Columbus – Certain types of medications and drug combinations can cause dizziness, drowsiness and confusion and could contribute to a life-changing fall in older adults.
“One in three Ohioans over the age of 60 will experience a fall this year, and falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths among our elders,” said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, which coordinates the STEADY U Ohio initiative and is a partner in the Older Adult Falls Prevention Coalition. “Prevention starts by understanding the risks, and we thank our pharmacy partners for having this crucial conversation with their customers to identify medicines and interactions that could be putting them at increased risk for falling.”
Mind your medicines to prevent falls:
- Maintain a list of all the drugs you take. Include doses, frequency and prescribing doctor. Also include any over-the-counter medicines (pain relievers, antacids, cold medicines, etc.) or supplements you take. Bring the list with you to doctor’s appointments and when you pick up prescriptions.
- Read the label. If it says “may cause dizziness or drowsiness,” or cautions against driving, ask about the best time to take it to avoid falls. Also ask about alternative treatments with less hazardous side effects.
- Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. If you find it hard to stick to a medication schedule or if you have trouble telling medicines apart, your doctor may have some ideas to help. Similarly, ask your doctor to write detailed directions on how and when to take your medications.
- Talk to your doctor about changes to your eating habits (such as a low-fat or high-calcium diet), as well as how much caffeine and alcohol you consume, as these can affect how your medicines work.
- Ask your pharmacist about easier-to-read labels and instructions if you have trouble reading warnings or directions on your medicine containers.
- Choose over-the-counter medications that only have the ingredients you need. Your pharmacist can help select the best medinines options for your symptoms.
In addition, STEADY U Ohio is asking all Ohioans to help take “10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls” by attending a local fitness walk or taking a walk in their own neighborhoods during September and posting a selfie to social media with the hashtags #PreventFalls and #10MStepsOH. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov to learn more and find a walking event near you.
About STEADY U Ohio – Falls are an epidemic among our elders and are the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospital stays and deaths in Ohioans age 65-plus. STEADY U Ohio is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative led by Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Aging, and supported by Ohio government and state business partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities, identify opportunities for new initiatives and coordinate a statewide educational campaign to bring falls prevention to the forefront of planning for individuals, families, health care providers, business and community leaders and all Ohioans. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov.
Information for this story was provided by the Ohio Department of Aging.