Posted on Mar 23, 2012 | Comments (0)
Falling is one of the greatest concerns among elderly people, and for good reason- falls are one of the leading culprits for loss of independence, serious injury, and even death among seniors. One of the primary reasons that falling is such a serious issue is because many elderly people cannot get back up on their own; as a result, they do not receive timely medical attention and face more severe injuries as well as increased hospital time. There are a series of simple steps that should be performed immediately in the event of a fall in order to reduce both the time spent on the ground and severity of injuries. First, check to see if you are hurt in any way, shape, or form. This may take a few minutes, but taking the time to check for injury is important in determining your next course of action. If you are not severely injured and can get up Work your way up so that you are resting on your elbows and take a minute to look around for a stable chair, table, or similar object with which to support yourself as you stand back up. Next, push yourself up onto your hands and knees; if necessary, crawl to the object that you are planning to use to help yourself up. When you are directly in front of the object, use it to help ease yourself to a standing position; this step requires a fairly stable surface, so it is important to choose an object such as an arm chair, bed, or a steady kitchen chair so that you do not fall back over. When you are in a standing position, slowly turn around and ease yourself into a sitting position on the object. Take another few minutes to inspect your body for injury, and also write down a description of the fall, how you were feeling before it happened, and the day and time that it occurred so that you can provide an accurate report to your caregiver. If you are severely injured and cannot get up First try to attract attention- yell, bang on a nearby object, whistle, and anything else you can think of that is likely to "cause a ruckus" and bring help running. If you carry a cell phone, pendant alarm, or can reach a regular phone, use it as soon as possible to call for help from emergency services. While you are waiting for help, try to make yourself comfortable by using a pillow or rolled up clothing as a cushion; also try to keep yourself warm by using any other clothes, towels, jackets, and the like that are within easy reach. Regardless of the amount of time that you have to wait before being helped up, it is important to move around to the best of your ability; even a small amount of movement can help to prevent pressure sores, prevent stiffness, and maintain circulation. If your bladder should "let go", roll away from the wet area as best you can- this is especially important for outside falls, as being damp for an extended period of time in cooler weather can lead to conditions such as hypothermia, pneumonia, and the like. Although the above steps are a great starting point, there is nothing better than good old fashioned practice when it comes to learning physical skills. Under the guidance of a Physical Therapist, you can not only practice getting up from a fall, but can also learn exercises and strategies to help improve your balance and reduce the risk of falling altogether.