October 21, 2015

More Causes for Elderly Falls

When it comes to causes for elderly falls, the causes are all over the place and depending on the type of doctor, they will tell you what causes them (in their opinion) very emphatically.

The following are some of the causes:
  1. Over medication (often for hypertension)
  2. Non-adherence to medications
  3. Loose rugs
  4. Unseen objects
  5. Systemic infection
  6. Antidepressants
  7. Dementia
    10. Delirium

Many falls are blamed on 5 and 6 above and physicians like to pick these. Falls in older adults are not accidents. Most of the time, they are related to a wide range of risk factors including older age, disabilities, muscle weakness, and many different medical conditions. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to fall.

I know a couple of elderly people (now living in nursing homes) that were afraid to move around their homes because of their fear of falling. Yet, for several years after moving into a nursing home, they lost their fear of falling. In talking with both individuals, they both expressed that they were not on as much medication and lower doses of other medications. One said she was on less medication for high blood pressure and the other person said he was on no antidepressants now.

The latest cause according to doctors is systemic infection. While this may be a cause for some falls, I see this as another method to over medicate the elderly and increase the risk of falls. This study, yet to be peer-reviewed, is one I would question. I can understand inner ear infections that cause a loss of balance.

Now is the time when we need more studies that can actually determine the cause of falls, not the supposed causes of falls. The list of possible causes may not be complete, but provides many of the causes.

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