Dr.Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC
There are many problems that come to mind regarding the more serious risks associated with aging – falls are usually not at the top of that list. But, reports are finding that falls can be as serious for the elderly as heart attacks and strokes (Caring.com).
The risks associated with falls are innumerous. “Falls are one of the most common health problems experienced by older adults and are a common cause of losing functional independence. Given their frequency and consequences, falls are as serious a health problem for older persons as heart attacks and strokes,” the guideline panel co-chair Dr. Mary Tinetti, of Yale University School of Medicine, said in a journal news release.
According to the American and British Geriatrics societies, elder care programs and doctors’ offices should consider updating their guidelines to include fall screening and prevention. If patients show signs of muscle weakness, poor balance or a significant drop in blood pressure then they should take precautions to prevent falls in the future.
Some precautions include:
• Exercises to improve balance, gait and strength, such as Tai Chi or physical therapy.
• Making changes to reduce the risk of falls in the home and while doing daily activities.
• Reduction of medications, particularly those that affect the brain, such as antidepressants and sleep drugs.
• Boosting low blood pressure and managing heart rate and rhythm abnormalities. (Caring.com)