If you are a caregiver or family member of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), you may be aware that falls are a serious cause of long term injury (and even death) in elderly adults.
According to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 3 adults over the age of 65 falls each year. Of those individuals, nearly 20-30 % experience moderate to severe injuries that cause long term effects that may result in lack of the ability to live independently or maintain an active lifestyle. Therefore,a falls prevention program should be a vital aspect of implementing safety measures for every adult with AD.
Falls prevention safety programs can look very different for each individual, depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s disease your loved one has. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a thorough check of the home for risks is warranted. Checking for loose rugs, securing open stairways with gates, and safety proofing the bathroom (the number one place falls occur in the home) to prevent slippery surfaces is a must. Adding grab bars in the bathroom and perhaps a bedside commode are yet other ways to ensure long term safety from falls.
Falls Prevention for Those in the Later Stages of AD
When your loved one has dementia and/or becomes confused at night, (then consider the added risk involved when he/she takes medication or has a condition that causes dizziness), a higher level of intervention is a must. Thankfully, technology is keeping up with the demand, there are many new effective monitoring solutions for caregivers.
After evaluating your loved one’s risk for falls by assessing his/her physical impairments, activities, mobility, medications, previous falls (if any), and level of cognition, it’s important to implement a falls prevention program designed specifically for him/her.
There are many high tech devices these days that can help, including, mobility monitors, which allow caregivers to track a seniors’ activities. These devices keep track of situations such as how many times and when he/she gets up to go to the bathroom, alerting a caregiver of any risky situations that could possibly result in a fall.
Sensing devices include pressure sensing technology (such as a pressure sensing pad) that can be placed on a chair or on the bed with an alarm that goes off when the senior attempts to get up unassisted. The newest technology does not need any type of cords which improves the overall safety factor of these devices. Cordless pressure sensing floor mats are also available. These devices sound the alarm when the senior puts pressure on the mat. These mats can be placed next to the bed or near doorways to alert the caregiver when their loved one attempts to get up or walk out of a room unattended.
Learn more about safety for those with AD by joining our 25 lesson FREE course at Alzu.org by CLICKING HERE.