During winter, we know about the risk of falling on ice- or snow-covered walkways and driveways. But for people age 65 and older, a fall can be costly, devastating and life-changing.
The risk for our Medicare population doesn’t just exist outdoors. The dangers also lurk indoors. As their doctors, you can help!
Millions of people ages 65 and older — or more specifically, one out of four older adults — fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This doubles their chance of falling again, but many don’t tell their doctors.
Through our ongoing “Ask Away” campaign, we are educating our Medicare members about their fall risk and how to limit it. We are encouraging them to talk to their doctors about the topic.
Here’s how you can help
- Ask your older adult patients if they have fallen since their last visit.
- Talk to them about the consequences of falls, such as injuries, fractures, loss of the ability to live independently, limited mobility and decreased quality of life.
- Discuss the risk factors such as age, lack of activity, prescription drugs, hearing or visual impairments and unsafe home environment, including tripping hazards.
- Conduct a “timed get up and go” test during the patient’s annual wellness visit.
- Evaluate the fall risk and provide education, including recommendations and treatment such as an exercise program to improve balance, an eye exam, medication review, vitamin D and a bone mineral density test, if the patient is due.
- Suggest the use of a cane or walker and physical therapy, when needed, and follow up to make sure the patient is not having trouble following your suggestions and recommendations.
Please remember, ConnectiCare offers the SilverSneakers® program* at no cost to our Medicare Advantage members. For more information about fall prevention, please check out these CDC online resources.
*Members of our Medicare Advantage special needs plan as well as some of our employer group Medicare plans do not have the SilverSneakers benefit.
Tivity Health, SilverSneakers and SilverSneakers FLEX are registered trademarks or trademarks of Tivity Health, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. ©2019 Tivity Health, Inc.