Did you know that seniors with dementia are eight times more likely to fall than seniors without the condition? What’s more, falls are the leading cause of injuries both fatal and nonfatal among older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether your family member lives with you or in a facility, there are steps you can take to help him or her prevent falls.
Health Issues & Medications
Most importantly, be aware of your loved one’s health issues, all of which may contribute to a potential fall. These may include poor eyesight, trouble with mobility, poor balance, muscle weakness, and other factors. If your family member takes medication for any of these health issues or medications to manage their dementia symptoms, talk with their doctor about which prescriptions may contribute to falls, and potential alternatives.
Evaluate your loved one’s living space and remove all potential fall risks, such as clutter, loose rugs, excess furniture, and anything that may hinder his or her movement. Install grab bars in hallways, showers, stairs, and other challenging areas, and add extra lighting in frequently used areas like the bathroom. Make sure that his or her shoes fit well and are free of dangling laces and other obstacles.
As dementia progresses, your loved one may be unable to recall where certain things are such as the restroom. Dementia care specialists recommend putting pictures on doors of rooms to indicate what is behind them. For instance, putting a picture of a toilet or shower on the bathroom door, or a picture of a bed on the bedroom door, can help reduce confusion for your loved one so they can better navigate the home safely.
Consider asking your loved one’s doctor for a referral to a physical and/or occupational therapist. He or she can evaluate your family member to determine whether assistive devices such as a cane or walker would help them maneuver around the home. Also, keep up with regular eye exams, as vision problems can arise quickly in seniors and are a leading cause of falls.
If you are unable to accompany your loved one to his or her medical appointments, consider hourly care services in Columbus. With the help of an hourly caregiver, you can rest assured that your loved one has reliable transportation to their appointment, accompaniment during the appointment to ensure that all doctor recommendations are understood and help at home to carry out such recommendations and ensure overall safety.
If your loved one is able to perform physical activity, keeping up a regular exercise routine can help increase strength, flexibility and balance, not only preventing falls but reducing the risk for serious injury if he or she does fall. Talk with his or her doctor to get recommendations about what kind of exercise would be beneficial.
As dementia progresses, symptoms such as wandering may put your loved one at higher risk for falls and they will likely require around the clock care and monitoring. Because many family caregivers have full-time jobs as well as their own family obligations, professional caregivers from reliable Columbus home care agencies can help to fill in the gaps in care, maximizing safety and ensuring comfort 24/7.
Home Care Assistance of Columbus is a leading provider of in-home senior care, offering advanced dementia and Alzheimer’s care for seniors and older adults. Call us today for more information about our care services and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager. 614-481-8888 – we’re here to help 24/7.