What to Do If an Elderly Loved-One Falls

What to Do If an Elderly Loved-One Falls

As a family caregiver, you want your loved one to be safe, healthy, and happy. When your senior loved one falls, it can be an unnerving experience, especially for the first time. According to the National Council on Aging, “One-fourth of Americans aged 65+ falls each year.” (1) If you have never dealt with someone falling before, you may be unsure about how to help them.

If your loved one has an Alert1 wireless fall alert system, you can simply press the button on their device to get help and guidance. The button will allow you to communicate with a certified emergency response agent. They can help you assess the situation and guide you in helping your loved one. If your loved one does not have an Alert1 emergency alert device for seniors, the steps below can help guide you.

1. Stay Calm

The first step in helping your loved one is to stay calm. If you panic, you won’t be able to think clearly and help them as well as you could with a clear mind. Tell yourself that you can handle the situation and then move on to the next steps to determine their needs and a plan of action.

2. Check for Injuries

Before you do anything else, you will want to check for injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “One out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.” (2) Some injuries you will want to look for include: scratches, sprains, fractures, broken bones, bleeding, and bruises. If they have any major injuries, it is likely best to call 911 or a medical professional for assistance.

While you wait for medical care to arrive, try to keep them calm and tell them to remain in place. It is also a good idea to try and keep them warm. You can use a blanket or sweater. You can also run the blanket through the dryer for a few minutes for some added warmth. Talk to them calmly. If they are panicking, try to direct the conversation to a more calming subject.

If they do not have any major injuries, move on to the next step.

3. Ask Them About Pain

Even if they do not have any visible injuries, they may have some level of pain. Be sure to ask them where it hurts, and how badly it hurts. Tell any medical professionals you deal with about their symptoms.

If your loved one is having trouble explaining their pain, consider using the pain scale. This scale rates pain 1-10 and helps medical professionals best determine how to care for patients.

4. Get Help, If Necessary

If there are no major injuries, you may still need to determine if the situation requires extra medical assistance. Based on what your loved one tells you about their pain and whether they seem capable of getting back on their feet, determine if you need to call someone else for assistance. If you are unsure, it is typically best to err on the side of caution. According to the World Health Organization, “37.3 million falls that are severe enough to require medical attention occur each year.” (3)

An Alert1 medical alert pendant is a great way to keep your loved one safe if they are aging in place and you are not around to assist them. All they must do is press a button and they will automatically be connected to an emergency response agent who can determine what kind of care they require and help get it to them. They will stay on the line with your loved one until help has arrived and contact their Circle of Care. The Circle of Care is a list of pre-chosen contacts that are registered when your loved one first purchases their Alert1 emergency medical device for seniors.

5. If They Are Not Hurt and Want to Get Up, Try to Help Them

If your loved one has not experienced any major injuries and is not in pain, you can attempt to try and help them up. It is important to note, however, that they should be able to perform most of the work themselves. You should mainly assist them by working as a tool to steady themselves. You can also get them a chair and help guide them, but you should not be lifting them. If they require lifting assistance, you should contact a trained medical professional instead.

6. Help Them into a Chair

Find something sturdy for them to lean on so they can steady themselves as they get back up. A chair is one of the best options because then they can sit and rest until they are able to get back on their feet.

Once you find a chair or something else to help them, place it near them. Then slowly guide them into the chair. You do not want them to move too fast, lose their balance, and fall again. A good way to accomplish this is to get them onto their knees first. If their knees are sore, a folded towel or blanket can help cushion them. Once they are on their knees, help guide them onto the chair.

7. Have Them Rest

Once they are in the chair, have them rest until you believe they can get on their feet and stand on their own without falling. If this task seems unreasonable, consider contacting a medical professional for assistance.

8. Visit a Doctor

After a senior fall, it is very important to see a doctor and get tested for any injuries. According to the CDC, out of all the seniors that fall each year, “less than half tell their doctor.” (4) It is important to understand that not all injuries will have physical symptoms or appear right away. Some tests you may want to ask your doctor to perform include:

  • Checking for Underlying Problems – When a senior falls, it could be from an underlying problem that has not shown any symptoms before the fall. Some of these include weakness, fatigue, bone deterioration, dehydration, and neurological disorders. Be sure to tell the doctor about any symptoms you have noticed. Your loved one should provide their input as well. This information can help your doctor pinpoint conditions to check for.
  • Blood test – A blood test can tell you a variety of aspects about your loved one’s senior health and wellness including sugar levels, sodium levels, and nutrient levels. All these aspects are connected to fall-risk. A blood test can tell you if your loved one might have diabetes, bad sodium levels or lack of important nutrients. Based on the results, you can determine the best ways to prevent another fall.
  • Blood Pressure – According to AHA Journals, “Antihypertensive medication and low systolic blood pressure and diastolic BP have been associated with an increased falls risk in some studies.” (5) Low blood pressure can cause symptoms such as dizziness and lightheadedness. These symptoms can lead to a fall. Asking your doctor to check your loved one’s blood pressure and pulse can help determine if low blood pressure could have caused the fall. Some blood pressure medications can also cause spikes and drops in blood pressure. If you are visiting a doctor that your loved one is not registered with, be sure to disclose any medications they are taking.
  • Gait Assessment – Gait refers to the way a person steps. This includes aspects such as how far they step, how quickly they step, and the way they angle their foot. A gait assessment can help determine if there are any underlying issues affecting your loved one’s gait. If you learn that your loved one has an issue with their gait, an mobile personal alarm button for the elderly can help protect them no matter where they are. If their gait causes them to fall, they can press the button to talk to an emergency response agent who can locate them with the internal GPS system. Then they will assist your loved one in getting the attention they require.
  • Head Injuries – The CDC states that, “Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.” (6) If your loved one hits their head during the fall, you should ask your doctor to perform a brain scan. If they suffer any neurological damage, it could impact their ability to think, reason, and make good decisions. It can also cause headaches and nausea.
  • Vision – One common cause of falls is vision. According to the CDC, poor vision more than doubles the risk of falling. (7) If your loved one missed a step or overlooked an obstacle in their path, be sure to get their vision evaluated. They may need glasses to see better or a stronger prescription if they already have glasses.

