How to Get Up From a Fall: Step-by-Step Guide for Seniors

Prevent injury and fear with safe techniques to get up after a fall 

According to the CDC, more than 1 in 4 people age 65 and older fall each year. And, falling once doubles the chances of falling again.

Even worse, after an older adult falls, lying on the floor for a long time or getting up incorrectly could cause additional injury – even if they weren’t seriously injured from the fall itself.

For example, someone who isn’t able to get up or call for help may develop serious complications like dehydration, hypothermia, pneumonia, or pressure sores.

Another issue is that many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling.

This fear could cause them to avoid everyday activities. And if they’re less active, they’ll become weaker, which then increases their chances of falling.

To combat this, seniors can proactively learn safe techniques for how to get up from a fall. 

Knowing what to do if a fall does occur and practicing ahead of time will give them confidence that they’ll be able to help themselves and minimize injuries.

We share a helpful 5 minute video demonstration of safe techniques for getting up after a fall and outline the key steps to take to get up or to call for help.

 

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Safety warning: always assess injuries before moving

Seniors should only consider getting up if they’re not injured or dizzy from the fall. 

They should also feel that they have enough strength to get up on their own.

If you find that your older adult has been injured in a fall, don’t move them – that could make their injuries worse. 

Instead, call 911, keep them as warm and comfortable as possible, and wait for emergency responders to arrive.

 

Step-by-step guide for how to get up from a fall safely

This video is useful because it’s a step-by-step guide to get from lying on the floor to safely sitting in a chair.

The demonstration of how to get up from a fall starts at 1 min 35 seconds in the video. The video opens with a long introduction and a liability disclaimer.

In the demonstration, they first show how older adults can safely get up on their own. Then, they show how seniors can call for help if they’re injured and can’t get up on their own.

Important: Seniors with serious health conditions or limited mobility should always consult their doctor or physical therapist for advice on what to do in case of a fall in order to prevent further injury.

How to get up from a fall (no injuries)

  1. Stay calm and still. Don’t move for a few minutes because moving too quickly can cause more harm.
  2. Figure out if you’re injured. Slowly move hands and feet, arms and legs to check for pain.
  3. If there are no injuries, slowly roll onto your side, starting the movement with your head and moving down your body toward your feet. Take a moment to rest.
  4. Slowly push up into a crawling position and crawl slowly on hands and knees toward a sturdy chair or piece of furniture. Don’t rush and rest as needed. Place your hands on the seat of the chair, one at a time.
  5. Supporting yourself with the chair, bring your strongest leg up to a 90 degree angle by putting that foot flat on the ground. The other leg stays in kneeling position. Slowly push up to standing using both arms and legs.
  6. Slowly turn around and lower yourself onto the chair. Sit and catch your breath for a few minutes before doing anything else.

How to call for help when there are injuries

  1. Stay calm and rest for a few moments. Figure out what parts of your body are injured.
  2. If you have one, use an emergency medical alert device or mobile phone to call 911 or a family member for help. Tell them about your injuries.
  3. If there’s a pillow nearby, put it under your head. If there’s a blanket or some clothing nearby, use it to keep yourself warm while you wait for help.
  4. If you don’t have a medical alert device or a phone nearby, start yelling for help. If you can’t yell, grab something nearby and use it to bang on the floor or on nearby furniture to make noise and attract attention.

 

Next Step  See a demonstration of safe techniques for getting up after a fall or calling for help (5 min)

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Assisting Hands Home Care

 

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


9 Comments

  • Reply October 13, 2019

    Sharon

    What if you fall say on the sidewalk and there is nothing to crawl or roll to for support. How can you just use your arms and legs without holding on to anything?

    • Reply October 14, 2019

      DailyCaring

      Helping yourself up (or to a phone) after a fall is useful if you’re alone and nobody is likely to find you soon. However, if you’re out in public, it’s likely that someone would see you or that you could yell for help to get someone to come over and help or call for an ambulance in case of serious injury.

  • Reply September 3, 2019

    Patricia Nielsen

    I had both knees replaced so I can not kneel at all.How do I get up if I have ?nothing nearby to use

    • Reply September 3, 2019

      DailyCaring

      In that case, it may be safer for you to find a solution that allows you to call for help at any time, like always having a mobile phone with you or using a wearable medical alert device.

  • Reply November 16, 2018

    Jacqueline de Wet

    Thank you for your reply. However, I suffer from Dermatamyositis and the first area of one’s body which becomes disabled is the pelvic area, making even getting up out of a chair impossible. So we cannot rely on any leg support when flat on the floor. It takes a strong person to help one into a seated position by squatting. behind and pushing the person up. The helper then leans into one’s back and places his/her arms under the armpits, locking hands across the chest. The helper straightens his/her legs, hoisting one’s body up with him/her.

    • Reply November 17, 2018

      DailyCaring

      Each person has unique mobility issues, so the way that someone will be able to help you is different from how it would work best for someone else. However, it’s also very important to keep in mind that the caregiver or person providing the help needs to protect their body from injury as well.

      The method you describe may work for you and the person caring for you, but it carries a high risk of injury. The person helping you is pulling you up using their shoulders and back, putting a great deal of strain on those muscles. Also, if they happen to lose their balance in the process or don’t have enough strength to complete the movement, they could fall and/or drop you — causing additional injury.

      We’ve got a video that demonstrates safer techniques to use when helping someone move from one position to another — How to Help Seniors Get Up Without Injuring Yourself: Safe Transfer Techniques [Video] https://dailycaring.com/how-to-help-seniors-get-up-without-injuring-yourself-safe-transfer-techniques-video/

      For your specific mobility limitations, it might be best to consult with a physical therapist to find out the best ways for someone to help you if you happen to fall.

  • Reply January 6, 2018

    Eleanor Fanselau

    I saw in a catalogue for the elderly some steps that could de used to help them crawl up after a fall.

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