Elderly citizens face many dangers, but falling is one of their most dangerous foes. According to the statistics of the National Council of Aging, every fourth senior above their 60s falls each year. They also point out that falls are the cause of more than 2.8 million injuries, with 800.000 of them serious enough to be treated in hospitals. Stairs and the bathroom are the two most dangerous areas, but experts often forget about the bedroom. After a long-night sleep or a peaceful afternoon nap, elders are still dizzy and numb while trying to get up, which leads to an accident. While a medical alarm system is the perfect way of calling for help in the case of a fall, bed alarms are effective solutions to help prevent a fall.
Reducing Fall Risks
Bed alarm systems don’t actually sound an alarm when the elderly falls, but instead help preventing it by notifying a family member or caregiver. There are three major types: alarms with bed pads, motion sensors and pull cords. All three of them aim to detect in some way or another that the elderly resident vacated a bed. Mind you, the alarm doesn’t necessarily mean that the senior actually fell. Instead it prompts the caretaker to check on the aging resident, and help them reach the bathroom or stand up properly from the bed. Such care and attention puts the senior’s mind at ease and they won’t try any reckless moves on their own. According to a study conducted in an urban hospital, elders quickly accept using a bed alarm.
Bed Pad vs Motion Sensor vs Pull Cord Systems
Bed alarms may differentiate depending on what technology is used to trigger the alarm. Bed pads are thin, comfortable cushions with a sensor inside them. The pad should be placed under the sheets where the senior’s shoulder blades or hips are. The remote alarm will be triggered when the body stops pushing the sensor. However, the alarm stops ringing when a weight is reapplied to the pad, avoiding false alarms when the elderly is tossing around the bed. However, the system can be cheated by putting a heavier object on the sensor, which is why you shouldn’t buy it for “wandering” seniors.
Motion sensors are bit more advanced, since they silently sit at the bedside of the elderly, and detect if someone sneaks by. However, some false alarms may occur in case the aging resident owns a pet, or a lively grandchild runs into the room.
Pull cord alarms are the best way to avoid false alarms. There is a magnetic pull-tab attached to the basic alarm that goes off when the tab is de-attached. The cord has a clip on its other end that sticks to the back of a senior’s night attire, where they can’t reach it. When they leave the bed, they pull the cord out, and the alarm starts ringing.
Recommended Bed Alarm Systems
After presenting the three most common types of bed alarm systems, let us give you a good example for each of them.
Smart Caregiver TL-5102MP Motion Sensor and Pager
Secure Patient Monitoring Magnet Pull Cord Alarm
Wireless (Cordfree) Bed Alarm and Bed Pad
Medical Alert with Fall Prevention vs Bed Alarm System
The big question is: can bed alarms substitute a medical alarm system with a fall detection button? The answer is a resounding no. The previously mentioned study pointed out that bed alarms don’t prevent falling in a significant manner, but they worked equally effectively as the help buttons. They draw the conclusion that mostly hospitals benefit from using bed alarms, as these bed alarm solutions are much cheaper compared to medical alarm systems. For independence seeking seniors a help button offers better coverage, and it can accompany the elderly residents to the shower and garden. The monitoring staff is also able to send help when there isn’t a caregiver nearby. However, if you have a bed-ridden family member, or your aging relatives can’t get up from the bed, a bed alarm is a good addition beside the medical alarm system.
The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019
|Editor's Choice 2019|