HOW TO FALL AND GET BACK UP SAFELY · Parkinson's Resource Organization


Category: Newsworthy Notes

People with Parkinson’s Disease often experience problems with balance, rigidity and reduced mobility which can lead to an increased number of falls. Fear of falling can make people not want to go out or do things they normally would do and can severely reduce their activities which can lead to depression. Some key actions we can take to help prevent falls include exercise, good medication management and a safe home environment.

How to make a safe home environment - We can manage our homes to provide a safer environment. Many people develop routines to help them manage to move around their home safely. One Parkinson’s organization asked people with Parkinson’s to tell them what they do to reduce the risk of falling at home and here are their top 5 ideas:

  1. Create a familiar space for yourself. Make sure your furniture is sturdy enough for you to hold onto if you need a little extra support.
  2. Remove rugs, arrange power cords to be out of walking areas and add night lights to make your pathways clear and easy to navigate.
  3. Avoid multi-tasking while walking. If while walking you drop something and you need to pick it up turn first before going down/leaning over to pick up your things.
  4. Make the bathtub safer by adding a grab-bar or mats with a grip
  5. Take your time standing up.

            If someone falls, the Raizer by Liftup is a unique patient lift that can help lift a person from the floor to a standing position in a few minutes without hurting the lifter or the person with Parkinson’s. It is a valuable resource that helps people stay in their homes for longer.

What commonly causes a fall? Sometimes a fall will happen. Statistics show that 1 in 3 people over 65 fall each year and for people with Parkinson’s the risk is significantly higher with 70% suffering recurrent falls. A study at the University of Sydney in Australia researched causes of falling experienced by people with Parkinson’s. They found that the rate of recurrent falls for people with Parkinson’s ranges from 5 to 68 per year. The most common factors include:

  1. History of falling: if you’ve fallen once studies show that you are likely to fall again.
  2. The severity of Parkinson’s: as the disease progresses, it affects motor function more severely.
  3. Impaired attention: Parkinson’s can affect our vision and cognitive abilities which makes it hard to concentrate on what we’re doing.
  4. Reduced mobility: including muscle stiffness, tremors, and freezing
  5. Fear of falling: can make us anxious which in turn can increase the possibility of a fall.

How to fall and get back up safely - Falls can result in injuries such as bruises, broken bones, head injuries and may require hospitalization. In some cases, injuries can become fatal. Melissa Cusick wrote for NIFS about how to minimize injuries during a fall and recommended safely practicing how to fall to reduce our fear of falling. When our body knows what to do from practice, we are less likely to be anxious when we fall. These tips can be the difference between a bruise and a broken bone:

  1. Don’t try to prevent the fall, stay relaxed to prevent further injury.
  2. Bend your knees or crouch during the fall.
  3. Turn or twist your body if you can to fall onto the outside of your lower leg first. 
  4. If you can’t twist your body, never try to catch yourself with your hands, you might break your wrists. Instead, smack the ground with your hands to lessen the impact.
  5. Roll onto your backside to allow the muscles to dissipate energy and lower the impact.

Having a plan and practicing correct falling techniques can help us be less fearful and minimize injury.

After a fall it’s normal to feel a little shaken, but we can take steps to get back up safely.

  1. Take time to relax and make sure you’re alright. 
  2. If you can scoot or crawl to a solid piece of furniture, then pull yourself up. 
  3. Place both hands on the furniture and use your stronger leg to help you stand up.
  4. Sit for a while and rest.
  5. Don’t let anyone lift you unless they are trained to do so.

Sometimes the symptoms of Parkinson’s make it hard for us to have the strength to lift ourselves from the floor. The Raizer chair by Liftup can provide some measure of independence.  If you are home alone, you can leave the Raizer assembled and in its prone position. Take the following steps to lift yourself safely:

  1. Make your way to the chair and lay across the backrests
  2. Lift your knees over the seat and place your feet between the Raizer legs. 
  3. Wake the Raizer by pressing one of the up/down buttons on the side of the seat.
  4. Keeping your arms close to your sides, use the remote or the buttons on the seat to gently and slowly lift yourself to an almost standing position. 
  5. Rest for a while before standing.

If you cannot get up by yourself, call for help. After a fall, the Raizer can be easily assembled around you allowing someone with minimal training to safely get you back on your feet without risking injury to themselves or to you.

Sofie cannot get up by herself when she falls.  She uses a Raizer to lift herself from the floor.

Find Raizer by Lift-Up in the Wellness Village. Members since March 21, 2018. Liftup Inc. strives to market products that do not only help differently-abled persons; the product must also be a delight to the eye and thus, aesthetically and in a dignified way, please all others as well.

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Parkinson's Resource Organization
74785 Highway 111
Suite 208
Indian Wells, CA 92210

Local Phone
(760) 773-5628

Toll-Free Phone
(877) 775-4111

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Updated: August 16, 2017