Preventing Falls – New Tools and Resources

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There are new tools to help you avoid falls.

Now that it is fall, let’s talk about falls. September 22 (or the first official day of fall each year) is national Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This year we have some new resources to learn about and to celebrate.

Every year very unintended falls, those slips that come out of nowhere, lead to deaths, fractures, hospitalizations, and need for assistive devices. In addition, fear of another fall leads to changes in day-to-day activities. One ‘little oops’ can take someone from doing all they want to do to needing assistance and having restrictions. No one wants that.

Falls Risk Factors

Besides snow, ice, and rickety steps there are so many things that can increase your risk for falling. Below are a few.

Medications

  • Those that make you sleepy
  • Those that relax you or change your mood
  • Those that make your blood pressure drop too low or too suddenly
  • Those that make your blood sugar dip too low
  • Many pain medicines
  • Any medicine that makes your mouth and eyes really dry
  • Most of the over-the-counter sleep aids

Medical conditions

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Anything that makes your legs hurt
  • Pain in general
  • Obesity
  • Incontinence

In your home

  • Rugs
  • Cords
  • Pets that get under your feet
  • Steps

Other

  • Vision problems or glasses that don’t fit or aren’t the right prescription
  • Hearing problems
  • Using a cane, crutches, or walker in the wrong way

Wow, and this is just a partial list!

New Falls Prevention Resources

That is why I am so excited to tell you about some new resources from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). They released last summer the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI) toolkit. The toolkit can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html. You can find a checklist for your home. This will help you identify and fix any risks you might not have known about. There is a checklist to complete before you go to the doctor. It will help your doctor determine how much fall risk you have. The specific resources in the toolkit I encourage you to pull up are:

  • Stay Independent questionnaire
  • What Can You do to Prevent Falls brochure
  • Check for Safety home assessment guide

The STEADI toolkit has now been joined by a new toolkit that focuses more on the role of medications, medical conditions, and your physical function. This toolkit is the result of a collaboration between the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and the National Council on Aging. This ASCP/NCOA resource was announced on National Falls Prevention Day. It will be first unveiled in a webinar for pharmacists on October 18. You can learn more at the ASCP website.

Also, on the 2016 National Falls Prevention Day, the CDC has released new statistics about the realities of falls in the US. You can learn more here.

Let us provide a comprehensive assessment of your falls risks today! Your preventative steps today can keep you active in the future. You can contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Falling, especially after age 50 can change the course of the rest of your life. No wonder so much effort is put into preventing these falls.

What about falling away from what we’re called to do as Christians? Have you ever done something so terrible you feel like life will never be the same? Have you gotten caught up in activities that you later realize are not what God would want you to do? How far away did you fall?

How did you feel when you realized you had fallen away?

It’s often a big life event that reminds us that we fell away from God. Sometimes it’s an illness or birth of a child or death of a loved one. Sometimes it’s loss of a job or the end of a marriage.

How do you know if you have fallen too far? Could you fall so far that there is no return to God?

Ephesians 2:1-6 MSG

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

Amazing news! You are saved through amazing grace! There is absolutely nothing you can do that can separate you from God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 8:38-39 ESV

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, you can fall and hurt your body in a way that can’t always be fixed. But, if you decide to come back, you CAN NOT fall so far away from God that you can’t return. We are so blessed! God is so good!

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Medications to avoid when over age 65

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Since 1991 there has been a group of geriatricians and other physicians identifying medicines that might be inappropriate in people over age 65. Dr. Mark Beers originally led this group, so it is called the ‘Beers Criteria’. This list has been updated every few years. The most recent update was this month.

The medications on this list have SAFER and/or MORE EFFECTIVE options available.

Some of the reasons for medications to make the list include:

  • blood pressure lowering medicines that cause more dizziness and falls than other options
  • medicines with anticholinergic (very drying) effects that can have several negative effects including worsening memory
  • anxiety medicines that cause thinking/memory problems and falls
  • depression medicines that cause several problems
  • allergy medicines that cause drowsiness, driving accidents, and falls
  • medicines that are cleared from the body through the kidneys which slow down with age
  • medicines that are cleared from the body through the liver which can slow down with age
  • medicines that are ok at low doses but dangerous at high doses
  • medicines that can cause delirium
  • medicines that can worsen memory
  • medicines that can cause constipation
  • medicines that can make urination with prostate enlargement even more difficult

This year, for the first time, guidelines for safer options to replace these dangerous medicines were written. This is exciting news!

If you are over 65, please talk with your prescribers about these lists of potentially inappropriate medicines and these lists of safe alternatives.

For a personal evaluation of your medicines, please contact www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

In your daily walk with God, what are the most effective steps and activities? What does the Bible say you should do regularly?

And, where are the pitfalls? What should you avoid?

Just as the Beers List guides prescribers to select the most beneficial and safest medicines, the Bible guides our spiritual practices. Your heart, your tongue, your thoughts, your study, your time, and your actions are included in this guidance.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Colossians 3:5-10 ESV

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

James 1:19-20 ESV

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

James 1:22-27 ESV

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

There are certainly many more verses that guide our lives. These can be a start in developing a strategy to avoid inappropriate, dangerous behaviors and replace them with life-giving, holy options.

Blessings,

Michelle