Why You Should Talk to Your Pharmacist About Fall Prevention
Taking several medications at once is a normal way of life for many of us. Unfortunately, some of these medications have side effects that may increase your risk of falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one in four seniors fall every year, often causing injuries and other complications.
The good news is that medications can be a relatively easy adjustment to make when it comes to fall prevention. That’s why it’s important to speak with your doctor or pharmacist regularly to review your prescriptions. Keep reading to find out which medications to look for to reduce your medication fall risk.
Three Medications That May Increase Your Risk of Falling
There are three common types of medication that can exacerbate our risk of falling. These include:
- Medications that lower blood sugar
- Medications that affect blood pressure
- Medications that affect the brain
If you’ve been prescribed a medication that addresses any of these areas, your doctor or pharmacist can give you more information about possible side effects that may increase your medication fall risk. In fact, your pharmacist may be the best person to guide you or your loved one in this area, since many older adults see more than one physician at a time. Your pharmacist should have a complete list of your current medications, so she or he will be able to give you the information you need to help prevent medication-related falls.
How to Prevent Medication-Related Falls
It’s recommended to have annual medication reviews to identify your risk of falling. It’s best to be proactive in this area, mentioning that you’re concerned about falling and you want to assess any medications that put you at increased risk. Here are a few questions to keep in mind after your review:
- Are the possible side effects worth the risk? Your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend an alternative medication if you find that you are taking a medication that could increase your risk of falling. If that’s not possible, consider whether the benefits of the prescription outweigh the risk.
- How can I manage my medication? Try not to skip a dose or take more medicine than prescribed. Doing so can increase your risk of medication-related falls. Consider using a pill organizer to keep your prescriptions organized and ask for help if you find you’re not consistent with your medication management.
- Do I need to take vitamins? In older adults, low vitamin D levels are associated with increased fall risk. A daily supplement of at least 800 units of vitamin D could help. Ask your healthcare provider if other vitamins are recommended for your well-being.
- Can I take it at night? To help ensure your safety, it might be better to take a medication that increases fall risk at bedtime. Before changing your medication schedule, you’ll want to check with your doctor first.
More Safety and Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors
In addition to regular medication reviews, we offer several great tips to reduce your fall risk. See our companion piece, “Falls Prevention in Seniors” for five tips to safeguard yourself or your loved one from falling. For Senior Home Safety tips, check out “When Home Is a Hazard: Assessing Fall Risk in Seniors.”
To learn more about the vibrant senior living options at Asbury’s continuing care retirement communities, please contact us today