As people age, the fear of injuring yourself in a fall becomes more and more real. Mobility declines, the body becomes more fragile, and the possibility of slipping or tripping and injuring yourself increases significantly. If this happened to you and you were home alone, what would you do? This article will give you tips to ensure that you can get out of that situation and get help as soon as possible.
Step 1: Getting Off the Floor
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to get off the floor. Look around you for anything that can help you rise safely. A chair, couch, or bed will likely be your best bet. If you can, roll onto your stomach and ease yourself on to your hands and knees. Crawl to the nearest piece of furniture and kneel in front of it with both hands on the seat; you can also place your elbows on the seat instead if needed.
Bend the knee of your strongest leg and draw it in towards your chest so that you can place your foot flat on the floor. Push with your hands or arms on the seat of the chair (or other furniture) while using your planted foot to leverage yourself up. At this point, you can try to rise to your feet, or you can try to seat yourself on the furniture if you don’t yet feel able to stand.
Please note that you should only try to get yourself up off the floor if you have not sustained any severe injuries from your fall. If you feel any severe pain in your back, hip, or any other part of your body, don’t try to stand.
Step 2: Getting Someone’s Attention
Even if you’ve managed to get yourself to your feet and don’t believe that you’ve sustained a severe injury, it’s a good idea to get help anyways. If you have been injured and can’t get up, getting someone’s attention is of the utmost importance and should be your primary focus. Here are some ideas for getting help:
- Crawl or scoot to a door or window nearby. Open the window or door if you can so people can see or hear you more quickly as you move on to the next step.
- Yell and bang as loudly as you can to get people’s attention. Use your shoe, the remote control, or any other nearby items you can reach to make the banging louder and more noticeable.
- Pay attention to anyone nearby. Do you know when your postman comes? Listen for their approach and bang and scream as loudly as you can. Did you hear your neighbors pull in? Get in front of a window and do everything you can to get their attention. Can you listen to people in the apartment below you? Beat on the floor until they come upstairs to see what all the noise is about.
- Invest in noise-making items. If you’re concerned about a fall, invest in things like small whistles that can help you raise a ruckus if you fall and can’t get back up. You can make a habit of keeping one on you or keep one in each room for emergencies.
- Reach out any way you can. All of the above suggestions are assuming, of course, that you can’t reach a phone. But phones aren’t the only ways to reach out to people. Perhaps you can’t reach a phone, but your laptop is nearby. Send someone a message or post on Facebook that you need help. Send an email to a family member or neighbor. Reach out to anyone in any way that you can.
Step 3: Keep Yourself Safe
Finally, keep yourself safe and healthy while you wait for help to arrive. Try to pull yourself to a source of water to stay hydrated and keep yourself warm. Change positions as much as you can so you don’t develop sores.
If you ever fall, follow the steps above to get help. But remember, it’s best to prevent falls in the first place by making accessibility improvements to your home, like installing walk-in bathtubs and stairlifts.