I've fallen. Now how do I get up?
We are all familiar with the phrase: "Help I've fallen and I can't get up". This article is about how to get up after a fall.
Falls are a big problem
Falls are a major problem for seniors who want to “Age in Place”. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for a senior to fall and be unable to get up afterwards due to a variety of underlying physical problems - even if no serious injury was sustained during the fall.
As an Occupational Therapist, who has worked in the healthcare industry for 14 years, I have heard countless stories from people who have been trapped on the floor for hours or even days before a family member or friend found them. The longer the time a person spends on the floor, the less likely they will be able to return to living independently.
While lots is written about calling emergency services, I thought it would be helpful to focus instead on simple techniques to help yourself. This article is about "how to get up".
Lots about prevention. But what to do if you fall?
There is a great deal of information currently available regarding ‘fall prevention’ strategies (E.g. remove throw rugs, increase lighting, add grab bars), but there is very little information out there on the topic of ‘fall recovery’.
People seeking solutions for how to get up after a fall are usually taught a 'basic fall recovery technique' or informed that there are a few equipment options available for purchase. Unfortunately many people can’t perform the basic fall recovery technique and most people feel the equipment designed for fall recovery is too expensive - and the truth is that even if they did own it, it is unlikely it would be sitting immediately beside where the fall occurs.
Now you might be wondering why doesn’t everyone just use a life alert system. The answer is that many people can’t afford the monthly payments for the service and the reality is that a high number of people won’t purchase a life alert system until after at least one fall has already happened.
How to get up if you fall: suggested techniques
I had a small epiphany while sitting in my living room a few weeks ago and realized there are actually many things that people can do to successfully get up from the floor. I made a short video showing these ideas. In under 10 minutes it shows 10 different fall recovery techniques. Now, obviously each person watching it will have different strengths and weaknesses so all of the techniques won't work for everyone, but the most important thing people will come away with is how to creatively 'think outside the box" to better ensure they will find a way to get up (or get help) in minutes.
We hope that you can use these ideas and techniques, so that if you are unlucky enough to find yourself thinking "help I've fallen and I can't get up", you will now know what to do and think instead "It's OK. I know how to get up!"
Please tell others about these ideas
I believe for seniors, and all individuals who have balance problems, that being aware of what to do if a fall occurs is equally as important as being aware of what to do in the event of an earthquake or fire. I hope this short, simple video will find its way into the hands of more neighbors, friends and family members that it will help.
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More Insights on Falls.
This article is part of our series on Curated Insights on Falls. For our Curated Insights series, the Longevity Explorer team of Citizen Analysts is searching the Internet for the best available answers to what they see as "the critical questions on falls to which seniors seek answers."
Medical Alert Systems: Guide
And for those readers who do want help and advice navigating the selection of medical alert systems, we have been doing a lot of research in that field, and have developed a guide that helps people choose the best medical alert system for their specific life circumstance.
Checklist: Fall Proofing the Home
We have an article about Fall-proofing the home of an older adult, and it has a handy checklist. You can read it online (or download a paper copy) here.