Each year, one out of every three seniors suffers from a fall. A fall can pose a serious health risk for those who are age 65 or older, and this risk rises with age. In fact, more than 1.6 million older adults visit an emergency room each year in the United States for injuries suffered in a fall.
According to the National Institutes of Health, falls are the leading cause of injuries and injury-related hospital admissions in seniors. Getting up from a fall safely is an important skill for all seniors to be familiar with:
- Stay as calm as possible. While you may be frightened and upset, remaining calm is paramount. Take deep breaths, and remain still for a few minutes. This will help you to relax.
- Determine if you are hurt. Check for bleeding, and look at your arms and legs carefully. If you hit your head or believe you may have fractured one of your limbs, do not attempt to get up on your own. This could make the injury worse.
- Decide if you are capable of getting up from a fall. If not, call 911 or use a medical alert device to contact help. If you cannot reach a phone, call out for help, find a comfortable position, and wait for help to arrive.
- If you don’t believe you have any serious injuries, roll over gently onto your side. Once there, rest again for a moment. This will allow your blood pressure and heart rate to slow.
- Roll onto your hands and knees, and crawl to a chair or similar sturdy surface.
- Put your hands on the seat of the chair, and pull yourself up on your knees.
- Move one foot so that it is flat on the floor. Use the leverage of the chair and this foot to pull yourself up.
- Carefully turn until you are sitting in the chair. From there, rest until you have recovered.
- Make note of the fall, and discuss it with your doctor. The doctor will be able to decide if it was caused by a medical issue that should be addressed. By discussing every fall with a medical professional, you can work together to help reduce your number of falls in the future.
Because falls are a leading cause of injuries and loss of independence among those age 65 and older, it is important to know how to recover if you do fall. Being prepared and knowing the method of getting up from a fall safely will help you remain calm if you do fall, and staying calm is an important first step in recovery.