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Your Next Doctor's Visit

If you are 65 years old or older, your doctor should consider your risk for falls at least once each year. But don’t wait until he or she asks you.  You should tell your doctor about anytime you have fallen, whether or not you were hurt. 
Falling or almost falling gives your doctor important information about your health. Falls do not always mean that you are getting weaker, you can fall as a side effect of the medicines that you are taking or how much of those medicines that you take. Changes in your eyesight can also make you more likely to fall. It will be important to tell the doctor if you were wearing your glasses or contacts when you fell, and when the last time was that your eyes were checked. The doctor may also ask you what time you fell or almost fell because eye problems can make seeing clearly harder at night, for example.
If the doctor asks you about your house it is because sometimes there are things that you can do to make your house safer-even if it is just increasing the watts of your light bulbs to 100 to make things easier to see. He or she may also ask what you were doing when you fell. Simple changes like moving your pots and pans or dishes in your cabinets can make you less likely to fall if you are stretching and fall. The doctor may also ask about any pets and talk about your safety. The question is not whether to keep the pets, but what you can do to live together safely.
For your convenience, we have developed a form that you can fill out and take to your next doctor’s visit. It has the information that you need to help your doctor make a decision about what may be causing your falls and what you can do about it. Remember, many falls are preventable. Staying on your feet helps you stay at home! 

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