Falls are more common than you would think. From children to seniors, falls span all ages.
However, as a person ages, the physical challenges caused by falls tend to become more severe. A teenager slipping and falling will likely get up and walk away, probably a bit embarrassed, but relatively unharmed. This is, however, not the case when similar falls happen to seniors over the age of 65.
In Canada, the #1 cause of fatal and life-threatening injuries in seniors happens as a result of a fall. According to the CDC, one in four seniors experiences a fall at least once a year. What’s more alarming is that one in every five of those falls results in serious injury and hospitalization.
If you have a senior loved one living at home, being prepared for such an incident is of vital importance. Getting to the fallen person quickly and knowing exactly what to do after a fall can make a world of difference. So, let’s take a look at the steps you should take if a loved one has a fall.
Steps To Take Immediately After A Fall
If you witness a loved one falling your first instinct is likely to rush to help and get them back on their feet. However, when it comes to seniors you need to approach such a situation with a lot more care and caution.
Moving someone who has fallen or trying to get them back up without fully assessing the situation and possible injuries could easily worsen the situation.
If a loved one has fallen but is conscious here are the steps that you need to take:
- Stay calm and access their condition - encourage them to take deep slow breaths
- Show empathy and try to talk to them about their condition by asking them questions such as; Are you hurt? Where do you feel pain? How did you fall? Can you get back up?
- Get in touch with their primary care physician or dial 911 if needed
- If the individual wants to get up, proceed very slowly and use the help of sturdy chairs to get them in an upright or sitting position.
- If they are in pain don’t move them. Ask them to remain still until help arrives
- Stay by their side and continue to monitor and access conditions
- Carefully investigate the reason for the fall and document your findings
If you witness a loved one falling and they are unconscious and unresponsive by the time you get to them here are the steps you should follow:
- Remain calm and call 911 immediately.
- Check vital signs such as pulse, breathing, pupil dilation, and skin colouring.
- Make sure the individual remains still and check for any signs of bleeding or swelling
- Stay by their side until help arrives
Caring For A Loved One After A Fall
If you have a loved one that has recently experienced a fall, here are a few ways you can help them with their recovery both physically and mentally.
Set Up An Appointment With Their Doctor
Even if they don’t seem to have suffered any injury or harm as a result of their fall it is always advisable to take your loved one to see their doctor and can get them checked out.
Injuries are not always apparent right away. There is also the risk that underlying illnesses or side effects as a result of medication could be the culprits behind the fall. This is why it is best to get assessed by a medical professional.
Accident Proof Their Home
After a fall, the risk of falling again is increased. As such, it is essential to address as many hazards as possible to reduce the risk as much as you can.
You can do this in several ways:
- Install grab bars in washrooms
- Install railings on both sides of any stairs
- Remove any loose carpet or rugs
- Place non-skid mats in the kitchen and washroom
- Make sure their home is well-lit at all times
- Clear clutter in the way of their walking path
- Make sure they were comfortable and safe indoor footwear
Invest In Medical Alert Systems
Unfortunately, even though precautions help reduce the chances of falling, it doesn't eliminate it. Sometimes, a fall is just inevitable.
As such, the best way to ensure that your loved one remains protected and can receive help immediately is to invest in a medical alert system such as an automatic fall detection unit or a personal alert button.
These wearable devices ensure that in the event of a fall or accident your loved one is able to call out for help even if they are alone.
An automatic fall detection unit is better than a personal alert button as it will automatically detect a fall event and send out a distress call regardless of whether an individual is able to push the panic button or not.
For more information on medical alert systems and other home safety devices check out Northwood Intouch or call us at (902)-492-3346 or 1-800-461-3346 to learn more.