FAQ: What Should I Be Looking for After a Fall to Be Sure My Loved One Is OK?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 28, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What should I be looking for after a fall to be sure my loved one is OK?

Expert Answers

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is a senior medical editor at Caring.com and a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics. She also provides housecalls and geriatric consultations in San Francisco.

To be sure your loved one is OK after having had a fall, spend some time watching him or her carefully, with an eye toward detecting any worsening in physical or mental function (compared to before the fall). Is she limping or grimacing when she walks? No longer able to put on her cardigan? More wobbly in her balance? More confused than usual? If there's been any concern about a head injury, you'll also want to monitor for symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, as well as worsening headache.

Any substantial worsening of physical or mental function should prompt an urgent-care visit or, at the very least, a call to an advice line.

Regarding pain after a fall: It's not uncommon for an older adult to feel sore or bruised after a fall, but if the faller complains about more than just a little discomfort, that's another reason to call the doctor or the advice line.

Even if he or she seems completely OK after a fall, you should definitely let the doctor know about the incident. It's best to leave the doctor a message informing him or her about the fall and also bring it up at the next office visit.