What To Do If An Elderly Relative In Your Care Falls

If you're caring for an elderly parent or grandparent, there is a good chance that at some time or another, they will fall while trying to walk to stand. Falls in elderly individuals are quite common, and while many make it through with just a bump or bruise, others suffer serious injuries like hip and rib fractures when they fall. Thus, it is important that you are prepared for this scenario and know what to do if an elderly relative in your care takes a tumble.

Assess the severity of the situation.

Visibly assess the state of the elderly person. Are they crying out in pain? Do any of their limbs appear to be dislocated or badly injured? In either of these cases, the first thing you should do is call 911. While the phone call is connecting, get down on the floor and soothe your relative verbally. Do not move him or her -- you may make the injury worse.

If your elderly relative appears to be okay, ask them how they feel. Do they feel pain in severe pain in any specific place? Are they unable to move one of their limbs?  If so, have them stay in place while you call 911. If there is any chance your loved one has more than a bump or bruise, it's best not to move them.

If your relative has only minor pain, can move all of their limbs, and seems to be okay, proceed with the next steps in this article.

Help him or her get up.

Have your loved one hold onto your forearms so that he or she can easily get up off the floor. Once they are standing, move them to a comfortable couch or chair. If the pain becomes unbearable when he or she attempts to stand, have them sit back down and call 911.

Offer ice and pain relievers.

If a specific area seems to be bumped or bruised, prepare a cold pack and let your elderly relative hold it against the sore area. You can also give him or her a dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever to help with generalized soreness.

Head to an urgent care facility.

After your elderly relative has had a few minutes to relax and recover from the mental trauma associated with the fall, it is important to bring him or her to a nearby urgent care facility. Even if your loved one feels fine, it's best that he or she is checked over to ensure any underlying injuries are detected before they cause any complications.

The urgent care team will likely flex your loved one's joints and may take a few x-rays. If injuries are detected, they will be treated accordingly. Otherwise, your loved one will be cleared to go home. Make sure he or she gets plenty of rest and does not move about too much in the days following the fall -- the generalized soreness and bruising will heal within a week or so.