Falls are a preventable threat to the independence and health of those living with dementia. Arm yourself with the following fall prevention tips. Learn how you can reduce the risk of falls.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for seniors, with one in three adults over the age of 65 falling every year. Older adults with dementia are up to 60 percent more likely to fall, putting them at a greater risk of sustaining injuries, which can lead to hospitalization and immobility.
“Falls are a major, yet preventable, threat to the independence and health of older adults, especially those living with dementia,” said Jennifer Tucker, vice president at Homewatch CareGivers. “Armed with these falls prevention tips, family members can reduce the risk of falls and make a huge difference in the life of their loved one.”
Seniors are five times more likely to be hospitalized from a fall than from any other cause. Knowing signs, symptoms and prevention strategies can help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.
“Falls among the elderly can be caused by a variety of risk factors, such as physical weakness, gait and balance deficit, medication side effects and unsafe home environments,” added Dr. Jette Hogenmiller, executive director of quality and outcomes at Homewatch CareGivers. “People with dementia are at an especially high risk of falling due to memory loss, poor judgment and visual misperception, which are often associated with the condition.”
Drawing from its 33 years of experience, Homewatch CareGivers is releasing the following falls prevention tips to help family caregivers care for their loved ones with dementia:
- Arrange for adequate lighting. Dementia can damage the visual system and cause illusions and misperceptions. Make sure the home has enough lighting in each room to reduce visual difficulties. People with dementia might misinterpret what they see, so reducing dark areas and shadows is vital.
- Provide visual cues. People with dementia can have difficulty separating similar colors (such as the same carpet on the stairs and on the floor) and setting objects and their background apart. It is helpful to define the top and bottom of a staircase through the use of contrasting colors.
- Clear walking paths inside the home. Those living with dementia can have a hard time recognizing the danger of a loose rug, unsteady footstool or electrical cords stretched across the floor. Removing tripping hazards and keeping pathways clear can help prevent falls.
- Keep important things by the bed. A major issue for people living with dementia is confusion at night. Restless nights can leave them tired and unsteady. To help prevent wandering at night, keep important items on a bedside table, including water, a light source, eyeglasses, tissues and the telephone.
- Consider unmet needs. A person living with dementia may start to wander as their condition progresses. This may lead them into unsafe areas. Wandering often signifies an unmet need a senior is trying to satisfy. For example, they may be looking for a telephone because they usually called their wife at 5 p.m. Instead of trying to physically stop the wandering, try distracting or redirecting their activity to avoid raising a person’s anxiety or frustration level.
For the complete list, please visit http://www.homewatchcaregivers.com/dementia-care-tips/preventing-dementia-related-falls.aspx
Programs and Information
The U.S. government’s CDC offers various materials
and resources for all audiences about older adult falls and what can be
done to prevent them. These resources are for the general public, public
health officials, and anyone interested in programs that aim to prevent
- Brochures and Posters (in English, Spanish, and Chinese)
- Fact Sheets:
- Preventing Falls: What Works―A CDC Compendium of Effective Community-based Interventions from Around the World
- Preventing Falls: How to Develop Community-based Fall Prevention Programs for Older Adults
Founded in 1980, Homewatch CareGivers now spans more than 210 franchise locations in six countries that provide caregiver services to aging, disabled or rehabilitating individuals. The Homewatch CareGivers University educates caregivers on the specialized care needs of their clients and creates a higher quality care environment. Homewatch CareGivers also offers professionally developed programs such as Pathways to Memory™, for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and Chronic Condition Care, a service specifically tailored to the needs of those living with long-lasting ailments. For more information, please visit www.HomewatchCareGivers.com