Seniors can live a happy and independent life, but it makes things much easier when there’s someone to take care of them. Older people can have chronic problems in their joints and bones that move and doing day-to-day activities more challenging. While most of those conditions can be controlled with proper medication and aid, now and then, it can happen for an elderly person to lose control and fall.
Falls are frequent. As one study found, one-third of 65 years old people or older fall every year. The same study also looked into the mortality rate following the fall, meaning it’s critical for someone to be there for them and assist them as they’re trying to lift themselves.
If you are in presence of a person who lost control and ended up falling or received a phone call with your loved elderly person pleading for help, it’s important to stay collected and not panic, but think strategically on what’s the easiest way to help them out.
If you’re collected you’ll be able to have a clearer perception of what happened and how urgent was the call. Of course, every phone call with a senior asking for help up can be frantic. But, there’s a clear difference between falling because an elderly person tripped over, or lost balance, and falling due to underlying heart attack and stroke symptoms.
Asking questions to the elderly person to help them have a better assessment of the situation can both help you calm down and allow the elderly person to collect themselves and think of a possible solution to the problem.
They may even be self-aware enough to reach out for their walking aid and use it as a balance to get up or even try to crawl or somehow else move to the sofa or chair and try to use them to stand up. Still, if they’re unable to help themselves, and it’s hard to calm them down, you should see to call the person nearby who can help or take yourself to the location where the person is.
If the person fell outside, it can be more difficult as there’s more risk of hurting themselves due to stairs, concrete flooring, and others. Some fewer persons could come in aid, and if confused or disoriented the senior may have difficulties explaining to you where they’re located.
That being said, discuss the location of where that person is, and if you’re able to get to them as soon as possible so that you can aid them in getting up. In this article, we’ve prepared a thorough guide that will help you access the elderly person and help them get up on their feet without injuring them or making their already-existing injury worse.
How To Lift The Elderly Off The Floor – Steps
Now that we told you to calm down before you have an assessment of the situation, it’s time to get to the “crime scene” and help your beloved senior up. We wrote the detailed guide, with some additional tips that will help you have an easier time.
If you’re struggling with visualization, we also researched some helpful videos that will thoroughly instruct you to help a senior in distress.
First Look For Injuries
Okay, helping the older person get up via the phone didn’t work out. You came to their place and want to help them in person.
However, it’s not that easy. An elderly person cannot get up if they got injured. If there are injures such as a bone fracture or even worse, a hip fracture, you should first communicate with them about the pain feeling and check them for any potential injuries.
Falling in elderly poses a lot of risks for a hip fracture, according to a study. If you suspect that an elderly person broke their hip, contact 911, as trying to lift them alone could injure them even more.
Elderly people can also be stubborn, especially when they’re scared, which is normal after they fell. No one likes to fall. With that in mind, you should ask them if anything hurts them, they may be negligent about the pain levels they feel and how they react to it, which is why you should be patient when communicating with them to avoid all the confusion and even more serious problems like the panic attack or something worse.
It’s important for them to not get stressed but rather focus on their breathing and explaining how the fall looked like and what they’re feeling right now. They may not be able to feel the full scope of the pain if they’re under medication, have diabetes, and thus nerve damage, or simply because the fear and adrenaline are at quite hard of a level.
- If your senior refuses to communicate or rather feels confused and disoriented and is not able to communicate properly, don’t hesitate from calling 911 and asking for medical help. You’re doing your senior more harm than good by scaring them or asking them repeatedly what’s wrong when they’re unable to communicate
- Besides checking for the fractures, it’s also important to see whether they are bleeding, have neck pain, or back pain as there’s a possibility of nerve damage or even concussion.
Yes, we know, the last thing you’re thinking about right now is performing a spring cleaning of the sort, but it’s necessary to tidy up to provide a clear space for your senior to get up so that surrounding bits won’t cause another injury or cause your senior to fall again.
Your senior may have slipped on some fluid or carried a bottle or glass of water that fell spilled, and likely broke into pieces. You can’t possibly attempt to lift your senior while they’re in such condition, which is why you need to communicate with them and see to clean up the water, glass, plastic, or anything that can potentially pose the threat to your senior.
Extra tips: Don’t move your senior too abruptly. There is a chance that he or she fell on some object, or that some debris or glass is giving them pain underneath their body. Always carefully move your senior person, and if you feel like you’re struggling with that, call 911.
Use A Belt
Some people prefer to have a belt around their waist that would assist you while you’re trying to lift the elderly person. There are different types of belts but, some are more effective and sturdier than others.
If there’s no belt, you could wrap some elastic material around their waist, or even use some other piece of clothing that could make lifting more reliable.
Extra Tips: You can use a strong Gait Belt that is used for transferring patients who are hospitalized. This model comes in different sizes, so it can cater to patients of different sizes who struggle with staying balanced.
Slowly Assist Them In Getting Up
If you confirmed that your senior doesn’t have any severe injuries, especially those that are associated with to head, neck, or hips, and your senior is communicative and willing to get up if you lend them a hand, it’s time to get moving.
