Preventing Falls at Home
Getting back on your feet after a fall
by Stuart Mapes
Falls can be scary, especially when you’re home alone. The most important first step, though, is to relax.
Before struggling to stand, try to remember and follow these tips:
- Stay right where you are and take a deep breath. Decide what hurts and what you might have injured.
- Decide whether you can call for help without getting up. Is there a phone in reach, or do you have an alert button?
- If you don’t think you have suffered a break, you may try to get up. Crawl on your hands and knees, or army-crawl with you forearms and legs to a stable chair.
- Put your hands on the chair. Before moving any further, make sure you are not dizzy or disoriented, but balanced and stable.
- Slowly get up on your knees, and then kneel with one foot on the ground. Push yourself up, turn, and sit in the chair.
- Stay seated for a few minutes.
- Tell your physician about your fall immediately. Not all injuries hurt right away; even if you don’t feel pain anywhere, it is a good idea to report the fall to a doctor.
It also won’t hurt to take a few precautions as well:
- Roll up your throw rugs—they can be slippery and hazardous.
- Use nonskid tape to secure larger rugs.
- Have a light but sturdy step stool in your home for when you need something from a high shelf.
- Keep your home well lit, especially when you move around from room to room.
- Set up your phone so that you can reach it from the floor, maybe on a low end table.
- Write down emergency phone numbers as well an emergency contact number—a neighbor or an attendant if you live in an assisted living community—and place the list by your phone.