Recommended Reading
Fall icon Fall Alarms for the Elderly

An elderly personal alarm with automatic fall detection can detect a fall and call for help without you needing to push the button. This is vital is you are unconscious or immobile following a sudden illness or a fall. The call will automatically go through to either your nominated contacts or a SureSafe operator, depending on which service you have chosen. You will be able to get the help you need fast, even if you are unable to press the button.

Recommended Product
Products 2up Square Trans 1 SureSafeGO
Your Alarm. Your Way. Be safe anywhere. Available in watch or pendant format with 24/7 or family monitoring. Plus fall detection & GPS tracker.

The Dangers of a ‘Long Lie’ for the Elderly

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms
Quick Links Navigate to the section you want to read quickly by clicking on the quick links below:

As we age, our health typically becomes more fragile. We may have to manage the effects of long-term medical conditions, and we’ll likely have to be alert to health risks that we didn’t think much about in our youth. For example, blood pressure, overheating and cold temperatures are all things that might not have been on our radar in earlier years – but they can have serious health impacts for the elderly.

Of all these increased risks that older people face, one of the most important and dangerous is the risk of falling. Falls can seriously injure an older person, potentially setting them on a path of frailer health, hospitalisation and moving to a care home.

Moreover, what happens just after a fall is crucial. If an older person isn’t able to get help and is forced to lie on the floor for a long time, they can become very ill even if they weren’t injured badly from the fall.

This is meaning of what doctors call a ‘long lie” – lying on the floor for at least an hour and being unable to get back up.

It’s crucial for seniors to be aware of the risks of a ‘long lie’ and take measures to ensure they never experience one. In this post, we’ll discuss why a long lie can happen, why it can be so harmful, and how to take action to prevent it.

What can cause a long lie?

There is a wide range of factors that can increase an older person’s risk of a fall. These include:

  • Problems with vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cognitive impairment, like dementia
  • Hazards in the home, ranging from wrinkled rugs to slippery bathroom floors
  • Difficulties with balance
  • Medication side effects
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower body that causes mobility difficulties
  • Unusual gait, such as in Parkinson’s disease
  • Continence problems that cause a senior to trip while rushing to the toilet

As you can imagine, many of these same factors can make it difficult for an older person to get up from a lying-down position. An injury during a fall can obviously also making getting up harder.

Another element here is that a long lie typically happens there is no-one around who can assist the senior to get up. That might mean that the older person lives alone and that they are unable to get to a phone to call for help.

In terms of statistics, it’s also worth mentioning that, among the elderly, a long lie is more likely to happen in women.

What are the impacts of a long lie?

It’s important to emphasise that a long lie can have dangerous effects for an older person even if they were not injured when they fell.

Effects on the body

If an older person falls and is unable to move, they might get pressure ulcers from lying in the same position – and these can be worsened if the older person is unable to get up to go to the toilet. If the senior is in a cold environment and unable to get a blanket, they could get hypothermia. If they can’t get to a drink, they could suffer dehydration.

Furthermore, it goes without saying that if an older person is injured in a fall, not being able to get prompt medical care because of a long lie can also have serious consequences.

Emotional and psychological effects

While the physical effects of a long lie are serious, the emotional and psychological effects also shouldn’t be forgotten.

It just makes sense that lying on the floor for a long time, being uncomfortable and uncertain of when help will come, would be very distressing for an older person. In fact, it has been suggested that a long lie has longer-term psychological effects, too – such as making the elderly person fearful about future falls and less willing to move around. With that in mind, a long lie might create a vicious cycle where a senior’s fear of falling makes another fall more likely to happen.

Long-term effects

In general, a fall or a long lie can trigger a significant decline in health for an older person. If the older person is ill enough to be hospitalised, afterwards they may still be too ill to return home to live independently. A move to a care home might be the result.

How to prevent a long lie

It’s clear that long lies are a serious issue. But what can you do to prevent them?

Personal alarms

Getting a personal alarm and wearing it is the most powerful step you can take in preventing a long lie from happening. A one-touch personal alarm allows an older person to call for help quickly and easily, without having to get up from the floor to grab a phone.

An alarm that also has automatic fall detection is an even better choice. This functionality senses when its wearer has fallen and calls for help all its own. That’s important if the older person is unconscious on the floor, or if they have dementia and might not remember how to use an alarm.

When you obtain a personal alarm, remember to get a shower-safe device and wear it all the time. Falls can easily happen when an older person is getting out of bed or getting into the shower – which are exactly the moments when a person might have taken off their alarm along with jewellery or watches.

Knowing how to get up from the floor

Although a personal alarm is the best line of defence against a long lie, there are other smart steps you can take as well. One is knowing the correct method and strategies for getting up from the floor.

Falls risk assessment

The NHS takes falls in the elderly so seriously that it has established fall prevention services in many areas. If you’re concerned about falling, ask your GP for a falls risk assessment or ask them to put you in touch with your local falls prevention service, which can provide this assessment.

Managing anxieties

It’s crucial for elderly people to remain mobile after a fall or a long lie. For older people who are afraid after a fall, NHS Scotland has a helpful advice sheet for managing anxieties about falling.

The best way to prevent a long lie

At SureSafe, we’re dedicated to keeping older people safe in the event of falls or other emergencies. Our elderly personal alarms are a great way to do just that – and to help prevent a dangerous long lie after a fall. You can choose a talking pendant alarm or a wrist alarm that looks like a smart watch – whichever suits you better. Either way, you’ll get protection against the physical consequences of a long lie, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll be in touch with help if a fall happens.

And since SureSafe has 4.8 stars on Trustpilot, you can be confident that you’re getting your alarm from a UK market leader in personal alarms.

Our alarms offer a host of other functionalities, too – like a speaking clock. If you’re not sure which alarm to choose, just get in touch with us on 0808 189 1671, use our live chat or request a call back.

Sure Safe Woman with Baby and Daughter Illustration Footer Left Sure Safe Man on Bicycle Illustration Footer Right

Not sure which personal alarm is right for you?

Talk to a friendly UK based advisor to help you make the right choice.

Request a Call
We're always here to help

SureSafe is the leading provider of personal alarms within the UK.

Call us on 0800 061 4501
Email us Send a message