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Medications and Balance Issues

Always seek the advice of a medical professional for guidance in how to address balance issues and other physical ailments. This blog does not replace medical advice from a physician.

I participated in a webinar this week about aging in place. It was hosted by a long-term care insurance provider and the guests were a doctor from Harvard Medical School and a home builder who was also a Certified-Aging-in Place Specialist(CAPS). You may read about CAPs here. I found the webinar guests' information interesting and thought I would share a couple of highlights with you.

The doctor mentioned that many people, as they become older, are often given medications to assist with various medical conditions. It might start off with cholesterol or blood pressure medicines and before a person knows it, they are taking more than four medications a day. This is where things might become tricky for someone to navigate. While the medication given is for the purpose of helping with one physical ailment, it may cause other problems that a person is not aware of such as having implications with balance. It is important to discuss all medications with your doctor to see if there are other options besides taking numerous medications. Losing one’s balance is often the reason someone falls, which can lead to a broken bone or a stay in the hospital.

There are things people can do to assist with balance in a home. Manufacturers are creating different style grab bars which can be placed in various locations throughout your home other than just a bathroom. Some grab bars are modern, some traditional and some have the look you may remember from institutional settings. Another interesting type of grab bar is called Sure Stand which is a floor to ceiling bar, and its function is to act as a grab bar to help a person go from a sit to stand position.

If you have stairs in your home and are still able to walk up and down them, you may want to consider adding a handrail to the opposite side of the existing rail. Having a handrail on each wall to hold on to can be a safer way to go up and down the stairs.

Certified-aging-in-place specialists, occupational and physical therapists are professionals who participate in continuing education on the latest resources available to help people prevent or lower risks for falls at home. People often make a call for help to create a safer home environment after a fall. Don’t delay in putting a plan together to create a fall prevention plan for your home.

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