You would think that doctors might eventually get the message. You would think it might finally sink in.
According to new research, seniors are significantly more likely to fall when they use psychiatric drugs. These drugs include antidepressants, antipsychotics, and sleep aids.
This is a new finding. But it’s not. Numerous times over the past 15 years, I’ve seen some variation on this research. And the results are always the same.
Among the elderly, these drugs can cause confusion and disorientation. They increase risk of dementia. So it’s no surprise that seniors often fall when using these drugs.
Obviously, when you tumble at an advanced age, you’re more likely to break a hip or an arm. You’re more likely to hit your head. And you can easily end up incapacitated. Then strength wanes. And quality of life diminishes.
I know two people in my own experience who took falls when they were elderly. The falls didn’t kill them — at least not right away. But tragically, in both cases, their falls set off a cascade of problems that led to their deaths.
If you help care for a loved one who’s elderly, keep close tabs on the medications they’re taking. Instead of solving problems, their drugs may be adding to the challenges of aging.
“Psychiatric drugs tied to falls in the elderly” Genevra Pittman, Reuters Health, 2/8/13, reuters.com