According to the CDC, each year, one in every three adults ages 65 or older falls and 2 million are treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries. And the risk of falling increases with each decade of life. The long-term consequences of fall injuries, such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), can impact the health and independence of older adults. Thankfully, falls are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, many falls can be prevented. Everyone can take actions to protect the older adults they care about.
A recently released study in the European Journal of Public Health shows a correlation between commonly prescribed medications and the risk of falling. Pain killers and antidepressants are particularly cited as potential risks contributing to falls.
“This is a very important study as we always discuss medications with any patient we evaluate for balance or falling issues.” said Michael McKindley, DPT. “We can not stress enough how important it is for the elderly, their families, and caregivers to pay attention to how they feel when taking various medications. This study highlights how certain drugs, especially painkillers and antidepressants, can contribute to dizziness and feelings of instability, which can lead to tripping and falling. It is also important for the elderly to be proactive and maintain an active lifestyle to keep muscle loss at a minimum. Physical therapy can provide guidance and instruction on proper exercises, strength training, and core stabilization, that are age and condition-appropriate, to prevent these incidents and hopefully avoid serious injury. We always recommend that patients consult with their physician when they have questions about their medications and how it effects their daily activities.”