Once you have the results of these tests, you can look for senior health tips and services to keep your loved one healthy and reduce their risk of another fall.

9. Keep an Eye Out for Injuries

Even if the doctor does not find any underlying problems, you will still want to watch out for any strange behavior or injuries that did not develop right away. If you start noticing anything out of the ordinary, visit a doctor for another evaluation.

Another way you can help protect your loved one from injuries that don’t appear right away is with a fall prevention medical alert necklace. If injury symptoms appear and cause your loved one to fall, it will provide them with an easy way to contact someone for help. When the fall detection sensor in the pendant registers a fall, it will automatically connect your loved one with a certified emergency response agent at our 24/7 Command Center. Then your loved one can talk back and forth to the agent through the pendant so that they can get the help or medical attention they require.

Bonus Senior Fall Prevention and Senior Health Tips

Every senior reacts to a fall differently. You may need some other tips to get through certain situations.

Showing Resistance

If your loved one enjoys having independence, they may resist your help. If this is the case, you should analyze their ability to get up. Watch their movements. If they seem unstable or are struggling, politely ask them to stay where they are until you can get help.

Calming Them Down

Some seniors may panic after falling. As a good caregiver for the elderly, you will want to calm them down. Use soothing tones, choose your words carefully, talk them through the steps they need to take. If you called for medical attention, let them know that help is on the way. You can also try to direct their attention to more positive thoughts.

Fear of Falling

Some seniors develop a fear of falling after their first fall. According to Harvard Academic, “About 36.2% of all older adults said that they were moderately or very afraid of falling.” (8) If your loved one is afraid of falling, they may retreat to their favorite chair or bed and not get up as much as they did before the fall. It is important for them to go about their daily activities. If they sit too often, their muscles can weaken and lead to an increased risk of falling when they do get up again.

If you loved one has a fear of falling, a seniors fall alert button may ease their mind. By wearing the pendant, they will know that if they fall, they can easily press a button to talk to an emergency response agent. Depending on the severity of their situation, the agent will either contact their Circle of Care or a trained medical professional.

Use Home Fall Prevention Interventions

According to the CDC, “Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.” (9) Therefore, it makes sense to make fall prevention home modifications to reduce the chances of falling again. Some aging in place home modifications to consider include:

  • Installing railings and grab bars.
  • Improving lighting around your home.
  • Removing hazards that may cause seniors falls.
  • Securing carpets to the floor.
  • Move light switches near the bed or get smart technology that can turn lights on and off remotely.
  • Use brightly colored tape to mark the edges of stairs. This will help your loved one see them better.

Personal Senior Fall Prevention Strategies

In addition to home modifications, there are other personal tools that can help protect your loved one.

  • Stable Shoes – Sturdy shoes with good cushioning can help your loved one avoid foot pain and help ensure stability when walking.
  • Cane or Walker – A cane or walker can help your loved one steady themselves while walking.
  • Flashlight – Placing a flashlight near your loved one’s bed can help ensure they have light to see during a power outage.
  • Fall Prevention Exercises – Encourage your loved one to perform fall prevention exercises to strengthen their muscles and reduce their risk of falling.
  • Medical Alert Button – An Alert 1 fall prevention alarm for the elderly can provide your loved one with a convenient method of contacting someone who can help them if they need it. When they push the button, they will be able to hear and speak to an emergency response agent through their device. The agent will analyze the situation and determine who they should contact: their Circle of Care or a medical professional.

There are a variety of ways to keep your loved one safe. By using fall prevention strategies and integrations, you can help your loved one properly heal from their first fall and help reduce the risk of another fall.



1 National Council on Aging staff. July. 2021. Get the Facts on Fall Prevention. National Council on Aging. Get the Facts on Fall Prevention.

2, 4, 6, 8 Centers for Control and Disease Prevention staff. n.d. Home and Recreational Safety. Centers for Control and Disease Prevention. Important Facts About Falls.

3 World Health Organization staff. April. 2021. Falls. World Health Organization. Falls.

5 Bromfield, Samantha G. et al. June. 2017. Hypertension. AHAJournals.org. Blood Pressure, Antihypertensive Polypharmacy, Frailty, and Risk for Serious Fall Injuries Among Older Treated Adults With Hypertension

7 Centers for Control and Disease Prevention staff. n.d. Vision Health Initiative. Centers for Control and Disease Prevention. Vision Impairment and Older Adult Falls.

9 Boyd, Rebecca. May. 2009. Age and Aging. Oxford Academic. Falls and Fear of Falling: Burden, Beliefs and Behaviours.