Medical Alerts for Seniors with Fainting

Medical Alerts for Seniors with Fainting

time icon 6 min read update icon Sept. 28, 2019


Seniors are twice as likely as younger people to experience fainting episodes. Fainting usually occurs when blood flow to the brain is reduced or stopped. The condition is a temporary loss of consciousness and can be a sign of an underlying condition. Fainting accounts for six percent of emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

As we age, the prevalence of fainting increases, as our bodies cannot cope with the decreasing blood pressure that often comes with age. Fainting is difficult to diagnose in seniors, due to the range of possible causes. 

Fainting Overview

Fainting, also called syncope, can occur for a variety of reasons.However, a specific cause for fainting cannot always be found. Fainting is common among older people and those who have certain health conditions, such as diabetes. There are a range of other medical conditions that can cause fainting. Those conditions include heart issues, seizures, low blood sugar, anemia and issues with the nervous system.

Studies show that fainting can occur as a result of genetics. While a medical condition may be sometimes indicated by fainting, fainting can also occur in an otherwise healthy individual. Fainting is especially dangerous for seniors, who can suffer serious injuries while fainting. In most instances, complete consciousness is regained within a few minutes of fainting.

Fainting Impairment

Fainting may happen for a variety of reasons, including dehydration, stress, certain medications, overheating, grief, exhaustion or illness. Standing for prolonged periods in hot weather can also cause fainting. Typically, a fainting episode occurs while standing and is preceded by a sensation of warmth, nausea, lightheadedness and impaired vision. If fainting is prolonged, a seizure can be triggered.

Many who faint can recover quickly, without any harmful consequences; however, there are instances when fainting can signal a medical emergency. Fainting shouldn’t be treated as a minor occurrence unless there is a certainty of no serious underlying cause.

Depending on the cause of the fainting spell, some or all of these impairments may occur before or during the episode:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Impaired vision
  • Pale, cool and sweaty skin
  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • A slow pulse
  • Frequent yawning 


If these impairments appear, it is important to lie or sit down. The affected individual should attempt to put their head between their legs. This is done as an attempt to restore adequate blood flow to the brain. If the impairments occur in warm or hot weather, attempts should be made to move the individual to a cooler location.

Medical Alert Benefits

A fainting episode may be sudden, or its symptoms may occur gradually. Medical alerts can be beneficial, as they allow an individual to have access to medical services as soon as they begin to feel dizziness, blurred vision or other symptoms. After a fainting spell has occurred, an individual can have immediate access to medical services in the event of an injury resulting from the fall. These alert systems not only help patients maintain a degree of security, but can also give them peace of mind that they can get the help they need when they need it.

Fainting symptoms include:

  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Paleness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin discoloration
  • Incontinence
  • Blurred vision
Safety Without Medical Alerts

Many people who experience fainting spells may opt not to receive medical alert services. To reduce feelings of discomfort, individuals may choose to maintain safety and security in other ways.

  • Weakness: If an individual begins to feel an overcoming sense of weakness, the individual should immediately adopt a natural breathing style that is relaxed and slowed. By altering the breathing style, the CO2 levels are corrected in the bloodstream. This in turn will help eliminate the feeling of losing consciousness.
  • Dizziness: If one experiences episodes of dizziness, they should avoid sudden movements. Additionally, the individual should immediately sit or lie down at the onset of feeling dizziness. Lying still with eyes closed in a darkened room can also improve the feelings of vertigo.
  • Dehydration: Not getting enough fluids usually leads to dehydration and can cause low blood pressure, weakness, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. In some cases, dehydration can be easily treated by drinking water or a sports drink. Seniors who are experiencing symptoms of dehydration should be prompted to consume liquids even when they aren’t thirsty. It would be ideal to keep fluids available within reach of the senior. This is especially important for seniors who have mobility challenges.
Fainting Precautions:
  • Move slowly: If fainting usually occurs while standing up from a lying down position, the individual should take care to move slowly when changing positions. Individuals should move deliberately using fluid movements.
  • Hydrate: Seniors should drink a minimum of four liters of water per day. Staying hydrated is essential to minimizing fainting from dehydration. Consuming more salt is ideal for those who are prone to faint from dehydration. Salt helps your body to retain water. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate amount for your individual health, as too much isn’t good, either.
  • Breathe: If one is feeling faint, the first step is to avoid taking in breaths which make the chest expand. This can be done by taking slower breaths and trying to breathe in through the stomach, rather than the chest. Also, once a breath has been taken, the breath should be held for a few seconds before slowly exhaling.
Fainting Medical Alerts Conclusion

Fainting can be caused by variety of reasons, from dehydration to standing too fast. If one is experiencing fainting incidents, it could also be an indication of a serious underlying medical issue.Fortunately, medical alerts allow those who faint to have easy access to emergency personnel. Medical alert systems allow medical history and medications to be readily accessible to medical personnel.

Also, if an individual has diabetes, low blood glucose or another condition that increases the risk of fainting, medical alerts can provide you with additional reassurance that help will be there in the case of an emergency.

T. Mashae Pearson - Senior Advisor

Shae is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.