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Common Questions about Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Falls

Are dementia patients prone to falls?

Yes. People with cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s or dementia fall more often with severe enough complications to require emergency transport to a hospital.1

Learn more about why people with cognitive impairment are more likely to fall.

Why do dementia patients fall?

As the cognitive decline progresses, your loved one may experience issues with vision, perception,  balance, confusion and gait, all of which can contribute to falling. Other medical conditions -- such as cardiovascular disease, COPD and diabetes – and factors around the house may also make falls more likely.

Find out more about how Alzheimer's and dementia increase the risk of falling and serious injury.

What are the most serious consequences of a fall?

A fall can result in multiple consequences, including:

  • Bone breaks and fractures
  • Head injuries
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Complications from being prone and immobilized
  • Psychological effects
  • Financial impacts

Getting help fast can help reduce the impacts of a fall. If you can get up on your own, it's still important to tell your doctor about the tumble. If you can't get up, call 9-1-1 or use your medical alert system. Choosing a system like Lifeline with AutoAlert ensures emergency contact is made even if you can't press the button.2

Get the details on what happens after a fall and how automatic fall detection may reduce them.

How can we lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related falls with lifestyle changes and disease management?

Research indicates several nongenetic risk factors may increase the risk of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases later in life. These “modifiable” risk factors include:

  • Lowering their intake of saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Increasing their consumption of fruits, green and yellow vegetables, and fiber-rich grain products
  • Stay physically and socially active
  • Quit or don’t start smoking
  • Manage diabetes

Understand more about modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive issues.

Where are falls most likely to occur?

A fall can occur anywhere in and around the home. Here are some common places prone to slips, trips and falls:

  • Standing or spilled water
  • Cluttered floors
  • Tightly placed furniture
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Uneven flooring or terrain

Download our checklist of small home improvements that can increase safety and decrease fall risk.

What can I do around the house to reduce the risk of falling for my loved one with cognitive issues?

You can do a lot to decrease fall risk for your loved one, including:

  • Motion-sensing nighttime lighting
  • Assistive equipment like a shower chair
  • Grab bars and handrails
  • Secured cords and cables
  • Non-slip floor coverings
  • Smart furniture placement
  • Uncluttered floors
  • A medical alert system

Many insurance agents and local agencies on aging also provide in-home risk assessments.

Download our ebook for a room-by-room list of improvements and projects that can lower the likelihood of falls.

Can a medical ID help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia?

You can improve the safety of a wandering family member with a medical ID bracelet that includes vital information to first responders and other helpers. MedicAlert ID provides access to an up-to-date online health record. The information includes your loved one’s medical history and conditions, allergies, and medications. It can even indicate fall risk. MedicAlert ID’s 24/7 Wandering Support Program offers a community network including local law enforcement who can quickly locate missing persons and reunite them with a caregiver or a family member. Read more

How do a medical alert system and an ID bracelet help protect seniors who wander?

The National Institute on Aging recommends equipping wasndering loved ones with identification and communication capabilities to reduce risk.3 Lifeline has partnered with MedicAlert ID The combination of a bracelet like the MedicAlert ID and a medical alert system like Lifeline GoSafe 24 can help if your loved one gets lost, falls or can’t communicate clearly. Discover the benefits

Don’t disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking it, because of what you read here. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional consultation, diagnosis or treatment; it is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Always consult a healthcare provider if you have specific questions about any medical matter and seek professional attention immediately if you think you or someone in your care may be experiencing a healthcare condition or medical emergency. 


 

Chronic conditions and the high risk of falling. Tine Smits, Research Scientist, Philips Research; Andrea Ryter, Senior Global Product Manager, Philips Healthcare, Home Monitoring. http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/ENR/271586-Fall-Prevention-Report_FINAL.pdf

2AutoAlert does not detect 100% of falls. If able, users should always push their buttons when they need help. Button signal range may vary due to differing environmental factors.

3https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/wandering-and-alzheimers-disease

4GoSafe 2 coverage inside and outside the home is provided where AT&T wireless network coverage is available. Recharging of the GoSafe 2 button is done by the user as needed when connected to the charger.

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