5 Ways to Prevent a Fall in the Home


Review Medications and Health Conditions

The elderly person with a huge pillbox is a stereotype for a reason -- elders do tend to be on more medications, and many drugs can contribute to the risk of falling. Dizziness is a potential side effect in a wide variety of prescription medications, including those for common conditions like overactive bladder and chronic pain. Diuretics prescribed for high blood pressure can cause leg cramps, which can wreak havoc in a person who already has compromised mobility.

Side effects aren't the only medication concern to take into account -- all types of medications (we're talking about vitamins and herbal supplements, too) have the potential to interact with each other in a negative way. Everything that you take, even if it's something seemingly harmless like an aspirin, should be discussed with a doctor. We all react differently to medications, and reactions can change over time.

It's also important to discuss all health conditions and concerns. You may not immediately associate a problem like urinary incontinence with falling, but a 2000 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that there's an increased risk of falls among women who experience it. More obvious conditions that can increase the risk are associated with poor vision problems, such as cataracts or glaucoma. Decreasing the risk may be as simple as getting a stronger glasses prescription. Finally, your doctor can assess your balance and gait, or the way that you walk, which can indicate underlying problems.

Now that the doctor's visit is out of the way, let's look at potential fall-inducing culprits around the home.