As the leaves begin to change and the air turns crisper, September brings with it National Fall Prevention Awareness Month. It’s a time to shed light on the importance of taking proactive steps to prevent falls, particularly for our senior population. While there are numerous factors that contribute to falls among older adults, one often overlooked aspect is medication adherence. In this blog post, we’ll explore how adhering to prescribed medications can play a pivotal role in fall prevention. However, we’ll also caution seniors about the potential side effects of certain medications, which can lead to dizziness and increase the risk of falls.
Managing Chronic Conditions
Many seniors rely on medications to manage chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. Consistently taking these medications as prescribed by their healthcare provider is crucial to keep these conditions under control. When chronic illnesses are well-managed, seniors are more likely to maintain their physical strength and overall health, reducing their susceptibility to falls.
Maintaining Mental Clarity
Some medications are prescribed to help seniors manage cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Adhering to these medications can help seniors maintain mental clarity and reduce the risk of confusion or disorientation, which can lead to falls.
Promoting Bone Health
Certain medications, such as those prescribed for osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, can improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures resulting from a fall. Staying compliant with these medications is essential to reap the full benefits of bone protection.
While medication adherence is crucial for overall health, seniors must be aware of the potential side effects that some medications can cause, specifically dizziness. Dizziness can significantly increase the risk of falls, even in individuals who are otherwise healthy. Some steps to take to address these concerns:
- Open communication with healthcare providers: Seniors and/or their caregivers should maintain open lines of communication with their healthcare providers, both prescribers and their pharmacist. It’s essential to discuss any side effects or concerns related to their medications. Prescribers can adjust dosages, switch to alternative medications, or provide guidance on managing this issue. Pharmacists can be a great resource to counsel on new medications and address new symptoms arising from medications.
- Monitor medication schedules: Using MedMinder, seniors can keep a record of their medication schedules, including the timing of doses. Some medications may be more likely to cause dizziness shortly after consumption. Being aware of these patterns can help seniors plan their activities accordingly to minimize the risk of falls.
- Balance and strength training: To counteract the effects of dizziness, seniors can engage in balance and strength training exercises. These exercises can improve stability and reduce the likelihood of falling, even if dizziness is a side effect of their medication.
- Fall prevention measures: Lastly seniors or their caregivers should implement fall prevention measures in their homes, such as removing tripping hazards, installing handrails, and ensuring proper lighting. These precautions can help mitigate the consequences of a potential fall.
National Fall Prevention Awareness Month serves as a timely reminder for seniors to prioritize their health and safety. Medication adherence is a vital aspect of maintaining health, especially for those managing chronic conditions. However, it’s equally crucial to remain vigilant about potential side effects, such as dizziness, which can increase the risk of falls. By staying informed, maintaining open communication with healthcare providers, and taking proactive steps to address medication-related dizziness, seniors can enjoy a safer and more stable life this season and beyond.