Seniors are at a higher risk of being injured in falls due to age-related changes, both mental and physical. These changes make it harder for them to retain balance. New studies indicate that many of these falls can be caused by medications.
According to a study conducted by the Korolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, up to half of the prescribed drugs that seniors take increase fall risk significantly. Many of the most commonly prescribed medications, for example, pain medications and antidepressants, were the biggest culprits in increasing the risk of a fall. A large percentage of these prescription drugs that were studied were the cause of severe injuries.
In addition to pain medications and antidepressants, analgesics and other medications that have a direct impact on the central nervous system were found to have a high risk of causing a fall.
Currently, there are close to 50 million seniors over the age of 65 in the United States, and the majority of them are on prescription medications of some kind. Most of these are on multiple medications. According to the National Center For Biotechnology Information, approximately 33% of these seniors are taking at least eight or more medications each day.
It is important for physicians to use extreme caution in prescribing medications and take into consideration the fall and injury risks associated with some of them.
It is extremely important for the caregiver or home health aide of a senior citizen to monitor the intake of prescribed medications. It is also equally important for physicians to be aware of any changes made to the medications of a senior.
Our CNAs and Personal Care Aides receive ongoing training throughout the year and can help monitor your loved one’s medication program. They can watch for signs or side effects or drug interactions that may increase drowsiness, dizziness, and other fall risks. Regular communication with the senior’s physician can also help to identify dangerous reactions to medications.
Allcare’s home care team is here to assist with activities of daily living which includes monitoring for any changes in behavior that might be a sign of drug interaction. Call us to schedule an in-home assessment with one of our experienced RNs.