What is one of the biggest fears, as you watch your parents, grandparents, or some other aging relative live out their golden years? Particularly if they live alone, you likely experience a growing concern about your loved one falling.
Numerous strategies work for the prevention of falls as adults age. If, however, your fears are realized and your loved one does experience a fall, what’s next? The first thing, naturally, will be to see to their well-being. Possibly they just had a little stumble and can walk away with nothing more than some soreness and possibly a bruise. They may have cut themselves, so that will have to be examined to see if it needs suturing. (As we age, our skin can become practically paper-thin, and will tear easily.) They may have experienced a more severe injury and need advanced medical attention.
When a Loved One Falls
In addition to the above-stated injuries that could result from a fall, there is the problem of figuring out why your loved one fell. Maybe they just tripped over a loose rug (which should be removed from their home immediately), or it may have been something more serious. Certain medications can cause dizziness, and thereby falls. They may have lost consciousness. There are many possibilities.
If your loved one takes a tumble, though a doctor knows their job and will likely be very competent when it comes to checking them over for injuries, the cause of the fall, etc., it never hurts for you to be vigilant. Let’s look at some of the things you might want to make sure get done by a doctor if your loved one falls.
Home Safety, Podiatry, and Vision Referrals
Possibly the reason that a fall occurred has something to do with – and be remedied by – a home safety evaluation, a bit of podiatry care, or vision check/evaluation.
Evaluation for Neurological Conditions or Underlying Heart Conditions
Differing from “acute” types of illnesses that can cause a fall, these are classified as being chronic. With their blood pressure system or their heart, they may have developed a chronic problem and, because of it, are now falling. For example, the heart may race if they experience paroxysmal rapid atrial fibrillation.
Parkinson’s disease or some other chronic neurological condition can also cause falls. Inquire with the physician if either of these is a possibility.
Low Vitamin D
Falls in older adults may be reduced by treating low vitamin D levels. Additionally, fragile bones can result from not having enough vitamin D. Very generally speaking, 800 to 1000 IU of vitamin D daily is appropriate for adults in their golden years.
Balance and Gait
The way in which your loved one walks – their gait – should be carefully examined by a physician or physical therapist. The balance should also be checked.
The older adults get, the more medications they tend to take, generally speaking. Sometimes these medications can have adverse effects on balance, consciousness, etc. You may want to ask your loved one’s physician about any new meds that may be having an undesirable effect on them.
A blood test is never a bad idea after a fall. Sodium may be too low or too high, kidney function and electrolytes should be checked, a complete blood cell count should be done, etc.
When standing and sitting, a pulse reading and blood pressure check should be done. This is particularly crucial if you worry about your loved one falling, or they have already fallen. It might have to do with fainting or lightheadedness, which could be associated with a drop in blood pressure.
Check for Underlying Conditions
If an older adult is experiencing delirium, weakness, or simply not feeling well in general, a check for underlying issues is almost always done by a doctor. If you’ve noticed any recent symptoms, be sure to draw their attention to them. Falls can be brought by the following:
- Mini strokes or strokes
- Heart problems
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Urinary Tract Infection
Your Loved One Can Live Out Their Golden Years in Better Health and Safety At Discovery Commons At Wildewood
Your loved one can participate in our Dimensions Health and Wellness Program, for better health and a bit of exercise. Across every aspect of life, the program focuses on well-being and is fully inclusive. It covers areas such as spiritual, social, intellectual, medical, and physical. Stimulate your loved one’s spirit, body, and mind through the incredible atmosphere and abundance of amenities available at Discovery Commons At Wildewood.
Let us treat you to a delectable chef-prepared lunch – on us, of course – when you schedule a tour of our community. To contact us, call 301.960.3895, or fill out our convenient online form.