Using data collected by the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, it was found that about 20 percent of all ER visits from 2014 to 2017 were people aged 60 or older. Those 90 or older had the highest rate of ER visits at about 86 out of 100 visits.
Accidental falls are a leading reason for emergency room visits. Chronic health conditions, car accidents, and illnesses like pneumonia or the flu are other common reasons for an ER visit. Are there specific health tests that can help lower the risk of an ER visit?
A yearly eye exam can help reduce the risk of an accidental fall. If your parents can’t see well, there’s a higher risk of them tripping over a curb, missing a stair, or walking into an object. Your parents should see their eye doctor once a year and undergo a vision test, test for eye diseases like glaucoma and cataract, and update their prescription if needed.
The other reason an eye exam is so important. Worsening eyesight can impact the ability to drive. If peripheral vision is worsening, your parents may not be seeing objects and vehicles approaching the blindspot. The haze around lamps or headlights can make it difficult to drive at night. You also don’t want your mom or dad following too closely and crashing into a car or object ahead of them.
Blood panels test for several things. They can check blood sugar levels, liver and kidney function, blood counts, and cholesterol levels. A blood test can check that your parents aren’t malnourished. It can look for red and white blood cell counts to determine if there are health issues like cancer.
Your parents’ iron levels, potassium levels, and thyroid function can also impact their health. A full blood panel is a good way to check for all of these possible health issues that could lead to an ER trip if they’re not managed correctly.
Blood Pressure Readings
High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. If your parent’s blood pressure is too high, it can cause dizziness, but it’s often hard to detect without seeing an elevated blood pressure reading.
Rather than face an emergency room visit due to a stroke, heart attack, or dizzy spell, regular checks of your parent’s blood pressure is important. They could also have a home blood pressure reader and keep track of it at home in between doctor’s visits.
Bone Density Tests
Finally, your parents should have their bone density scanned. It helps detect weakening bones and the early signs of osteoporosis.
What if it’s too late? Your parent went to the ER and needs help at home. Home care services are one way to make sure your parents keep up with doctor’s visits, doctor’s recommendations, proper nutrition, and medications. Call a home care agency to learn more.
If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Loudoun, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655.
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