as providing the support and comfort that you may need after the traumatic event. Aging and having one’s body becoming more vulnerable may be a frustrating and potentially embarrassing development, but it is important to accept where your body is at physically and come to terms with the reality of what needs to be done to preserve and protect your physical health properly.  Learn what to do if you fall for the peace of mind for yourself and those who love you.