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.
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.
How to get up from the floor (after a fall) - MacGyver style!
Watch a Homeability therapist demonstrate both traditional & unconventional ways to get up from the floor after a fall.
Click here to watch this video
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