Applying the “BRAKES” (What to Do In Case of a Fall)

(This blog post is a contribution from Kindra French, owner of 101 Mobility in San Diego.)

Applying the Brakes

Kindra French

“Mimi! I fell down… I’m ok.” I probably hear that phrase a dozen times every day from my three-year-old grandson, Landen. It’s usually followed by, “Let’s speeeeeeeeeed!” as his little turbo jet-fueled legs take off for another series of laps around the kitchen table. Landen likes to run. The faster he runs, the more often he falls. It’s become a familiar pattern: run, run ,run, fall, run, run, run, fall…

No matter how many times the boy tumbles to the ground, he springs right back up and resumes his imitation of a bullet train. The crazy thing is, no matter how often he hits the dirt, no matter how hard, he never seems to sustain injuries.

If only it could be that way for the rest of us. Unfortunately, though, as we get older, even a single fall can result in devastating consequences.

I recently learned that in San Diego County, firefighters respond to over 100,000 calls for fall related injuries each year and that 8 out of every 10 of those fall victims will experience a second fall within six months. These statistics are staggering; and thankfully, many falls are preventable. Evidence suggests that by focusing on exercise and balance, engaging with health care providers to manage risk and attending to home safety issues, we can minimize our chance of falling.

But what happens if a fall is unavoidable? An older person doesn’t necessarily have to be racing around the kitchen table to experience a fall; balance challenges can lead to falls doing simple tasks of daily living. If you realize that you are falling, and can’t regain your balance, these techniques to offer some protection to reduce your risk of injury.

It’s time to apply the BRAKES:

  1. Breathe.
    Exhale completely as you land. Once you’ve fallen, breathe deeply and regularly in full breaths. This will help you remain calm and reduce feelings of panic.
  1. Relax.
    Keep your muscles relaxed; tension in the muscles increases the chance of injury during a fall.
  1. Avoid Reaching.
    Often, the first response when falling is to reach out an arm or hand. Unfortunately, this can result in a sprain, dislocated joint, or broken bone. Resist the urge to extend your arm while falling.
  1. Knees Bent.
    Bend your knees as you fall. This can soften the impact and minimize damage to your body.
  1. Evade Edges.
    Try to avoid hitting hard edges or sharp corners when you fall.
  1. Skull Protection.
    Protect your head by tucking your chin and raising your hands to your head.

Consider wearing a medical alert device, like Philips Lifeline, so that you can call for help if you are unable to get up after a fall. It might also be a good idea to look into fall prevention products to help eliminate the possibility of a fall: such as stair lifts, platform lifts, ramps, or grab bars. And don’t forget: Applying the BRAKES during a fall greatly reduces the risk of severe injury.

If only we had a set of brakes for our turbo toddler…

About 101 Mobility

101 Mobility is a full-service franchise business that specializes in mobility and accessibility equipment. Products include stair lifts, ramps, auto lifts, patient lifts, pool lifts, bath lifts, vertical platform lifts, and more. Visit 101Mobility.com to learn more.

101 Mobility franchisees are supplied with geo-specific online marketing campaigns, in-person training, on-going support, and a proprietary business management platform. Visit 101MobilityFranchise.com to find more information about our franchise process.

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About Brian Havens

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Comments (2)

  1. Home Care Pulse  February 17, 2016

    These are great tips. I never thought of reaching out as a mistake during a fall, but I’ve certainly hurt my hands and wrists that way.

    1. Brian Havens  February 17, 2016

      Thanks for reading, Home Care Pulse!

      When people fall, it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to reach out for the closest object. So I agree; this is one tip that could benefit a lot of people!