Don't fall for it

Knowing how to get up from the floor by yourself

Page last updated: 06 May 2011

It is important that you practise getting down to the floor and back up again. If it is a long time since you have tried this, wait until someone is with you to help you up if needed.

You may be more out of practice than you think.

These pictures show a common way to get up from the floor that will suit most people. People with knee problems may find it uncomfortable to kneel. Physiotherapists can teach you other ways to get up, that may suit you better, and also exercises to regain your strength and flexibility.

If you have fallen:

1. Calm down. Catch your breath and compose yourself after the shock.
2. Check your body. If you are not badly injured you can think about getting up. If you are injured, for example with a broken bone, you need to stay where you are and put your plan to get help into action.
3. If you are not injured, look around for a sturdy piece of furniture (preferably a chair).
4. Roll onto your side
5. Crawl or drag yourself over to the chair.
6. From a kneeling position, put your arms up onto the seat of the chair.
7. Bring one knee forward an put that foot on the floor.
8. Push up with your arms and legs, pivot your bottom around.
9. Sit down. Rest before trying to move.

Rest at any time, and if you do not succeed the first time, rest and try again.

Practise this until you feel confident about the steps involved. It is recommended you do this once a month or so.

If you cannot get up:

  • Do not panic
  • Use one of the strategies mentioned earlier. Think through all possibilities for raising the alarm and getting up
  • Try to stay warm
  • Gently move around to stop one part of your body getting too much pressure

After a fall

It is important to talk to your doctor about your fall and the possible causes, and to tell someone else (family, friend or neighbour) that you have fallen.

Where you can find help or advice
  • A physiotherapist or occupational therapist can help you learn ways to get up

See page 29 for a list of support services for older people.