Worried about falls in an older parent or relative? If so, do you know if their doctor has considered the most useful fall prevention approaches?
Fall risk can be reduced, but it generally takes some thought and effort. That’s in part because most older adults have multiple factors making them vulnerable to falls.
In a related article on this site, I’ve explained that best fall prevention plans involve identifying an older person’s particular risks — especially risks related to health conditions — and trying to counter those.
So for instance, if an older person has diabetes and is having frequent moments of low blood sugar (also known as hypoglycemia), then to reduce falls, addressing the hypoglycemia is as important, if not more, as starting an exercise program.
In other words, I always recommend that aging adults and families learn to tailor their fall prevention plans. You want to focus on what are the most important modifiable risk factors for that individual person.
That said, over the years I’ve noticed that there are four approaches that I find myself using over and over again, in almost all my patients who have had repeated falls.
These four approaches are used often by geriatricians, but much less often by busy primary care doctors. Unless, that is, a proactive family asks about them.