Did you know that persons with dementia fall up to 3 times more often than individuals without cognitive impairments? In addition to age-related vision and mobility changes, dementia brings its own unique set of challenges that increase fall risk. Sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to figure out ways to keep your loved one safe. But don’t give up! There is a lot you can do that can really make a difference.
Here are 4 tips that can help reduce falls:
1. Boost the lighting, especially at night. If the person is sensitive to light at night, choose easy-on-the-eyes blue or green LED nightlights. If there is no outlet, use a motion activated nightlight as show in the photo to the right.
2. Use bright contrasting colors to overcome dementia-related problems with depth perception. For example, paint a 2” strip of bright paint or use a bright colored tape on a shower curb or step edges so each step doesn’t blur into the next.
3. Be bathing safe. Use a bath mat inside the tub and a bath chair. Install grab bars into the walls (no suction cup grab bars, as they can fall off). Use a low pile bath floor mat with non-skid backing (no flimsy floor mats that can “bunch up”).
4. Be flooring safe. Remove doorsills, area carpets, and clutter from walkways. If removing clutter causes distress (which it often does) then just reorganize the clutter into baskets or plastic crates so it doesn’t get underfoot.
You can’t stop all falls from occurring, but sometimes a few simple changes can make a big difference.