While helping Mom prepare lunch yesterday, she turned around, lost her balance, and started to fall. Thankfully, you were able to get there in time to ease the tumble, so she didn’t get hurt. Since she wasn’t injured, you did not have to visit the doctor. After a short rest, the two of you went about the rest of the day as scheduled.
But even if there was no injury, an event such as this does indeed call for medical follow-up. Falls can take place for a number of reasons, and it’s vital to determine the cause of a fall in order to prevent them in the future. Make an appointment for the senior immediately, and be certain that the physician checks for the following:
High or Low Blood Pressure – Two Ways
Blood pressure must be tested while the older adult is sitting down, and again while standing up. Blood pressure medication as well as other medications could potentially cause a drop in blood pressure once the individual gets up, triggering lightheadedness, dizziness, and even fainting. Still, only one out of three doctors check blood pressure levels while a senior is standing upright.
Balance and Gait
The physician should conduct a gait examination, checking for any troubles with balance or walking. If a problem is detected, it may be a result of pain in the back, feet, or joints. Planning for physical therapy is an excellent next step to cope with balance and gait issues.
Underlying Health Problems
Mention any other conditions you’ve seen in the senior in addition to the concern about falling. There are a number of health conditions that could result in the weakness that may trigger a fall, such as:
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- Parkinson’s disease
- And more
Vitamin D Deficiency
Inadequate levels of vitamin D may be linked to an increased risk of falling. It may also cause bones to become weaker, leading to the possibility for a break or fracture in the event of a fall. The doctor can determine if a vitamin D supplement is advised, and if so, what the right dose should be.
A full review of all of the medications the older adult is taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, is warranted to lower the chance for a subsequent fall. Many medications increase the threat of falls, and it may be that the dosage can be modified or medications stopped entirely. Specifically, ask the physician 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 performed. 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 level log and glucometer for the physician to check out as well.
At Inspired Home Care, an award-winning provider of senior care in Algonquin, IL and the surrounding areas, we’re always on hand to perform home safety evaluations to prevent senior falls. Our senior care services are an excellent solution to enhance both independence and safety for seniors as well. We can provide transportation to medical appointments and tests, help with walking and transferring, run errands, manage housework, and more. Give us a call at 847-787-7572 for a complimentary consultation today!