If your elder parents are having repeated falls and you are apprehensive about what to do to help mom or dad stop falling, you might look into some of these reasons to look a little closer and hopefully find a solution:
- Body Changes: Changes in vision, lack of flexibility, less muscle strength, especially in our legs, and changes in sleep patterns. It is important to have an eye exam every year and wear glasses as prescribed. Exercise on a regular basis can increase muscle strength and flexibility and improve balance. Regular exercise will help you sleep better as well. You might want to check your parent’s glasses to see if they are broken due to a past fall. Might be time to have them repaired or replaced.
- Chronic Health: High blood pressure and heart problems can cause dizziness that can lead to falls. Remember to get up from a laying down position slowly if you have heart problems or hypertension. Many elders fall while trying to make a run for the restroom because of difficulty controlling bladder. Speak with your M.D. about what can be done for this condition. It may help reduce your risk of falling. Check to see if your parents have had recent lab work. Perhaps they have low or high blood sugar. Check on their eating habits. Often the elderly will only eat when hungry and seldom get hungry.
- Medications: Both prescription medications and over the counter meds can cause side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness. Speak with the nurse, physician, or pharmacist about your medication’s side effects. If the side effects continue, speak with your physician about changing the medication. Make sure to inform all of your doctors about what meds you are taking so that each one knows ALL of your medications. Take all of your medications, including over the counter ones with you each time you visit the doctor. This way they will be able to see exactly what you’re taking and how much. Speak with the doctor about prescribed medications your parents are not taking. Often more than one medication is prescribed and the elder parent might think, “I don’t really need to take both of the blood pressure medications”. Speak with the doctor if you’ve noticed certain medications are not being taken or if they are NOT taking medications on time. Maintaining that medications are given in a way to maintain healthy blood levels may be necessary. Tell the doctor if they are being taken sporadically. Today, there are automatic medication dispensers that will give your parent audible prompts to remind them it is time to take their medications. But if you feel it is time to have someone supervise medications in your elder parent’s home, please give us a call and I will personally go and assess the situation. Thank you.