Fall Prevention in the Elderly

falls in the elderly
Karma Academy

The number one tool to prevent elderly people from falling over is to use a shift belt. When an elderly person is falling down, the carer's instinct is to hold onto their arm from the side. However, this is dangerous as it puts the carer at risk of falling down with the elderly person, or even on top of them.

demo of how to use a shift belt to help elderly

Above is a demonstration of how useful a shift belt can be to keep elderly people stable when walking and to prevent falls as well as helping the caregiver to feel safe and secure.

How to Help an Elderly Person Stand Up From a Seated Position

Firstly, have the elderly person sitting on the edge of a chair with a walker in front of them. Make sure the elderly person has their feet under the chair, so the angle behind the knees is less than 90°. From here, it is instinctive to lift the person under the arms upwards.

Attempting to lift the elderly person under their arms risks hurting both the elderly person and the caregiver. Instead, with the aid of a shift belt, the caregiver can use gravity to their advantage and guide the user forwards towards the walker instead of straight up. From here the elderly user can put their weight on the walker and stand.

There are different types of walkers available, depending on the distance the user can walk and their ability to balance.  These are just the first steps to getting the elderly from lying in bed to walking around and being social once again. The next step is to safely and effectively get a user sitting up in bed with little effort from the caregiver.

What to do When an Elderly Person Falls?

Once you’re sure that the elderly person hasn’t sustained any serious injuries from the fall, there are two methods that a carer can do that are very simple. First is to use a chair;

helping elderly stand up using a chair
  1. Ensure the elderly person is not injured.
  2. Help them sit up, on the ground.
  3. Have the elderly put both hands on the chair for support.
  4. Use the shift belt to help them into the kneeling position.
  5. Bring the stronger leg up and push off the ground with the hands on the chair for extra support. All the time holding onto the shift belt for extra support.

What to do When an Elderly Person Falls with No Chair Available?

  1. Ensure the elderly person is not injured.
  2. Help them sit up, on the ground with their feet in front of them.
  3. Cross the elderly’s arms in front of them. The caregiver should secure their arms under the elderly’s shoulders.
  4. The carer should bring their dominant leg forwards and roll the elderly forward, and then up into the standing position.
lock the caregivers arms under the elderly's arms
How to help elderly stand from the floor

All short videos in this post are supplied by Karma Medical and are available here: Karma Academy