Tips on What to Do When You Fall

How many times have you seen the TV commercial about an older person falling at home and saying:  “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Maybe this has happened to you, or to a loved one, friend or neighbor.  These commercials then continue to inform you about available medical fall alert systems.  But, has anyone ever talked to you about how to get up after you have fallen?

You know, all of us have experienced a fall in the past and all of us will fall again.  While I’ve shared with you in previous messages that falls can be a marker for an underlying medical condition, they can also simply occur as an accident.  We know that accidents happen.  We work together to do all that we can to reduce the risks of falling,  but at the same time, want to plan for and be prepared to manage a fall, get up after a fall, to the best of our ability reduce the complications sustained from a fall.  Your Harmony Team is dedicated to help you be better prepared for dealing with a fall when it occurs and not to be afraid.    

A few resources exist to help you plan and prepare for a fall, recover from a fall and call for help, so that you can reduce the resulting severity of injury and make sure you can be rescued in a timely manner.

AARP made available an online resource titled:  The Art of Falling Safely  by Michael Zimmerman,  Nov. 28, 2017,  located here.  He introduces Ms. Marciogliano, a professional stuntwoman, who was expert at falling.  She recommends to “be smooth, don’t panic and stay loose”,  and a four-point plan for a “safe crash landing” for hitting the ground and reducing the severity of trauma: 

  • Stay bent – fall with bent elbows and knees to soften the impact;  never reach out with locked/rigid  arms that can result more injury serious injuries, such as a broken wrist or elbow.  
  • Protect your head – by turning your face if you are falling forward or tuck your chin if falling backward, to reduce the trauma to your head
  • Land on the meat –   falling on the “meaty” parts of your body,  such a muscles  rather than bone,  results in less fractures
  • Keep falling – rolling with your fall helps to spread the impact across a larger part of your body

DailyCaring, founded to support family caregivers who care for loved ones 5 years of age and older, provide online solutions for day-to-day challenges and advice for how to plan for the future.  This is one site that has an educational video on steps to safety get up after a fall,  located here. This informational video, in  just a few minutes, teaches you safe techniques and steps for getting up after a fall when you are not injured (such as rolling onto your side if not injured, getting to your hands and knees, crawling to a stable chair, and safely getting up and sitting on your chair),  followed by key steps to call for help when you should not get up because you are injured (such as calling for help,  getting a blanket to keep yourself warm if possible).   Of importance is to have one phone you can reach from the floor, so that  you can reach phone to call for help if all you can do is crawl.  

Griswold Home Care has another educational resource available to you.  Their online resource located here provides instructions on how to fall safely, how to get up from a fall, and also how another person should help an elderly person get up after a fall.  They emphasize how important it is to exercise caution, because by moving someone incorrectly, more damage can occur that already experienced by the fall. 

I hope this information is helpful to you by helping you to plan and be prepared when you experience a fall, safety recover, and call for help if needed.  Always remember to tell your primary care provider know that you experienced a fall – don’t keep it a secret.  

Stay strong, active, and connected with your healthcare team.  We are dedicated to improving your health, function, and safety together.

Your Harmony Team is here to help you!  

Thank you for reading this message and in advance for sharing with others.

08/01/20

Resources:

AARP.  (2017,  Nov. 28). The Art of Falling Safety.    Available: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/how-to-fall-safely.html

Accessed July 31, 2020 

DailyCaring.  How to get up from a fall:  Step-by-step guide for seniors.    Available:  https://dailycaring.com/video-how-to-safely-get-up-after-a-fall/

Accessed July  31, 2020

Gumaer, D. (2019, Aug. 20).   How Can an Older Person Get up off the Floor after a Fall? Griswold Home Care.  https://www.griswoldhomecare.com/blog/older-person-get-off-floor-after-fall/

Accessed Aug. 1, 2020

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