Elderly Lives Matter®

Memory care resident safety challenges

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

People who have dementia-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, may not be able to live on their own, so they may move into a memory care facility that’s supposed to provide them with care that they can’t get at home. Residents of these facilities have specific care needs that they count on the staff members to provide. This can include everything from keeping them away from dangerous areas to ensuring that they take their medications properly.

Failure to provide adequate care can lead to significant harm to these residents. In some cases, inadequate care may constitute neglect or abuse. Understanding the nature of certain safety risks, and how they might be reasonably mitigated, can help loved ones determine if a resident is not receiving the care that they’re due.

Wandering or eloping

Wandering and eloping are common for individuals with dementia. It’s a significant safety hazard because residents may attempt to leave the facility. This can lead to exposure to passing traffic, getting lost or being placed in unsafe conditions. Memory care facilities use secured exits, monitoring bracelets and strategically placed alarms to minimize these risks.


Falls are common due to factors like impaired judgment, physical weakness and the side effects of medication. These can lead to severe injuries, including fractures and head traumas. Facilities focus on fall-prevention strategies, including using non-slip flooring, installing handrails and grab bars and ensuring that areas are well-lit. Residents should be evaluated for fall risks when they move into the facility and periodically after, including when they have changes in medications or medical diagnoses.

Medication management

Memory care residents may not be capable of managing their medications due to their cognitive impairments. The risk of medication errors, such as overdoses or missed doses, can lead to resident harm. To combat this, memory care facilities set strict protocols for administering and tracking medication.

Legal action may be warranted if staff members abuse or neglect a resident. Because the harm to residents is so severe in many cases, swift action is a priority. Having a legal representative who can uphold a resident’s rights and get a case moving can be beneficial accordingly.

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