According to the World Health Organization, as a person ages, the risk for falls increases due to several factors such as changes in physical function, sensory input, and cognition.
A person living with cognitive impairment is two to three times more likely to experience a fall with serious injury than their cognitively intact contemporaries (Mirolsky-Scala & Kraemer, 2009).
Risk factors for falls are mainly due to Lewy Body Dementia, dementia related to Parkinson’s disease, psychotropic medication, visual-spatial perception, functional disabilities, and behavioral disturbances.
Here are some tips to prevent falls:
Remove any tripping and slipping hazards such as scattered rugs and electric cords.
Have in place good lightening and keep some form of light on especially at night for those who get up in the middle of the night.
Place frequently used items within arms reach.
Install grab bars for transferring.
Use a mattress alarm or include a bed cane for balance.
Engage in ongoing balance and strength exercises.
Instruct the individual to look down and pivot his/her feet in the direction he/she intends to move.
Wear proper footwear.
Do not communicate from another room; go into the room where the person is located.
When speaking, stand directly in front and at eye level of the individual.
Cue (either verbally or non verbally) the individual as to how and where to move.
Offer transfer assistance.
Vivian Green Korner, MA, Certified Dementia Practitioner, is a dementia care specialist in private practice. She works with families who need guidance, direction and help with decisions that they need to make when caring for an individual with dementia. Vivian’s goal is to support families with practical advice, solutions to deal with the many challenges and help families to find the best match to programs, services and professionals. Viviangreenkorner.com | 201.960.4277