A dementia diagnosis often means that many changes need to be made to your loved one's routine and care plan. While dementia does not directly cause seniors to fall more often, the condition does generate symptoms that increases their risk for falling. Since a single fall can be devastating for a senior who wants to remain independent, you need to implement these strategies that help them stay safe at home.
People tend to become so used to their home that they can practically walk through it on autopilot. Seniors with dementia benefit from having a familiar layout that helps them easily maneuver around potential obstacles such as a small step leading to a new room. Unfortunately, senior adults with dementia sometimes start to wander, and your loved one may leave their home and venture into unfamiliar territory. Encountering a slippery surface or a sudden drop off when they are in a confused state sets them up for a fall. If your loved one is beginning to wander, arrange for in-home care services so that someone is with them during the times of the day that they try to leave their home.
Pay Attention to Toileting Habits
A senior with dementia may also experience challenges trying to get to the restroom. For instance, they may forget to use the restroom until the last minute and fall as they try to rush to make it in time. Help your loved one to set an alarm every few hours to remind them to try to go to the bathroom. You can also do things such as put a sign on the door to the restroom to make it easier for them to find when they are in a state of confusion.
Monitor Their Health During the Day
Seniors with dementia may forget to do things such as eat and stay hydrated. Doing so can lead to symptoms such as dizziness. A senior who forgets to take their medication or does it incorrectly can also feel fatigued and a sense of vertigo. Talk to your loved one about arranging for in-home care. With these services, a caregiver can check on your loved one's overall well-being throughout the day so that they are less likely to experience symptoms that place them at risk for falls.
A senior's fall risk goes up after a new dementia diagnosis. However, many of the biggest risks can be minimized by taking action. Be sure to add fall risk prevention strategies to your loved one's dementia in-home care plan so that they can continue to age in place safely.