As people grow older, their chances of suffering from painful falls increase. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that accidents are among what causes most deaths in senior adults. And patients with dementia are at higher risks.

Now, dementia isn’t a specific disease. It is a collective term which explains several symptoms including memory loss or decline in other thinking skills. Experts say that, when individuals with this disease trip, they can get life-threatening injuries. Fall prevention strategies are therefore wise, as they’ll help reduce accidents and incidents.

Although preventing falls altogether is never easy, there are some steps people can take and minimize the risks. Here are five ways of preventing falls among older adults suffering from dementia.

  •       Provide Adequate Lighting and Reduce Clutter

Usually, dementia damages one’s visual system and causes illusions as well as misconceptions. Seniors with it can misinterpret what they see. It is therefore wise that caregivers reduce dark areas and shadows in their homes. Provide sufficient lighting in each room of your house as this helps minimize visual difficulties.

Also, piles of books, low coffee tables, bags, and boxes can become tripping hazards. Neatly arrange your house and keep it free of clutter. But even as you declutter inside, do the same outside your home. Outdoor areas should be clear of objects like rocks and leaves. There should not be any dips in walkways or uneven grounds.

  •       Check Their Slippers

Older adults enjoy wearing warm sandals. But, if they’re worn out, then they could increase their chances of falling. In fact, reports indicate that sandals are what causes many accidents at home in older adults. Get rid of slippers which don’t have backs or firm grips. We are advised to purchase the ‘bootie style’ soft sandal shoe which looks like boots. Alternatively, they can completely substitute sandals with non-slip socks.

  •       Offer Visual Cues and Keep Important Things by Their Beds

Sometimes those ailing with dementia can have difficulties separating similar colors. For instance, it can be confusing if your house has the same color carpet on stairs and floors. These patients may also struggle in setting objects and their background apart. Using visual cues which will aid them to differentiate objects and places is therefore helpful. E.g. if one’s floor is brown, they can purchase an orange carpet.

Keep their essentials close. According to Jane Byrne, project coordinator for a nursing home in Dublin, “The primary problem with dementia patients is confusion at night. Restless nights don’t only leave them tired but unsteady too. Keeping essential items on their bedside tables will aid in preventing wandering at night. Include tissues, water, telephone, a source of light and eyeglasses near them.”

  •       Set Up Grab Rails

Think of any areas in your house where someone might struggle with mobility. Such as, the entrance of your house especially if there are steps one takes before reaching your front door. Others include stairs, bedrooms, bathrooms, and low seats or armchairs. These are all places one goes from sitting to standing positions or have to step-up. Well-positioned grab rails would come in handy as they’ll offer extra support when an individual is almost tripping.

But even as you do that, be aware of slippery surfaces like bathrooms. Again, watch out for places with shiny floor tiles since senior adults can get confused thinking that the area is wet. Hence they can try stepping over and can trip. If your house has many rugs and mats, consider removing or holding them on the ground with gripping tape. Doing that prevents these carpets from sliding around.

  •       Lower Sudden Loud Noises

Telephone sounds or doorbells may make persons with dementia turn quickly, which means they’ll become disoriented, dizzy and may fall. In as much as they should be able to hear clearly when other people contact them, sudden loud noises are dangerous and pose risks too. Setting their phones to ring for quite some time is crucial as this allows them to get up from wherever they are and answer it without rushing. Bear in mind that if noise becomes too loud and sudden, it can cause anxiety and nervousness, which can make these patients unsteady on their feet.

Preventing accidents is not easy. But, these five tips can assist minimizing falls in seniors with dementia. Keeping help on hand is also advisable. Being able to call for help quickly is necessary. Professional caregivers advise using various forms of remote technology like fall alert bracelets or auto detector in case of emergencies.

Author's Bio: 

Holly Clark has been working in the care industry for 5+ years as a project coordinator. She regularly blogs about both the personal and practical challenges of caring and is always actively working on producing informative content. Holly is currently writing for Firstcare.