While falls are not a common aspect of living with dementia, there are some symptoms that can make people with dementia more at risk. People living with dementia can have the same health conditions that do increase the risk of falls just as much as people who don’t have dementia.
There are several factors that do put people with dementia more at risk for falling and injuries.
Falling and Dementia
Having dementia alone does not necessarily increase your chances of falling. But there are unique aspects of dementia that do contribute to them.
Medications that are used to help people with dementia can cause dizziness, drowsiness, dropping blood pressure, and other issues that can cause someone to lose their balance.
People with dementia can often experience mobility problems. This can come about from their medication, as mentioned, but also blurred vision and lack of movement or physical activity throughout the day can weaken muscles and make you lose your balance easier.
Due to the effects of dementia, your very environment can be a hazard zone. Dim lighting, sharp corners, things on the floor, like cords, shoes, or toys for pets or kids, single-toned furniture, and other problems.
Even someone in familiar areas can forget and have problems remembering where the washroom is, how to get inside or out, or where certain items are kept.
Especially those who may be prone to wandering off can get very confused and end up injuring themselves. Forgetting where things are, stairs, and other obstacles on the ground can be dangerous.
How You are Feeling
The mood that someone is in, if they are angry or frightened, if they are in pain, or just looking for something to eat or drink. The person can lose sight of where they are going and why.
Looking for the washroom or the kitchen and not finding it where they think it should be can be very frustrating for someone with dementia. Even boredom can cause someone to wander around looking for someone or something to do.
Keeping People Safe
Whether in your own home or for those living in a memory care home, there are adjustments you can make to ensure the safety of your loved one.
Keep Furniture Apart
Overcrowding furniture, couches, tables, lamps, and footstools need to be at a safe distance from each other. There needs to be easy accessibility for people to move between them without bumping into them.
Arrange the furniture so you have easy access to plug-ins, curtain controls, and cupboards or shelves.
Furniture with soft arms and edges are better, in case there is a fall, the person will not be at such high risk for injury. Also, if there are throw rugs or mats around, they can cause slipping. Carpets that are peeling up at the edges, as well.
Get Rid of Clutter to Prevent Dementia Falls
Keeping as much stuff out of the way as possible will help a lot. People without dementia can trip over cords, toys, pets, shoes, and anything else left lying around.
This goes for the outside of the home, as well. Rocks, tools, uneven walks, broken steps, and other tripping hazards.
Provide Visual Hints To Help prevent Dementia Falls
Using contrasting colors for things can help people with dementia differentiate one item from another. If things are all the same color or tone, it can be difficult for people to navigate stairs, define depth, and separate background from other things.
Keep the Lights On
Keeping rooms well lit will make it much easier for a person with dementia to get around. Darkness can cause accidents and alter their mood, as well. Small lights that work on a sensor to come on automatically will help a lot in dark halls, bathrooms, and dark corners.
Safe Footwear Can Help Prevent Dementia Falls
The type of shoes people wear can also go a long way in preventing falls and trips. Slip-on shoes, shoes with velcro fasteners, and a safe, non-slip bottom can be easier for them to get on and off and prevent a nasty fall.
Keep Necessities by The Bed
Wandering around at night looking for things is a cause of many accidents. Keep things they may need close at hand, like water, glasses, medication, tissue, and make sure there is enough light for them to see it.
Safety First- Prevent Dementia Falls
Keeping people with dementia safe and comfortable needs to be number one. It is difficult for people who may not be able to communicate very well or understand what is being said to them.
You can warn someone with dementia about the dangers around but they may not understand or retain it for more than a minute or two. Dementia affects everyone differently, but providing safety and comfort is all the same.
Looking for A Safe Environment?
At Sycamore Creek Ranch Memory Care we are here to help. We want families to make the best decision for their situation.
Furthermore, the staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that! Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!