I first published this post in 2016, and am repeating it as part of my summer "Falling Wednesday" series.
Lying on the floor for just a few hours can be deadly, we were taught in the falls prevention classes I took in 2015 where I live near Binghamton, New York.
To be blunt, the longer you are on the floor or ground after a fall, the less likely it is that you will return to living independently.
In 2015, I participated in a falls prevention class called Stepping On. It was a lot more than just falls prevention, and was well worth my time.
In one "Stepping On" class, two physical therapists came, and showed us exercises to do to make ourselves stronger and less prone to falling. They also showed us what to do if we fell.
I've been in that situation more than once. And perhaps you've been, too. I've been fortunate - so far either I was with someone or was able to get up on my own.
Towards the end of the video, she briefly explains a couple of things a senior could do if he or she was injured in the fall. The key is to try to get up safely, or to a phone, or to a door, to call for help.
I also note that more than one of my falls were outdoors, and several people in my class were injured while walking dogs, so this video does not cover all situations. But it is still well worth watching.
Learning to recover from a fall is NOT a do it yourself project and we only received a general demonstration. Your particular circumstances should be evaluated by a physical therapist or other professional. Experts suggests practicing what to do after a fall on a regular basis.
However painful to think of, the topic of what to do if you do fall is something I believe the falls prevention classes need to spend more time on. It's great to spend a lot of time on how to prevent a fall. But, if you fall again, it is even more urgent that you can get up by yourself, especially if you live alone.
Because I was fortunate.
One day, we will all face this element of aging.