An older man goes over his medications to see if he is taking any medications linked to falls.

What comes to mind when you think about fall prevention for a loved one? Adding more lighting? Removing clutter and other tripping hazards? Keeping the floors clean and dry? These are all important components to preventing falls in the home, but there’s another common culprit to consider: medications linked to falls.

Many older adults are taking multiple medications, often prescribed by different doctors. That is why an essential first step is requesting a comprehensive overview of all medications being taken. The older adult’s doctor will be able to provide information on which medications or combinations of medications generate an increased risk for falls. They may even suggest alternative treatment plans that reduce or even eliminate medications to avoid dangerous falls.

Which Medications Are Associated With Increased Fall Risk?

There are certain medications linked to falls for older loved ones due to their impact on:

  • Blood pressure. Medications for males with an enlarged prostate and those prescribed for high blood pressure may cause an abrupt drop in blood pressure. This is especially common for an older loved one taking one of these medications upon standing, an issue called postural hypotension.
  • Cognitive function. Medications such as antihistamines, sleep aids, muscle relaxers, and those that help with vertigo or motion sickness can increase drowsiness or cause sedation. They can also cause or worsen confusion, especially for people who have Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.
  • Blood sugar. Medications to regulate blood sugar levels for those with diabetes can occasionally cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can result in dizziness and a heightened risk for falls.

What Should You Do if a Loved One Is Taking Medications Linked to Falls?

First, make a list of all the medications the person is taking. This should include any supplements, prescription drugs, and any OTC medications. Write down how many times the person takes each medication, the dosage, and any other notes and comments. With the list in hand, schedule a consultation with the person’s primary care physician.

The goal is to better understand which medications are increasing fall risk on their own, in addition to whether any mixture of meds could cause any negative reactions. Ask for answers to the following questions:

  • What is each medication for? You’ll want to know exactly why the medications have been prescribed for the individual. Find out if there are any other options to bring about the same results without an increased risk for falls.
  • What are the positives and negatives of continuing to take a medication? Carefully think about the advantages of taking a medication that increases fall risk, along with the harmful ramifications of stopping the medication.
  • Is a lower dose possible? It may be possible for the doctor to prescribe a decreased dose while still gaining the same benefit and lowering troubling side effects and fall risks.

Falls for older adults can be extremely dangerous and debilitating. With the doctor’s guidance, it may be possible to implement a plan to help minimize this risk for someone you love.

Home Care Can Help!

At-Home Care Company’s skilled caregivers can offer transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, medication reminders, fall risk assessments, and a steadying hand to aid in safe walking, transfers, showering, and more. Contact us at 515-292-2650 for additional details on how in-home care services can help improve safety in the home for someone you love! At-Home Care Company provides services in Story City, Ames, Huxley, Boone, Nevada, and the nearby areas.