We all know that even seemingly minor falls can be more dangerous for older people than younger ones. Older people are more likely to fall for a number of reasons. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you count on the staff there to do everything possible to minimize your family member’s risk of falling.
However, you need to know if they’ve had a serious fall or are frequently falling. Moreover, a doctor should check them out fully after each fall. The full extent of their injuries must be determined. They also need to find out if there are underlying problems that contributed to the fall and that could put them at risk of future falls or other medical issues.
After an elderly person falls, a doctor should review the medications they’re taking to see if they may have caused or contributed to the fall. Sleeping and anxiety medications can affect alertness and balance. So can medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and pain.
Certainly, some (if not all) of your loved one’s medications may be necessary. However, they may be taking medications that aren’t required or that can be replaced by others that don’t have side effects that increases their fall risk. If they need to remain on meds that can make falls more likely, the staff should take precautions to keep your loved one safe.
After a fall, a doctor should check an elderly person for signs of a new or undiagnosed illness or condition. If they (or you) have noticed increased weakness or other new symptoms indicating that something is wrong, the doctor needs to be told. Weakness can be a symptom of a host of conditions including anemia, pneumonia, heart problems and an abnormal blood count.
If your loved one is developing problems with their balance or gait, it could be simply part of the aging process. However, it could be a symptom of an underlying neurological condition.
Make sure that they have the proper prescription for their glasses. If they need a cane or walker, make sure they’re using it regularly.
Falls shouldn’t be a normal part of life for anyone at any age. If a loved one is injured in a fall in a nursing home, make sure that any issues that caused it are being addressed.