When you were helping mom make lunch the other day, 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 did not get hurt. Since there was no injury, Mom didn’t need to go to the doctor. Following a quick rest, both of you went about the remainder of the day as planned.
However even if there was no injury, an occurrence like this does indeed require a post-fall checkup. Falls can occur for a number of reasons, and it is crucial to ascertain the cause to prevent falls in the future. Schedule an appointment for the older adult as soon as possible, and make sure the doctor checks for the following:
Elevated or Low Blood Pressure
Blood pressure must be checked while the older adult is sitting down, and once more while standing up. Blood pressure medication along with other medications might cause a drop in blood pressure levels as soon as the individual gets up, triggering dizziness, lightheadedness, or 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 assessment, watching for any difficulties with walking or balance. If an issue is detected, it may be caused by pain in the back, feet, or joints. Planning for physical therapy is an excellent next step to address balance and gait issues.
Underlying Health Issues
Point out any other symptoms you’ve noticed in the senior in addition to the concern about falling. There are a number of health conditions that can result in the weakness that may trigger a fall, such as:
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- Parkinson’s disease
- And more
Low Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D can be linked to an increased fall risk. It can also cause bones to become more fragile, leading to the possibility for a fracture or break in the event of a fall. The physician can decide whether a vitamin D supplement is recommended, and if so, what the proper dose should be.
A full summary of all of the medications the older adult is taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, is required to lessen the chance for a future fall. Many medicines increase the likelihood of falls, and it may be that the dosage can be modified or medications stopped entirely. In particular, 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 lead to falls, but there are a variety of other blood tests that should be conducted. A test for electrolyte levels, complete blood cell count (CBC), and kidney function check are worthwhile. If the senior is diabetic, take along their blood sugar log and glucometer for the physician to review as well.
At Grace Home Care, a provider of senior care in Topeka, KS, we’re always readily available to perform home safety evaluations in order to prevent senior falls. Our senior care services are an excellent way to enhance both independence and safety for older loved ones as well. We are able to provide transportation to medical appointments and tests, help with walking and transferring, run errands, manage housework, and more. Call us today at 785-286-2273 for a no-cost consultation today!