Why do people with dementia fall more often?
The human body is inherently unstable and complex regulatory mechanisms are required to maintain the upright position and prevent falls. These mechanisms begin to fail with normal aging, as manifest by abnormalities of gait and balance. Patients with dementia display much greater than expected impairments of gait and balance compared with age and sex-matched controls.
Other contributing factors include:
• Impaired visuospatial ability
• The ability to recognise and avoid environmental hazards
• Lewy Body and vascular dementias increase falls
• Memory loss can cause falls when a person thinks they are living in the house of their childhood, a previous home, or that a door leads to outside
• People may even forget they can’t walk
Why are falls more serious for people with dementia?
They are more likely to fall than the equivalent cognitively normal elderly population.
• Serious injury is more common
• Less likely to make a satisfactory recovery from injury
• More likely to be institutionalised
• After a fractured neck or femur, have a higher six month mortality
This page was last updated on 12th November 2012