CPR for the Elderly: What You Need to Know

The chances are that you'll never need to perform CPR on an elderly person. But if you're caring for someone who's at risk of cardiac arrest, then you need to learn CPR. The good news is that the basics of chest compressions and rescue breathing are easy to remember. And if you can get help from another person, it makes things even easier!

1. Get Help

If you're alone, call 911 before starting CPR. If you're with someone else, have them call 911 while you start CPR. Tell them to stay on the line with you until help arrives, and have them tell the operator:

  • Your name, location, and phone number (the address where you are)
  • The age of the victim
  • What cardiac problems do they have (e.g., heart attack)
  • Whether or not CPR has been started

2. Position the Patient

Once you have determined that the patient is not breathing, it is important to position them correctly. The first step in this process is to check for injuries. Check their arms and legs for breaks or cuts. If there are any visible wounds, try to stop any bleeding before moving on with CPR.

Once you've determined that there are no serious injuries, make sure they are positioned on a hard surface (like concrete) instead of soft ones like grass or sand--this will help prevent further injury while performing chest compressions later in this process! Next, keep the person still while checking their pulse; do not move them unless they are in danger from a nearby fire or something similar

3. Check Airway, Breathing, and Circulation

If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR. If they are breathing but not conscious, put them in the recovery position.

To check for breathing: Place your ear next to their mouth and nose (you can also use your cheek against theirs). Look for chest movement; listen for sounds such as snoring or gurgling; feel whether there is any air on your cheek when you take it away from their mouth.

To check for a pulse: Feel at least two fingers on each side of the neck--the carotid artery can be found between these two points on either side of the windpipe/throat area--and press firmly enough so that you feel its pulsation but not so hard as to cut off blood flow completely!

4. Chest Compressions

  • Chest compressions should be at a rate of 100 per minute.
  • Chest compressions should be at least 2 inches deep.
  • Chest compressions should be at least 1/3 the diameter of the chest.

If you have no training in CPR, then begin with rescue breaths (see below) until help arrives or someone with more experience takes over for you. If you are trained in CPR and know what to do, then follow these steps:  Give 2 breaths before giving chest compressions if the patient is conscious; otherwise, go right into chest compressions without giving any breaths at all. If there is still no pulse after 30 seconds of performing CPR and attempting rescue breathing, stop immediately and call 9-1-1!

5. Rescue Breaths

If the person is not breathing, you should perform rescue breaths. To do this, you will need to place the heel of your hand on the center of their chest and give them two quick compressions (about 1 second each) before releasing their chest so that it rises again with a breath in between each compression. During these compressions, make sure to tilt their head back slightly and pinch their nose closed with two fingers on either side of their nose (the way we did when we were learning how). This allows air into your patient's lungs better than if they were just left open or covered by blankets or pillows--you want as much oxygen going into them as possible! The process looks like this:

  • Place heel on center chest with resuscitation kit open next to you
  • Give two quick compressions (1 second each), followed by one full release; repeat until help arrives

6. Recovery Position

  • The recovery position is used to help keep the airway open.
  • The person's head should be tilted back, and their chin should be lifted.
  • The person's arms should be straight out at their sides.
  • Lower the lower leg of the elderly person, bending it at the knee so that it touches or crosses over the other leg (if possible). This will help them breathe better by keeping their chest open as they lay on their side. Place your hand under or behind their head, supporting it in that position as you lower them onto their side. Keep an eye on your patient while doing this--you may need to adjust them slightly if they're having trouble breathing or if there isn't enough space between their face and arm for you to move into place properly. Once done correctly, you should have created a "T" shape with both bent knees touching each other under one shoulder while forming an "L" shape where arms meet the torso at the hips/buttocks area

If you're caring for someone who's at risk of cardiac arrest, then you need to learn CPR.

CPR is a lifesaving technique used to help someone whose heart has stopped beating. It involves pressing on the chest, blowing air into the mouth and/or lungs, and pumping blood through the body with compressions of the chest.

You can learn how to do CPR in a class or online course; this article will teach you what you need to know about caring for someone who may be experiencing cardiac arrest or another medical emergency, including respiratory distress, shock, and stroke.

It's important that anyone who cares for an elderly person learns how to perform basic life support techniques such as CPR because these individuals are at increased risk of experiencing cardiac arrest due to age-related health conditions such as diabetes (which increases blood sugar levels) or high blood pressure (which causes increased strain on the heart).


CPR is a lifesaving skill that all caregivers should learn. It's important to know how to help someone who is experiencing cardiac arrest because it can happen at any time and anywhere. If you have an elderly loved one in your home, it's especially crucial that they know how to do CPR on themselves--so they can save their own lives!


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