Note: If your loved one has just fallen and can’t get up, is bleeding, lethargic, or you feel they have injured themselves, please call 911 and have a paramedic come and take them to the hospital. Do not attempt to pick them up yourself as you may accidentally cause further harm.
Falls are a major cause of injury in older adults. In fact, one in four adults over the age of 65 falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in this age group. (Source) There are several reasons why falling is such a big risk for elderly adults. In this article, we’ll touch on why elderly adults are more likely to fall, why those falls more frequently lead to injury, and what to do immediately after a fall. Let’s dive in.
Why are elderly adults more likely to fall?
Slips, trips, and falls are common accidents that can happen to anyone. However, elderly adults are more susceptible to injury after a fall for several reasons. As we age, our bones become more fragile and our muscles weaker, making us more susceptible to injury. In addition, they often have poorer balance and coordination, which increases the risk of falling in the first place. Additionally, many seniors take medications that can cause dizziness or impaired balance, further increasing their fall risk. And finally, many older adults live alone and may not have someone to help them if they do fall. While slips, trips, and falls are often minor accidents, they can be serious for elderly adults. If you’re providing care to a loved one who has just fallen or want to know what to do in the event of such an emergency, just keep reading.
What to do immediately after a fall
REMINDER: If your loved one has just fallen and can’t get up, is bleeding, lethargic, or you feel they have injured themselves, please call 911 and have a paramedic come and take them to the hospital. Do not attempt to pick them up yourself as you may accidentally cause further harm.
If the elderly adult in your care falls, there are a few things you should do immediately. Here are the three most important:
- Check to see if they are injured. If they are bleeding or in pain, call 911 immediately. While waiting for the ambulance, keep them warm, comfortable, and still to avoid worsening the injury. If they are not injured, help them to a comfortable sitting or lying position and stay with them until they feel better.
- Try to figure out why they fell. If they tripped on something, move it out of the way so they don’t fall again. If they are dizzy or lightheaded, have them lie down and elevate their feet. You can also discuss with their doctor if you feel a medication has contributed to feelings of dizziness.
- Make sure they stay hydrated. Offer them a snack or drink if they need it while they rest, slow their heart rate, and clear their heads.
- Stay calm. It can be worrisome and terrifying when your loved one falls, but it’s important to keep a level head so you make the right judgment calls and keep them as relaxed as possible.
Falls can be scary, but by following these steps you can help to ensure that the elderly adult in your care stays safe.
How to prevent another fall in the future
Once you’ve taken care of the immediate issues, it’s time to consider what caused the fall and how to prevent it from happening again. Here are a few tips to prevent falls:
- Make sure that your loved one’s home is free of clutter and obstacles that could cause them to trip.
- Ensure that all floor surfaces are clean and dry – mopping up any spills right away.
- Provide plenty of light throughout the home so that your loved one can see clearly where they’re walking.
- Encourage your loved one to wear comfortable shoes with good traction – this will help reduce the risk of slipping.
By taking these precautions, you can help create a safe environment for your elderly loved one and give yourself peace of mind. For additional tips, click here for our full article on preventing slips, trips, and falls.
No one likes to think about the possibility of their elderly loved ones slipping, tripping, and falling. However, it’s an important issue to be aware of, especially if you’re providing care for an elderly family member.
If you’re providing care to a loved one, we invite you to check out our free resources. To get more information about the resources we have available to you as a California caregiver, contact us at the California Caregiver Resource Center nearest to you or join CareNav for free today.
Further Reading: Getting Paid to Provide Care for a Loved One
If you are a caregiver, we recommend you check out our article about getting paid to be a caregiver in California next. Becoming a caregiver is both physically and mentally difficult, and expensive. The state of California offers several paths for least partial compensation or subsidized assistance, so click here to learn more about how to get paid to be a caregiver.Share this post: