Dementia Fall Risks
Seniors with dementia are 10 times more likely to fall than other seniors, according to this study. This is due to the fact that dementia introduces unique fall risks aside from the standard reasons seniors may fall.
The following are some reasons why individuals with dementia are more likely to fall:
- Mobility, balance and muscle limitations
- Vision changes make depth, colors and objects harder to discern
- Medications that cause drowsiness, dizziness or lower blood pressure
- Slower processing of their surroundings or sudden situation changes
- Memory difficulty can make it hard for patients to find their way
With falls being the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among the elderly, it is crucial that caregivers of patients with dementia put extra effort into preventing falls.
Top Fall Prevention Products for Dementia
The following are some products that can be very helpful for preventing falls:
When a patient is at risk of falling, the less walking they have to do, the better.
Not only does this bed rail make getting out of bed safer, it can help prevent the need to get out of bed with its handy storage pouch that can store important items such as water, glasses, a phone handset, tissues, etc.
This “chair cane” is a comparable product for use when sitting in a recliner or chair. Like the bed rail, not only does it make it easier for the patient to get out of the chair, it helps circumvent the need to get up by providing a convenient place to keep important items close at hand.
Help patients avoid the need to stretch and bend, which may lead to falls, with this ergonomic reaching aid that brings more items into the user’s reach without exerting more effort.
3. Pedicure Set
Foot pain and uneven nails can negatively effect a patient’s gait. Proper foot care is therefore an important part of fall prevention – and this kit is a great place to start!
Patients with dementia are often prone to wandering – and wandering often leads to falls. To help prevent dangerous midnight wanderings, use a patient alarm that will alert you as soon as the patient starts getting out of bed or their chair. Patient restraints are also used to prevent wandering for low functioning individuals with dementia.
This is a big one. With the bathroom being one of the most dangerous rooms in the home for anyone at risk of falls, there are countless products to help make it a safer room for everyone. Grab bars are commonly recommended – but there’s so much more you can do. Whether your patient or loved one needs a toilet safety rail, an elevated toilet seat, a transfer bench or shower chair, or one of many other bathroom safety products, there is a full category worth of browsing for you to do here: Bathroom Safety Products.
Other Fall Prevention Tips for Dementia
There are many important things to keep in mind when ensuring that your patient or loved one’s environment is fall risk free. Here are some easy things you can do to keep them safe at all times:
- Monitor medications and, with the help of your medical professional, try to eliminate medications that are increasing the patient’s fall risk (specifically sleep aids and narcotics) and aren’t absolutely necessary.
- Keep all living areas clear of clutter and tripping hazards, including throw rugs and uneven flooring.
- Install adequate lighting throughout the home.
- Help the patient to the bathroom regularly to avoid hasty trips when the need becomes pressing.
- Use visual cues to remind patients where to go.
- Schedule annual eye exams; vision issues are the primary cause for falls!
- Avoid bifocals, which can confuse patients’ depth perception and make it difficult to climb steps.
- Try vitamin D, which studies have shown can decrease chances of a fall.
- Only use mobility aids as recommended by your medical professionals. If it is recommended, keep it in a place that’s within easy reach and very visible so it isn’t forgotten.
- Keep noise level down to avoid triggering anxiety, which can make dementia sufferers nervous and unsteady and ultimately lead to falling.