While helping Mom prepare lunch yesterday, 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 was not hurt. Because there was no injury, there was no need to see the doctor. After a short break, the two of you went about the remainder of the day as scheduled.
However, even without an injury, an event like this actually does call for medical follow-up. Falls can occur for a variety of reasons, and it’s essential to look for the cause in order to prevent future falls. Make an appointment for the older loved one immediately, and ensure that the physician checks for the following:
High or Low Blood Pressure – Two Ways
Blood pressure should be tested while the older adult is sitting down, and again while standing upright. Blood pressure medication along with other medications may cause a drop in blood pressure if the individual gets up, causing lightheadedness, dizziness, and even fainting. Yet only one out of three doctors check blood pressure levels while a senior is standing up.
Stability and Gait
The physician should conduct a gait examination, watching for any problems with balance or walking. If a problem is noticed, it may be the result of pain in the joints, back, or feet. Planning for physical therapy is an excellent next step to manage balance and gait problems.
Underlying Health Problems
Point out any other issues you have seen in the senior along with the concern about falling. There are certain medical conditions that may result in the weakness that may lead to a fall, such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- And more
Low Vitamin D
Inadequate levels of vitamin D can be connected to an elevated fall risk. It may cause bones to become weaker, leading to the chance for a fracture or break in the event of a fall. The doctor can decide whether a vitamin D supplement is advised, and if so, what the right dose should be.
A full summary of all of the medications the older adult is taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, is needed to reduce the possibility for a subsequent fall. Many medicines raise the threat of falls, and it may be that the doses could be altered or medications stopped entirely. Specifically, ask the doctor about medications the senior may be taking for:
- Depression or anxiety
- Overactive bladder
Blood sugar levels or sodium levels that are too high or too low can contribute to falls, but there are a variety of other blood tests that should be done. A test for electrolyte levels, complete blood cell count (CBC), and kidney function check are worthwhile. In the event that the senior is diabetic, take along their blood sugar level log and glucometer for the doctor to analyze as well.
At Compassionate Nursing Services, a provider of home care in Clayton, MO and the surrounding communities, we are always on hand to conduct home safety assessments in order to avoid senior falls. Our aging care services are an excellent solution to enhance both independence and safety for older adults as well. We are able to provide transportation to medical appointments and tests, help with walking and transferring, run errands, take care of housework, and so much more. Call us at 314-432-4312 for a complimentary consultation today!