The number one type of call that Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) responds to is FALLS. In fact, falls continue to be a national public health issue. Falls are a major threat to health and independence of older adults, people aged 65 and older. Each year in the United States, nearly one-third of older adults experience a fall. About one out of ten falls among older adults result in serious injury, such as a hip fracture or head injury that requires hospitalization. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults.
As you age, your risk for falls increases. However, falls are not a normal part of aging. Many falls can be prevented, especially if you know where to look. By making some simple changes, you can lower your chances of falling. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), “certain medications, as well as combinations of both over-the-counter and prescribed drugs, can increase the risk of falling…when it comes to managing medications, a thorough medication review is very important for older adults who are at risk for falls.”
It’s important to work with you pharmacist and/or physician to address the following medication concerns:
• Medication duplication
• Medications that can cause falls and confusion
• Medications that can cause cardiovascular issues, such as low/high blood pressure or a low pulse
• Inappropriate use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
• Reviews for effectiveness of opioid prescriptions
Additional medication management tools and information can also be found through the Washington Poison Center, (800-222-1222). When you contact the Poison Center, you receive free and confidential health treatment advice from specially trained nurses and physicians.
The Washington Poison Center has several resources to assist with medication management:
- Medication Management Self-Assessment
- Medication Calendar
- Medication List Development Guide
- Medication List Worksheet
- 10 Medication Questions to Ask Your Provider or Pharmacist
Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington (ALTCEW) has an award winning program to help adults 50 years old and over, with chronic health conditions and who take multiple medications. Contact ALTCEW at 509-960-7281 to learn more about their program.