When you were helping Mom make lunch the other day, she turned around, lost her balance, and began to fall. Fortunately, you were able to get there in time to help ease the tumble, so she wasn’t hurt. Since there was no injury, you did not need to go to the doctor. Following a brief break, the two of you went about the rest of the day as planned.
But even without an injury, an event like this actually does call for medical follow-up. When an older loved one falls, it can happen for a variety of reasons, and it’s worthwhile to look for the cause in order to avoid future falls. Make an appointment for the senior immediately, and make sure the doctor checks for the following:
High or Low Blood Pressure – Two Ways
Blood pressure must be tested while the senior is sitting down, and once more while standing upright. Blood pressure medication as well as other medications might cause a drop in blood pressure levels as soon as the person stands up, leading to lightheadedness, dizziness, and even fainting. Yet only one out of three doctors check blood pressure levels while a senior is standing.
Balance and Gait
The doctor should do a gait evaluation, checking for any problems with walking or balance. If a problem is detected, it could be the result of pain in the joints, back, or feet. Arranging for physical therapy is a great next step to deal with balance and gait issues.
Underlying Health Problems
Mention any other conditions you have noticed in the senior along with the concern about falling. There are certain medical ailments that could result in the weakness that may trigger a fall, such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- And more
Vitamin D Deficiency
Low levels of vitamin D may be connected to a heightened fall risk. It may also cause bones to become more fragile, leading to the possibility for a break or fracture in the instance of a fall. The doctor can decide if a vitamin D supplement is advised, and if so, what the appropriate dose should be.
A complete overview of all the medications the older adult is taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, is required to decrease the risk for a future fall. Many medications raise the danger of falls, and it may be that the doses can be altered or medications stopped altogether. In particular, ask the physician about medications the senior may be taking for:
- Overactive bladder
- Depression or anxiety
Blood sugar or sodium levels that are too high or too low can lead to falls, but there are a number of other blood tests that ought to be performed. A test for electrolyte levels, complete blood cell count (CBC), and kidney function check are worthwhile. If the senior is diabetic, take along their blood sugar level log and glucometer for the physician to analyze as well.
At Live Free Home Health Care, an award-winning provider of home and memory care in Concord, NH and the surrounding communities, we’re always readily available to do home safety evaluations to prevent senior falls. Our in-home care services are a good solution to enhance both independence and safety for older adults as well. We are able to provide transportation to medical appointments and tests, assist with walking and transferring, run errands, take care of housework, and more. Call us at 603-217-0149 for a no-cost consultation today!