With age often comes decreased agility and steadiness, which can increase the likelihood of a fall, and older bodies have more difficulty healing from injuries, meaning falls are a serious concern for many seniors. However, knowing how to react after a fall is important for families who are providing in-home care Warren seniors can rely on.
Don’t Move Your Loved One Right Away
While instinctually we want to help someone who has fallen get to his or her feet, depending on the nature of your loved one’s fall and possible injuries, this may not be a good idea. Spine or neck injuries, for instance, can be made worse from movement. Until you have determined what injuries may have occurred, try getting down on the floor and offering your loved one comfort and care at his or her level.
If your loved one is conscious and able to speak, encourage him or her to communicate with you. Find out if any part of his or her body is in pain and how severe the pain is. For instance, general soreness after a fall may be nothing serious, but sharp pain can be a sign of a fracture, dislocation, or other serious injury. After your loved one tells you what is hurting, look at the body part and assess the injury as best you can. If your loved one is unconscious, call 911 immediately before doing anything else, then check for breathing. Perform CPR if necessary and try to control any bleeding.
Sometimes a senior will be emotionally shaken from a fall. If your loved one is crying or upset, offer comfort and reassurance before you try to move him or her. This may help alleviate emotional duress. While sitting on the floor, hold your loved one’s hand and encourage him or her to explain what happened. Make sure your loved one knows you want to understand his or her feelings about the fall. Seniors can often feel demoralized, frustrated, or sad about falling. Showing your loved one you understand these negative feelings can help him or her process them and move on positively.
Decide If You Should Help Your Loved One Get Up
Once you have calmed your loved one down and assessed his or her injuries, you should decide together if it is a good idea to have him or her get up. Ask your loved one if he or she feels well enough to stand. Be sure to take him or her seriously if the answer is no. If your loved one does feel capable of standing and there are no symptoms of a nerve injury such as tingling, numbness, or paralysis, bring a chair for him or her to use. Next, help your loved one roll onto his or her side and then onto the knees, supporting the upper body by having him or her hold onto the chair. Hold onto your loved one’s hips and encourage him or her to move one leg forward first and stand up while holding onto the chair. Finally, help your loved one sit on the chair and rest.
Provide First Aid and Get Your Loved One Examined
If it is safe to move your loved one, you can do so before applying first aid so he or she can be more comfortable. Providing first aid may include stanching bleeding, disinfecting small cuts, putting on bandages, and offering over-the-counter pain medicines for soreness. After giving first aid, it is still a good idea to have your loved one checked out by a medical professional since injuries are not always obvious. Hairline fractures, for instance, may present as mere soreness and might not be discovered without an exam, so make going to the doctor or an urgent care clinic a priority as soon after the fall as possible.
When a senior loved one falls, it can be frightening, especially if you are unsure of how badly he or she has been injured. This makes preventing falls from occurring an important consideration. If your loved one faces daily mobility challenges that put him or her at risk of falling, a Warren live-in home caregiver can help keep him or her safe. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers are trained to assist seniors with mobility as well as a wide variety of daily tasks. We also offer hourly care for seniors who require less extensive care. For more information, call one of our Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.