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 ease the tumble, so she was not hurt. Because there was no injury, you did not call the doctor. After a short rest, both of you went about the rest of the day as scheduled.
However, even without an injury, an incident such as this actually does call for a follow-up with a medical professional. Senior falls can occur for a variety of reasons, and it’s important to look for the cause to stop future falls. Make an appointment for the individual right away, and make sure the doctor checks for the following:
High or Low Blood Pressure – Two Ways
Blood pressure levels should be tested while the individual is sitting down, and once more while standing up. Blood pressure drugs along with other medications may cause a drop in blood pressure levels once the person stands up, triggering 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 conduct a gait assessment, watching for any troubles with balance or walking. If a problem is noticed, it may be the result of pain in the joints, back, or feet. Arranging for physical therapy is an excellent next step to deal with balance and gait problems.
Underlying Health Conditions
Mention any other symptoms you have noticed in the senior in addition to the concern about falling. There are certain health conditions that can result in the weakness that can cause a senior fall, such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- And more
Low Vitamin D
Insufficient levels of vitamin D may be linked to a heightened risk of falling. It may also cause bones to become more fragile, resulting in the risk for a fracture or break in the event of a fall. The doctor can determine whether a vitamin D supplement is advised, and if so, what the right dose should be.
A detailed summary of all the medications the individual is taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, is important to lessen the chance for a future fall. Many medications increase the danger of falls, and it might be that the dosage may be modified or medications stopped altogether. In particular, ask the doctor about prescription drugs or supplements 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 variety of other blood tests that should be conducted. A complete blood cell count (CBC), kidney function check, and test for electrolyte levels are worthwhile. In the event that the senior is diabetic, take along their blood sugar log and glucometer for the doctor to analyze as well.
At At-Home Care Company, a provider of home health services in Des Moines, IA and surrounding areas, we are always on hand to perform home safety evaluations to avoid senior falls. Our senior care services are a great solution to enhance both independence and safety for seniors as well. We are able to provide transportation to medical appointments and tests, help with walking and transferring, run errands, and a whole lot more. Reach out to us at 515-292-2650 for a no-cost consultation today!