Firstly, it’d be best to bring a piece of furniture like a chair, or some sort of a table, if your senior doesn’t have any aiding devices that may help them get up. With that in mind, if your elderly person is prone to falling, perhaps you should try getting some sort of lifting aid, but more about that later.
One chair may not be enough, so it’s best that the elderly trying to get up will have something to rely on from both sides. They can’t lean on you, as you’ll be the one in charge of lifting them.
Remember that the chairs you’ll be using need to have good traction and not slip around. Ensure that they’re stable so they wouldn’t injure your senior even more.
Remember that this is a tedious process and it could take more time than you’re hoping to spend on lifting someone, but it’s necessary to avoid all unwanted injuries. Now that you prepared the environment, let’s get to lifting them.
- Step 1: Make sure to rise and bend the knees of the elderly person who is laying on the floor, so that once you turn them over you’ll have an easier time hoisting them up and getting them to stand up.
- Step 2: Get your senior on their side, roll them slowly, and only if they repeated with confidence that they are not injured and that they don’t experience any pain as you’re trying to flip them. Be patient and take it slow so you don’t end up injuring them in the process. Ensure that the chairs are nearby, and positioned as we mentioned.
- Step 3: Raise them to your knees by either holding on to their Gait Belt or having them push themselves upwards with their hand if they’re not injured. Make sure to be close by their side, and lower yourself too, so that you’re not pulling them too abruptly and risking an injury.
Your senior should use the chair that is on the side to grab it as soon as they feel that they are elevated from the floor and can raise their hand high enough to reach for the seat or the lean of the chair. Assist them to provide them the necessary strength to sit on their knees.
- Step 4: If you managed to get them on their knees, position the other chair close to their other side and let them rest until they are ready to try to lift themselves again. Ask them if they need something if they’re in pain, and, of course, whether they’re ready to keep going.
- Step 5: It’s time to get one of your senior’s legs forward and up from the kneeling position. Ask them to raise the leg they feel stronger within the front of them and guide them to rise it forward in front of them. While doing that, your senior should rely on both chairs with their hands and push upwards.
- Step 6: Pull your senior up, by telling them to rely on their leg that came forward, as well as their hands on each of the chairs. Use the gait belt or the piece of clothing you wrapped towards them to try to hoist them up. Remember, do not let the elderly exert themselves, but keep taking breaks to ensure they have enough strength to continue. You don’t want them to get dizzy.
- Step 7: Help your senior move, by telling them to rely on the chairs they are holding, while holding them by the belt or piece of clothing. Slowly instruct them to take their first steps while ensuring they don’t feel dizzy. Guide them towards the chair to sit or towards the sofa or bed to lay in it.
Here’s a video that we found that will help you visually comprehend how to help an elderly person stand up. Remember, don’t force it, if your senior is struggling and feels unable to stand up, call 911 and get professional help.
What If You’re Lifting A Heavier Person?
What to do when the person who fell is too heavy for you, or even too heavy to lift themselves on their own, even with your assistance. It’s important to communicate with them and use the same steps that you’ve used above.
Hoisting them up, however, could be more difficult if they outweigh you and are not as cooperative while standing up. In that case, it’d be best to roll them closer to the sofa or their bed so that they can have more balance getting lifted.
Also, you can at least help them get on all fours and crawl to their bed.
In the end, if you see that you’re both struggling, see to call 911 and either get assistance through the phone or get professionals to handle it.
Should You Try Lifting Yourself If You’re Alone?
If you are the elderly person in question and you found yourself on the floor, unable to stand up with ease, it’s important to collect your thoughts and calm down. Nervousness won’t help you, so you should be able to conclude how much pain you’re feeling and whether you’re injured or not.
From there, you should be able to help yourself, as long as you’re not injured.
Similarly like in the above steps, try looking for a chair or bed nearby and trying to hoist yourself up using them. If you fell in the middle of the room, there’s nothing much you can do, but roll on the side, and either crawl to the closest bed or sofa or roll to it.
If you feel that you’re unable to stand up, crawl up to your phone and either call a family member, friend, or 911.
Are There Lifting Aids For The Elderly And What To Use?
You would be surprised by the number of products available for the elderly to help them get up. Some of them are used for the bathroom, while some can be carried around and be of assistance to you whenever you fall. Here are some examples that we found.
- Inflatable Patient Lifter – This device is usually made out of rubber or lined-up cushions that are inflatable and will help you lift. They are powered by a battery and can handle a larger weight capacity. The best that we found is Mangar Health‘s patient lifter.
- Standing Aids – Standing aids are grip devices that allow another person to pull you up using their weight and strength. It can be used in pairs and if you fall on your back, the person trying to lift you off the floor will have an easier time pulling you up. Liberty Lift is the sturdiest we found and it can lift both lighter and heavier people.
Lastly, we spotted these ResQUp Self-Help Senior Lift stair-like aids that help people get up on their all fours and manage to get up on a chair. This option mostly useful when there’s a person who can help you get up. It’s also quite easy to store.