First Aid for Seniors

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Be prepared

In many emergency situations, you don’t need special knowledge beyond standard first-aid and CPR skills to care for people aged 65 and older. Still, it’s important to know that older adults are more vulnerable to accidents and injuries, which may require immediate first aid assistance. Understanding some of the common first aid medical situations that older adults face can help you prepare for possible emergencies.

Some situations that may require first aid include:

  • falls

  • cuts and scrapes

  • cardiovascular problems

  • heat- and cold-related illness


One in three adults aged 65 and older fall each year, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls can lead to:

  • lacerations

  • head injuries

  • fractures

Common risk factors for falling include:

  • poor vision

  • lower body weakness

  • physical inactivity or immobility

  • conditions or medications that cause dizziness

  • problems with balance

If someone has fallen and they don’t seem badly hurt, help them find a comfortable position. Treat minor bumps and bruises by elevating the injured area and applying an ice pack for about 10 minutes. If you notice signs of serious bleeding, bruising, or swelling, help them get emergency medical care.

If you suspect someone has fallen and seriously hurt their head, neck, back, hips, or thighs, ask them not to move and call 911 or local emergency services. Reassure them and keep them warm until help arrives. If they stop breathing, perform CPR.

Cuts and scrapes

Your skin becomes more fragile with age. This raises the risk of cuts and scrapes in older adults. In some cases, these injuries become infected. While older age itself doesn’t cause infections, many older adults have chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. These conditions can lower their immune system’s defenses against infections.

Minor cuts and scrapes

Remove obvious dirt and debris from the wound to treat Clean the wound with tap water if available. If it’s bleeding, place a clean bandage or cloth on top of it. Press on it f