For seniors with dementia, the condition often gives them an urge to wander. It can also have a negative impact on coordination, and this combination increases the risk for falls, which is why a varied approach to intervention is often needed to prevent falls in seniors with dementia. Caregivers need to diminish—if not entirely eliminate—multiple risk factors. Ahead, find out more about preventing fall-related injuries in seniors with dementia.
1. Know the Risk Factors
Before you can implement an effective risk-reduction plan, you need to understand the risk factors. Your parent’s risk factors will be specific to his or her health and needs. Your loved one may have poor nighttime vision, which makes him or her more likely to fall at night. Perhaps he or she has arthritis in the knees, which makes it difficult to walk up and down stairs. Make a list of all the factors that contribute to your parent’s fall risk, then start finding ways to mitigate them.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Columbus live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.
2. Check for Medication Side Effects
Seniors with dementia may have more than one chronic illness. If so, they probably have a long list of daily medications, and some of these medications could have side effects that increase the likelihood of falls. Research every prescription your loved one takes, looking for side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, worsened balance, and confusion. If you find that any of your parent’s medications have these unwanted side effects, ask your parent’s doctor if there are any safer alternatives.
3. Increase Bone and Muscle Health
Your parent is less likely to fall if he or she has strong bones and muscles. If your parent has lost muscle or bone mass, try to implement a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Vitamin D supplements can strengthen bones, as can calcium-fortified milk. If your loved one is sufficiently mobile, consider signing him or her up for a senior-friendly exercise class. Exercise that focuses on strength and balance, such as yoga and Pilates, can reduce the risk of falls. If an exercise class would be too taxing for your parent, consider finding him or her a physical therapist. A physical therapist can create fitness regimens tailored to your parent’s needs and assess his or her gait for signs of muscle weakness.
4. Safeguard the Home
To lower your parent’s fall risk, you may have to make safety modifications to the home. Make sure the living environment is free of tripping hazards. Electrical cords, loose rugs, and clutter are the primary offenders. If your parent has poor vision, make sure each room is well lit. Consider using higher-wattage bulbs in frequently used lighting fixtures. For seniors who tend to use the bathroom at night, make sure the route from the bedroom to the bathroom isn’t too dark. Consider high-wattage night-lights or motion-detector lights.
Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Columbus families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.
5. Safety-Proof the Bathroom
A large percentage of senior falls occur in the bathroom. To protect your loved one from the slippery surfaces, pay extra attention to bathroom safety. Install grab bars throughout the room so your loved one has something to reach for if he or she falls. Slip-free bath mats, raised toilet seats, and transfer benches are also helpful.
Elderly people with dementia are more likely to fall and injure themselves. If you follow the steps above, you might be able to help your loved one avoid falling and getting hurt. When searching for reliable Columbus elder care agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more. If you need professional care for your loved one, reach out to one of our professional, friendly Care Managers today at (614) 481-8888.