Taking care of people over 65 years of age can be extremely difficult if you do not have the right first aid skills. At this age one out of every 3 people fall and as a result suffer from broken bones, fractures and other injuries according figures published by the CDC. Falls are very common at this age because many times old people may lose their balance or have weak eyesight or have a combination of both which leads to them taking a tumble. Because of their age the only thing that can help them is immediate hospitalization but in the meantime the right first aid procedures can keep them alive until they reach the hospital.
Below we will look at a few injuries that are caused by falling and their appropriate first aid measures for the elderly. The tips below are meant for people who are not medical professionals.
First aid for senior head injury
Once a senior citizen hits the ground the effects are a lot similar to what will happen to a young person except exponentially severe. In the majority of cases the impact will result in a concussion. The first thing that you should do is to check for bleeding. If there is bleeding from the forehead make sure to take a wad of cloth or a towel and put pressure on the wound.
Loss of consciences, loss of eyesight, dizziness, blackout etc. are all signs of a concussion. However, you shouldn’t assume that a person has suffered a concussion. There is no senior first aid here that can save an elderly person so just make sure to sprinkle some water on the head and face to try and wake them up as you drive them to the nearest hospital.
As many as two million senior citizens suffer from accident related spine injuries in each year. One of the leading reasons for spinal injury is falling down the steps. At times the injury may even be caused by the head hitting a wall so hard that it causes the spinal column to be shocked causing spinal injury and extreme pain.
If a spinal injury is suspected make sure that the senior citizen is laid out straight on the floor or on their stomach. Then call emergency services. In the meantime any bleeding can be treated with antiseptic medicine and the pain can be relieved to some extent by giving them ibuprofen. However special care should be exercised when moving the person, ideally they should only be moved on a stretcher.
Old people have brittle bones so the slightest fall can cause a number of different types of hip fractures. These fractures unlike with young people puts their health in danger. A fractured hip is easily identifiable especially if there is severe pain in that area and the inability to move the associated leg.
After you’ve called an ambulance, the victim needs to be secured. Take a large bed sheet or any other material and wrap their hip up to keep it warm and secure. The more movement there is in a fractured hip the more painful it can be and the more complicated things can become.
A broken wrist
Many elderly people will fracture or break their wrist when trying to save themselves from falling or when something hits them. Broken wrists will flare up pretty quickly, the swelling can become very evident and the best first aid here would be too tightly wrap the wrist with a bandage or thick cloth. Then if the drive to a hospital is more than ten minutes apply a cold pack on the secured wrist to control the swelling and reduce the pain.
If there is blood owing to a cut on the wrist first apply pressure to stop the bleeding then take two pieces of wood and attach it to the sides of the wrist prior to wrapping it up tightly with cloth. This will prevent further bleeding and keep the wrist secure until you reach the hospital or until an ambulance arrives.
Taking care of senior citizens can be difficult but with theseyou’ll know exactly what to do. However, it pays to have some first aid experience for situations like these
- License: Creative Commons
- License: Creative Commons
is one of the most experienced first aid instructors in Australia. He has been teaching first aid for over twenty years and has authored a number of books on the subject. He still teaches first aid to law enforcement officers and school children.