While there are plenty of health concerns to keep in mind as we age, it is essential to be mindful of one of the leading health risks among seniors – falling (and the dire consequences of falling). For the most part, the vast majority of our elderly cherish their independence and freedom to move around. However, with frail and aging bodies and poor reaction times, moving around can be a daunting challenge for our elderly.
Looking at statistics related to falls among seniors paints a gloomy picture. 1 in every 4 Americans aged 65 years or more fall annually. This translates to one elderly being treated in the emergency room for injuries caused by falling every 11 seconds. In other words, approximately 3 million seniors are hospitalized for fall injuries. Consequently, falls are a leading cause of fatal injuries among our elderly. (source)
With this knowledge, it is only logical for caregivers to prepare well. You ought to make concerted efforts to reduce the risk of falls in their living environment. Furthermore, you should prepare for the instances when an elderly falls, especially if they suffer from any neurological disorder or leg weakness.
Herein we will explore the best methods and devices to lift the elderly off the floor after a fall. Given the potential of suffering from serious injuries occasioned by a fall, it is vital for seniors and/or their caregivers to use an assistive lift device to lift the elderly carefully while avoiding aggravating any injury and/or additional injuries.
1. Raising Chair Devices
Raising chairs are motor operated lifting chairs to help fallen people get to an almost-standing position in just a few minutes. While the chair is battery operated, the chair needs an assistant to assist the user while the chair is working.
Typically, these chairs come with two parts – a seat and the backrest as separate sections of the device. The chair is assembled in place and under the user. The seat is placed under the user’s knee. Thereafter, the backrest section of the device is placed under the back, where the backrest and seat snap together. Once the seat and the backrest attach and secure together, a battery-operated motor raises the chair along with the user to a standing posture.
Raizer Mobile Lifting Chair
The most notable of these devices include the Raizer and Raizer II. Raizer and Raizer II are a line of raising chairs designed and made by Lift Up for seniors in scenarios of falling.
Video: Using the Raizer Device to Lift an Elderly Person off the Floor at Home
Pros Of Using Raising Chairs For Lifting Seniors
- Comfortable and safe to use
- Users do not need to expend energy to use the product
- Easy to set up
Cons Raising Chairs For Lifting Seniors
- Requires assistance from caregivers to use
- Seniors can only use the device on a hard surface
- The lifting chairs are relatively heavy owing to the batteries and the motor system
2. Step Ladder Devices
This category of lift products is designed to gradually increase your height while sitting down without straining the back. Step ladders consist of several steps that make gradual lifting possible, with each step incrementally lifting the user’s height while in a seated position. After ascending to the top step, the user will have sufficient height to sit on a chair, wheelchair, or bed. When on the top step, users simply slide back to get seated and recover from the fall.
These products are designed with portability and ergonomics as crucial characteristics. As such, the step ladders can be moved anywhere needed. Crucially, seniors will find the device easy and comfortable to use.
Two of the best example of Step Ladder lifting devices include the ResQUp Self-Help Senior Lift and The Para Ladder Manual Lift (Model PL1000).
ResQUp Self-Help Senior Lift
Simple in design and function, the ResQUp Self-Help Senior Lift is a lightweight, portable, and easy-to-use lift ladder designed and optimized to meet the senior citizens’ needs. With no assembly necessary or complicated mechanisms, you can rely on the ResQUp lift ladder to help seniors under your care self-lift to a chair, bed, or wheelchair with ease and comfort.
The lift ladder allows individuals to self-lift using their hands or elbows without exerting their back and/or using a lot of leg strength. The slow, systematic, and gradual lifting process reduces the chances of aggravating any knocks one might have gotten upon falling.
Video: Using the ResQUp Device to Help a Senior Up at Home
Pros Of The ResQUp Self-Help Senior Lift
- A portable design that allows caregivers to take anywhere in the house.
- Fold up design gives the product a compact design for easy storage.
- Perfect for lifting a person to a chair or bed, as well as lowering the user to the floor.
- Ergonomic design.
- A shorter distance between the levels makes it easier to use if an individual does not have ample upper body strength.
Cons Of The ResQUp Self-Help Senior Lift
- User exerts their upper body – the user needs ample upper body strength.
- Impractical for seniors who live alone.
Para Ladder Manual Lift (Model PL1000)
The Para Ladder Manual Lift is a step ladder for fall recovery designed for people with a strong upper body. It has a three-level step ladder design and distinctive padded raised handles on either side of the ladder. The raised ladder gives users more leverage for faster lifting. This assistive device’s raised handles make standing up after a fall a tad easier without enduring transfer-related injuries or exacerbating any injuries.
With a rigid yet lightweight aluminum frame, moving the step ladder is an easy process. Moreover, the device folds a compact size that reduces the space required for storage.
Pros Of The Para Ladder Manual Lift
- Lightweight aluminum frame.
- Collapsible design for compact storage.
- Ladder steps make it easy for users to rest while ascending.
- Can use the device for both standing up and descending.
Cons Of The Para Ladder Manual Lift
- It requires users to have enough upper body strength to use the product.
- Difficult and sometimes impossible to use the living alone.
