Falls and seniors. Falls and seniors. Falls and seniors. You have heard stories about the dangers on every medical TV show and have seen advertisements selling alert buttons. You probably know the statistics: Falls result in more than 2.5 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 734,000 hospitalizations, according to the National Council on Aging.
As a result, you have decluttered rooms, added brighter light bulbs, purchased non-skid mats, had your eyes checked and medicines reviewed. However, as they say, accidents happen: you or your loved one has fallen. Maybe your kitty tripped you or your loved one or maybe one of you rose too quickly from the couch. The specific reason does not matter in the moment after a tumble. What matters is what you do when that happens.
NIH Senior Health has six easy steps to recover after a fall:
- Remain still. Give yourself a chance to catch your breath and overcome the shock.
- Assess your body. Check if you feel any pain or have injuries. If you have no pain or injuries, you can move to the next step. If you are hurt, ask someone in the home for help, call 911 or activate your alert button if you have one.
- Roll to your side. You should only do this if you are not hurt and feel you can safely get up.
- Get on your hands and knees. Move into a crawling position and go to a sturdy chair.
- Place your hands on the seat and bend one knee. From this position, use your arms and leg to rise slowly.
- Turn your body. Position your body so your behind is aimed at the chair and sit down.
If you or your loved one feels any discomfort, ask for help or call emergency services. Even if you or your loved feels fine, always tell your physician about the fall. After making sure no bones are broken, check for damaged emotions. Is there fear of falling again?
In an article for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Julie Loebach Wetherell, PhD, explained seniors fear falling more than theft, financial stress or medical problems. She shared the results of a recent scientific study, which found 56 percent of seniors with high levels of fear fell again in the next year, while 37 percent of those without fear experienced another fall. Thus, fear of falling increases the likelihood of actually falling. In addition, that fear can stop you or your loved one from being active and enjoying life.
If you or your loved one feels nervous after a recent tumble, call ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care today. We offer free fall prevention assessments. We also can identify trip hazards and make suggestions to improve safety in your home. Our trained caregivers can provide in-home care such as companionship and transfer assistance to help prevent falls at home.