How to Reduce Fall Risk in Patient’s With Dementia

WomenPeople who suffer from dementia have a higher risk of falling than those without. Patients with dementia suffer from not only memory loss but reduced physical capacity. The reduced physical capacity paired with memory loss provides for a decline in the ability to independently perform activities of daily living and self-care. Poor physical capacity also provides for a higher fall risk than those without dementia. Research has shown that when patients with dementia fall, they are at a higher risk for a life-threatening injury due to the fall than those who do not suffer from the disorder. A high fall risk lifestyle requires safety modifications in the home to better protect patients with dementia. Safety in the home includes removing throw rugs from the floor and improving lighting in dim areas to reduce tripping hazards during the day and during nightly trips to the bathroom. The memory loss that accompanies dementia responds well to the use of daily routines and charts that allow for a cognitive reminder to perform certain tasks to avoid frustration. Another symptom of dementia is an inability to distinguish color differences of like colors. This makes it difficult to perform activities such as stair navigation due to the inability to see the difference of height of each stair due to color similarities. Falls on the stairs can be avoided by using a step to pattern and putting contrasting color strips on each stair to allow for patients to detect the change in color. A further safety assessment of persons with dementia and the home can be done by physical and occupational therapists. Other needs of the patient with dementia can include assistive devices such as a cane or walker, shower modifications to include grab bars and shower chairs and frequent eye exams to ensure a reduced fall risk. 

Posted in: Fitness, Health & Wellness

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