Medical-alert devices offer peace of mind

Eighty percent of seniors have at least one chronic condition and 68 percent have two or more, according to the National Council on Aging.

A new analysis of 145,000 users of a medical-alert service revealed seniors with common chronic conditions, including COPD, diabetes and heart conditions, fell more than their peers who did not have any of these conditions.

In fact, seniors with COPD fell 42 percent more, while diabetes patients fell 30 percent more. Those with heart conditions fell 29 percent more. With so many people affected by chronic disease and at risk of falling, it is important to take steps to help seniors maintain their everyday routines without worrying.

Seniors should feel empowered to live an active and independent lifestyle and feel safe while they do it. If you are — or care about — a senior suffering from chronic conditions, you can take steps to reduce the risk of falls and help yourself on your way to peace of mind.

• Have one primary care physician. More than one medical team can complicate things. Having one primary doctor to “own” your conditions will let your case be managed holistically. Further, keeping your doctor in the loop about your symptoms, questions or concerns is key.

This person can be a tremendous re-source, while also providing the clinical advice and support you need.

• Manage your medications. Having several chronic conditions can come with the burden of several medications with different side effects. For older adults, managing these medications can be quite a challenge.

Dizziness and disorientation have been reported with some medications, which can affect your fall risk. Consult your doctor, who can explain the risks associated with the medications you have been prescribed while playing an active role in your treatment regimen.

• Adjust your home to fit your needs. Easy changes to the home, such as adding ramps and bathtub rails, for example, can impact your lifestyle positively and increase your home’s functionality.

• Consider medical-alert devices. If you do fall, such devices can automatically ac-cess a response associate if it detects falls that otherwise would not be reported and will help you get the assistance you request.

Having a medical-alert device can also help you avoid the medical complications associated with long lie times.