Getting Up From a Fall – Picking Yourself Up

Falls are an unfortunate truth for the aging adult.  While falls can lead to injury, many of them don’t, which should come as good news though.  Falling sometimes isn’t the problem though – it’s getting up from a fall! We’ve all seen the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Life Alert commercials.  They certainly brought this issue to the public eye. Life Alert and similar services are valuable for certain aging individuals. For many older adults, however, there’s a strong chance that you can get up from the ground, and it’s not as hard as you think.  

Most falls happen in the home, which means there’s a good chance that you’ll have furniture and other odds and ends around to help you out.  In these situations, there are a few things that can make getting up from a fall much easier.  

  • Find something sturdy – A couch, bed, toilet, chair, tub frame, table… each room in your house should have something that you can use.  Whatever you find, you should be able to easily place your hand on a part of it to help you up. You also want to be absolutely sure that it isn’t going to tip or fall.  
  • Be creative – This video (linked here) has several creative means to use random stuff in your house (books, speakers, etc.) to create a makeshift chair to help you up.  It’s hard to have a clear head when you’ve just fallen, so be prepared. When you know what’s in your house, it allows you to figure out how to get yourself back up.  
  • Be prepared –  Practice getting up from a fall!  Try it in different rooms. It might be pretty easy in your living room, but the bathroom might have it’s own issues.  The steps to getting up from the floor are going to depend on what’s around you, but the goal is always the same: get your bottom on a higher surface.  Here’s some tips:
    • Work your way to a half kneeling position.  This means you’ll have one knee on the ground (use pillows, blankets, or rugs for padding) and one foot on the ground.  
    • Stay close to your chair (or whatever you’re using).  You’ll usually want your leg in front to be closest to the chair.  
    • Try to get your hips up and onto the chair you’re aiming for.  Your center of mass is basically your bottom, so if you can get that onto a higher surface, the rest of you can follow.  The video referenced above has several different ways you can try to get your hips up onto a chair that don’t use the half-kneeling position.  

Falls are scary.  If you do fall, you want to make sure you know what to do.  Knowing and practicing how to get up from the floor gives you a plan, and that makes falls less of a worry.  

Have questions?  Feel limited in what you’re able to do?  The staff at Limitless Physical Therapy in Eugene, OR can show you how to discover your future without limits.  

***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice.  Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.

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