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A guide to first aid for older people

25th September 2015

There’s no denying that first aid can save lives, whether this is following an accident, or an unforeseen health problem. While it is essential that most establishments have a trained first aider on site at all times, there are occasions when one may not be so accessible, which is why we want to help provide some basic tips, so that you can assist others such as stairlift users should you need to.

Whether this is for a grandchild in your care, a spouse or a friend you are spending time with, the skills that you learn will be invaluable. We got in touch with a number of first aid experts who have provided us with their best advice, as well as an exclusive discount code for those that wish to learn further.

British Red Cross

British Red Cross have very kindly put together their top five tips for first aid, supplying us with the best methods for treating certain common injuries and health problems.

Sprains and Strains

1. Apply an ice pack to the injury (e.g. frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel). Applying it to the injury will reduce the swelling and pain.

2. If there is no improvement seek medical advice.

Head injuries

1. Ask them to rest and apply something cold to the injury (e.g. frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel).

2. If they become drowsy or vomit, call 999 or ask someone else to do it whilst you are comforting them.


1. Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.

2. After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.

3. If necessary, call 999 or get someone else to call them whilst you assist the injured person.


1. If the environment is cold the person may be shivering, pale and cold to touch. They may also be disorientated.

2. Call 999 as soon as possible, or get someone else to call them.

Heart attack

1. The person may have persistent, vice-like chest pain, which may spread to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.

2. Call 999 immediately or get a passer-by to do it so that you can continue to help the person.

3. Make sure they are in a position that is comfortable for them (e.g. sit them on the floor, leaning against a wall or chair).

4. Give them constant reassurance while waiting for the ambulance.

To have information on first aid topics at your fingertips, download the free British Red Cross First Aid app.

You can also learn first aid skills online. Watch from a selection of videos on how to treat first aid emergencies, it’s a simple and easy way to learn some basic first aid skills. You can also test your knowledge with the British Red Cross online quiz.

For some practical, hands-on learning book a First aid for adult course with over 50 UK venues to choose from.

First Aid for Life

This award-winning and fully regulated first aid training provider is one of the leading suppliers, and offers a wealth of resources for those interested in learning from medical and emergency professionals. The First Aid for Life courses are put together by Emma Hammett, who is a qualified nurse with over 20 years’ experience, and regularly appears on the radio and television to talk about first aid issues.

Here they have provided some tips for helping while waiting for an ambulance.

Danger – do not put yourself at risk

Response – are they conscious?

Airway – if unconscious – open their airway

Breathing – check for at least 2 normal breaths in a 10 second period

Circulation / CPR – if unconscious and not breathing start CPR


The life threatening priorities are:

Breathing – if you do not protect their airway and they are not breathing they are dead!

Bleeding – if you see blood; apply direct pressure and be aware of signs of shock that could indicate internal bleeding.

Burns – Burns can be dangerous as people lose a lot of fluid and can go into shock; burns are painful and prone to infection. All burns should be assessed by a medical professional

If this article has inspired you to learn or expand on your first aid skills, then you can use our exclusive discount code provided by First Aid for Life, which will save you 50 per cent on the First Aid for the Over 60s course. Simply use the code ‘ageukmobility’ when prompted at checkout.

Resuscitation Council

The Resuscitation Council are responsible for putting together guidelines which are applicable to everyone, and aim to save lives by educating and training others. You can find a wealth of information on CPR and more on the section of their website dedicated to the public, as well as take part in the interactive Lifesaver, which allows you to experience either the consequences of not completing CPR correctly, or the thrill of saving a life.

Image Credit: DLG Images, British Red Cross, British Red Cross, HackBitz (

This content was written by Lauren Beardsley. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.