3. Mechanical Lifting System
Mechanical lift systems come in two types – the immobile ceiling installed lifts and a mobile wheeled lifts version. As you can tell, the ceiling lifts are permanently attached to the ceiling. This version of mechanical lift systems are only used in the particular room they are installed. On the other hand, the wheeled version of lift systems are mobile, and caregivers can roll the assistive device to any room.
As for their lifting mechanism, both the mobile and ceiling hoist system have similar mechanisms. The user fastens the harness around them or rolls over a cloth sling, secures themselves, and pushes a button, hoists himself or herself up. The lift system is a good alternative if an elderly does not have the arm strength to use the step ladder.
One of the most popular products in this category include the IndeeLift Human Floor Lift for Fall Recovery.
Pros Of Using A Lift System
- Comfortable to use
- Easy and straightforward to use
- The elderly can use the system even when they do not have enough strength
- Versatile – the hoist system can be used to help you get to a wheelchair, chair, bed, or even toilet.
Cons Of Using A Hoist System
- Both the mobile and ceiling hoist system are expensive devices
- Difficult to store
- Poor portability
4. Inflatable Emergency Lifts
Inflatable emergency lifts are lifting assistive devices that use air-inflation methods and tools to lift a fallen person. The chairs are designed with internal rings for exceptional rigidity. Consequently, the devices are optimized to help seniors rise from a fall and sit down.
Using the device for lifting purposes involves moving the machine next to the individual, then rolling it under the senior, and positioning the device correctly. The final step is using an air compressor to inflate the chair to a seated level.
Among the best inflatable lifting chairs on the market include Mangar Elk Emergency Lift and the Mangar Camel Emergency Lift. While the Camel and Elk use the same raising mechanism, the Camel offers extra support via its inflated backrest. The Camel’s backrest makes it easier for seniors to use the assistive device independently of caregivers.
Pros Of Inflatable Lifting Chairs
- Encourages independent living
- Ample lifting capacity – it can lift a maximum load of about 320 kg from the floor
- Suitable for use indoors and outdoors
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Reduces the strain on the legs and backs
- Storage friendly as it uses little storage room
Cons Of Inflatable Lifting Chairs
- Slow lifting process
5. Transfer Vest Fall Recovery
The transfer vest fall recovery device is designed to help caregivers lift the elderly more safely and comfortably. Vests, such as the Smart Lift (http://www.smartliftvest.com/) and Lift Vest provide grab-points where the caregiver can lift the elderly safely.
Pros Of Transfer Vests
- Reduces injury risks, mostly hand, arm, and shoulder injuries
- Cost-effective assistive device
- Aside from lifting seniors off the floor, these assistive devices are also used to transfer to the bed, chairs, toilet, and bathtub.
Cons Of Transfer Vest
- Only usable in instances when caregivers are available. Its use necessitates the assistance of at least one caregiver or ideally, two.
6. Pull Up Hand Lifting Assists Standing Aid
The pull-up lifting standing aid is a handle-bar designed to help caregivers lift the elderly under their care safely without pulling or tugging their hands. This assistive device has molded hand grips on opposite ends. As such, the caregiver grabs one end of the device while the other elderly grabs the other end device, thereby allowing the caregiver to lifts the elderly gradually and comfortably.
When lifting the elderly from a fall using this system, it eliminates painful and undignified pulling and tugging, uncomfortable underarm lifting, or tugging the shoulders or the arm. Crucially, the caregiver provides the assistance needed without positioning the back of their elderly loved into an awkward position. Examples of the hand lifting assistive device include Lift Assists Standing Bar with No-Slip Grip Handles
Lift Assists Standing Bar with No-Slip Grip Handles
With an intricate design, the Lift Assists Standing Aid-Handicap Bar provides caregivers and the elderly a comfortable, easy to use, and hygienic means of offering lifting aid. It comes with 4.3 inches non-slip ergonomic handles. The lifting aid is manufactured using composite materials, giving it lightweight properties while retaining sturdiness and longevity. Crucially, it eliminates uncomfortable and painful tugging and pulling.
- Can use in a wide range of environments
- Lightweight and portable
- Ergonomic and comfortable
- Non-slip grip reduces chances of slippage
- Seniors cannot use the device unassisted
- The elderly need ample strength to use the device
The Pull ME UP
The Pull ME UP has a simple oval shape with two non-slip grips on opposite ends for the elderly and the caregiver to use. It has a simple design, and lightweight construction makes the device highly portable. The senior holds one end and the caregiver the other end. With the caregiver as the leverage, the elderly individual pulls themselves up.
- Eliminates the squeezing and pulling of the arm or shoulder grasping
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to use
- The elderly must use their upper and lower body strength
- Seniors in need of help cannot use this assistive device on their own
Assisting the elderly get on their feet after a fall should not involve tugging and pulling. There is a myriad of lifting systems and methods that can aid the caregiver and the elder rise to the feet. Of course, the best thing to do is have a fall prevention program in place to reduce the chance of a fall.
Your choice of the assistive device and method will depend on your needs and circumstances. It is common for injuries (especially shoulder and back) to arise when caregivers lift the elderly without assistive devices.
Caregivers need to invest in an assistive device that helps lift an elderly from the floor without risking other injuries to negate such injuries.