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What to do if an older person falls?

As we age, we become far more likely to fall due to weaker muscles and poorer balance. Older adults are much more vulnerable to falls, and even more so if they have a health condition. Approximately 1 out 3 of adults over the age of 65 staying at home experience at least one fall a year. To make things worse, around half of these will fall more frequently after the first fall.

Old man falling down
Older adults are at higher risk of fall. What can you do to help if you are in the scene?

Most falls won’t result in serious injury. However, when the person is older, their bones are much more prone to fracture. Falling can also seriously affect their confidence and make them feel like they are losing their independence. Repeated falls may lead to fear of movement and inactivity.

In this article we will highlight some useful advices on how to help if you see an elderly person fall.

Do not try to get the person up immediately

It’s important to check for injuries first. Calm the person by asking them to take some deep breaths. They might still be in shock after the fall, so ease the anxiety by instructing them to breathe in through the nose and out from the mouth. While they are doing this, you can check them over for skin discoloration, swelling, or other sign of severe injury.

How to get the person up from the floor

If they are having problems moving or are in significant pain, call for an ambulance immediately. If there are no obvious signs of injury, then you can offer to help them to get off the floor. This needs to be done gradually and carefully. They may be more hurt than they realize and fail to get up, so be ready for this possibility.

Learn the step-by-step by watching the video below:

Following up

If you witness someone fall, try to ensure that they visit their GP, walk-in clinic, or A&E for a check over. Injuries may take a while to become obvious. Often, older adults may hide an injury or brush it off as something trivial. They may also feel embarrassed by the incident. It’s important to reassure them that their dignity and independence would be retained, even if they need some home help.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Studies have shown that physiotherapy helps significantly in the prevention of falls among elderly.


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