Falls are a common occurrence for many seniors and can be frightening. If an injury has occurred always call 911. Emergency services can also assist in getting the person who has fallen safely back on their feet if you are physically incapable.
However, if there is no injury and it seems safe to get the person back on their feet, the concern is how to do it both safely for them and safely for the person assisting. The last thing you want is to hurt your own back getting someone up off the floor! Here we are going to give tips on how to get yourself back up if you are on your own AND how caretakers can get their patients back up safely.
How to Get Back Up After You Have Fallen:
- Stay calm and take a few breaths.
- Evaluate yourself to see if there are any injuries.
- If you find that you are injured or unable to get up, try to alert someone to your predicament. While you’re waiting for help, try to keep warm and stay calm.
- If you are confident you haven’t broken any bones or experienced a serious injury, search for the nearest piece of sturdy furniture. (A chair would be ideal.)
- Slowly roll onto your side and then work to get onto your hands and knees.
- Crawl or drag yourself over to the piece of furniture.
- Get into a kneeling position and place your hands on a stable part of the piece of furniture (e.g., the seat of the chair).
- Choose your strongest leg and move that knee forward to place your foot on the floor. You should end up in a kneeling lunge with your hands still on the piece of furniture for support.
- Using your arms and legs simultaneously, push yourself up and pivot around until you’re sitting on the piece of furniture.
- Stay sitting until you’re confident you can move around without hurting yourself or falling again.
- Once you are up, notify your doctor that you’ve had a fall and keep an eye out for emerging pain or signs of injury.
Tips for Picking Up a Senior Who has Fallen:
- Stay calm and help your loved one to remain calm by encouraging them to take slow, deep breaths.
- Examine them for injuries like bruises, bleeding, possible sprains and broken bones.
- Ask them if they are experiencing any pain, where it is located and how severe it is.
- If they have a serious injury (e.g., a broken bone) then don’t move them. Call 911 and keep your loved one as warm, comfortable and still as possible until help arrives.
- If they aren’t badly hurt and they want to get up, proceed slowly. Stop at any point if they become stuck, experience pain or become too tired to get all the way up.
- Find two sturdy chairs. Place one next to the senior’s head and the other down by their feet. Keep in mind that your loved one needs to be capable of doing the physical work required to get up. Your role is to help guide them through these steps and keep them steady, not lift their weight. If they cannot do this, then call 911.
- Help your loved one roll over onto their side and assist them in getting onto their hands and knees. If they suffer from sore knees, place a towel beneath them to make this step more comfortable.
- Move the chair closest to their head directly in front of where they are so that they can place their hands evenly on the seat and assume a kneeling position.
- Ask the senior to lean forward on the seat as they bring their strongest leg forward, leading with the knee to place their foot flat on the floor. The senior should look like they are in a kneeling lunge at the end of this step.
- Move the second chair directly behind your loved one, then ask them to use both their arms and legs to push themselves up and sit back into the chair. You can use your hands to keep your loved one steady but keep your back upright and make sure they are doing the physical work to lift themselves.
- Keep the senior seated until you’re confident that they can stand and continue moving around without hurting themselves or falling again.
- Immediately notify their doctor that they’ve had a fall and keep an eye out for emerging pain and signs of injury.