Thanks to brand new research, the American Geriatrics Society has just published its guidelines on how to treat falls and how to avoid them in the first place. For seniors falls can mean altered lifestyles, fewer trips outside the home, less independence and more isolation. Ironically, seniors often make matters worse by not disclosing a fall to family or physician … fearing losing independence. Medications – A Leading Cause of FallsExcessive medications, particularly of psychotropic drugs, are a leading cause of falls. They may have cumulative effects ” that lead to “unforeseen side effects,” notes the AGS Guidelines. Medications often are prescribed by different doctors that a senior may be seeing, and there can be a lack of communication and awareness of the combined effects of the drugs. Seniors and their families should be particularly aggressive about their medication needs. Customized Exercise Program A large body of evidence now supports the recommendation that exercise, in the form of resistance (strength) training and balance, gait, and coordination training, is effective in reducing falls. Vision impairment Aging is often associated with changes in visual acuity, development of cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other conditions that would suggest an effect on risk of falling. Vision concerns should be followed up with formal assessment and suggested treatment, particularly for cataracts. Dizziness When older people rise from a seated position, it’s not uncommon for their blood pressure to drop and for them to become dizzy and even disoriented. This condition, known as postural hypotension, is a common cause of falls. Your blood pressure needs to be checked in two positions – standing as well as seated, notes the Guidelines. Vitamin D Strongly RecommendedSeniors with suspected vitamin D deficiency should be routinely offered supplementation to reduce fall risk. People living in the Northeast and other areas with low seasonal sunlight levels should be evaluated for vitamin D deficiency. Feet and Footwear Common sense rules the day when it comes to aging feet. Well-fitting, comfortable shoes with non-skid soles are recommended. Age-Friendly Homes Many falls and other senior accidents occur at home and can be avoided with a bit of prevention. Many area agencies on aging and other senior programs can recommend or provide home screening services to identify problems. Most Falls Take Place At Home FallAlert Auto Fall Detector by LifeCall is an ideal solution for reliable fall detection in partnership with the LifeCall Medical Alert System. A stylish, wireless fall detector, FallAlert functions both as a standard manual medical alert button and as a fall detection system. The system offers a comprehensive way of managing your risk of falling 24-hours-a-day. Call LifeCall at 1.866.220.1212.
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