The Increase in Senior Falls From Medications and How You Can Prevent Them
We’ve known for a while that there are certain medications that raise the likelihood of falls for seniors. Twenty years ago, a little over half of seniors were impacted by that risk; yet today, that number has increased dramatically – to a staggering 94% of older adults who are now in danger of senior falls from medications. Additionally, deaths from such falls are happening at more than twice the earlier rate.
Researchers who observed this growing concern also discovered that between 1999 and 2017, senior prescriptions for medications that escalate fall risk were filled more than 7.8 billion times. This consists of a spike from 12 million antidepressants in 1999 to greater than 52 million in 2017.
The study doesn’t expressly determine these medications as the source of fatality in the falls experienced, but indicates the need for further investigation into the dosages being prescribed. Joshua Niznik in the geriatric medicine division at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine notes, “We’re starting to understand now that the dose of the medication that someone is on is really what we should be looking at probably with the greatest level of scrutiny, and that really has a strong correlation with falls.”
It’s crucial for older adults and their doctors to work together to strike the perfect balance between managing the health conditions that necessitate these medications and preventing further complications from a fall.
Postdoctoral research fellow, Amy Shaver, from the University of Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions and lead writer of the study, states, “These drugs are all necessary medications, but there needs to be a conversation about risks and advantages, that pro-con conversation about: For this particular patient at this particular point in time, what can we do?”
What Medications Increase Fall Risk for Seniors?
Medications that are particularly associated with fall risk include those for depression, seizures, blood pressure management, pain, and psychosis, among others. Women are most frequently prescribed these types of medications, and those age 85 and older are experiencing the highest spike in fall-related deaths.
One step seniors can take to help is to get the home assessed for fall risk, and to follow through with any recommended safety precautions. Hired Hands Homecare is pleased to offer an assessment, scheduled at your convenience. We can also help decrease fall risk through:
- Making certain prescription drugs are taken just as prescribed
- Assisting with safe transfers and walking
- Encouraging seniors to engage in doctor-approved exercise programs to bolster balance, strength, and flexibility
- And so much more
Give us a call at (866) 940-4343 to learn more about our in-home care services and to schedule your assessment today! Visit our Locations & Service Areas page to see if our services are available in your area.