What To Do If You Fall

Abstracted by Sheila Kun RN, BA, BSN, MS.

Accidents do happen. Do you know what to do when you fall? Let us update ourselves as to what to do if we fall down. I truly appreciate the information that we get from the NIH – Institute for Aging on this topic. 

Whether you are at home or somewhere else, a sudden fall can be startling and upsetting. If you do fall, stay as calm as possible and take the following steps:

-Breathe. Take several deep breaths to try to relax. Remain still on the floor or ground for a few moments. This will help you get over the shock of falling.

-Decide if you are hurt. Getting up too quickly or in the wrong way could make an injury worse.

-Crawl to a sturdy chair. If you think you can get up safely without help, roll over onto your side. Rest again while your body and blood pressure adjust. Slowly get up on your hands and knees, and crawl to a sturdy chair.

-Slowly sit down in the chair. Put your hands on the chair seat and slide one foot forward so that it’s flat on the floor. Keep the other leg bent so the knee is on the floor. From this kneeling position, slowly rise and turn your body to sit in the chair.

-Get help. If you are hurt or cannot get up on your own, ask someone for help or call 911. If you are alone, try to get into a comfortable position and wait for help to arrive. 

Prepare for a fall by keeping a well-charged cordless or mobile phone with you at all times and arrange for daily contact with a family member or friend. Emergency response systems are another option: These systems enable you to push a button on a special necklace or bracelet to call for help. Some smartwatches also have this feature.

Keep your bones strong to prevent fall-related fractures

Having healthy bones won’t necessarily prevent a fall, but if you do fall, healthy bones may help prevent serious injury, such as breaking a hip or other bone. Bone breaks and fractures can lead to a hospital or nursing home stay, long-term disability, or even death. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D can help keep your bones strong. So can staying active. Try to get at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity.

Other ways to maintain bone health include quitting smoking and avoiding or limiting alcohol use. Tobacco and alcohol use may decrease your bone mass and increase your chance of fractures. Additionally, try to maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight increases the risk of bone loss and broken bones.

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones, making them thin and brittle. For people with osteoporosis, even a minor fall may be dangerous. Talk to your doctor about osteoporosis.

Falls are a common reason for trips to the emergency room and for hospital stays among older adults. Many of these hospital visits are for fall-related fractures. You can help lower your risk of fractures by keeping your bones strong and following the tips above to avoid falls.

Your homework from the Care Ministry this week: 

Rehearse what you would do if you fall.

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