Falls are one of the most common causes of injury in elderly people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, older Americans experience nearly 30 million falls each year. There are definitely precautions that you can take to reduce the risks of falling around the house, but chances are there your elderly relative will still have a fall.
If you or someone else, like a family member of senior care aide, do witness their fall, there are five precautions to take.
- Don’t get them up right away. Although it will be hard to resist, you need to take several steps before considering moving someone that has fallen. In some cases, moving a fallen senior can actually make injuries worse than if they had stayed in place.
- Always check for injuries. Tell your elderly loved one that you are going to check for injuries. Help them relax and take a few deep breaths while you look and feel for any swelling, skin discoloration, broken bones and cuts. Apply basic first aid to any areas you can. If the injuries are serious, call for emergency services.
- If they are unconscious and/or unresponsive, call for medical help. Sometimes a fall can leave an elderly person unconscious and that can be a sign of head trauma. Contact emergency services and remember not to move them. Check their pulse and respiration, and stay with them until help arrives.
- If they are conscious, assess the situation. Sometimes elderly people can get lucky enough to fall without causing too much harm to their body. If you can’t find any obvious injuries, make sure to ask them if they feel any pain or discomfort and follow through on it. If they seem to be shaken but unharmed, wait until they are ready to get up off the floor.
- Help them up properly. To help an elderly person up off the floor, place a chair near their head. Have them roll to the side and support them in getting to their knees, leaning on the front of the chair. Using that support, help them get to their feet and sit down immediately. Allow them to rest as long as needed before getting to their feet.
Even if it doesn’t seem like your elderly relative suffered any injuries in the fall, you must keep an eye on them. Sometimes things don’t manifest right away, so watch out for bruising, swelling, dizziness, confusion, and other signs of injury in the coming days. It’s always a good idea to follow up any elderly person’s fall with a visit to the doctor, just to be sure that they are fine.
Whoever is with your elderly loved one during the day or night, like a family member, senior care assistant, or friend, should be aware of what to do when they fall so they can respond quickly and correctly.
If you or someone you know needs senior care in St. Cloud, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.