According to the Alzheimers Association, nearly "six in 10 people living with dementia will wander at least once; many do so repeatedly."
Wandering is a common symptom of dementia and can happen to anyone at any stage in their condition. Because of this it's very important to pay attention and recognize any indicators that a loved one is developing a habit of wandering.
These signs can include:
- Confusion of where they're at or who they're with
- Forgetting how to get to familiar or frequently visited places
- Expressing a desire to “go home” even when they're at home
- Becoming increasingly restless and making repetitive movements
- Asking the whereabouts of past (even deceased) friends and family
One way to address wandering at home and ensure your loved one does not experience a fall injury is to implement a bed alarm. Bed alarms are devices specifically designed to help prevent wandering and notify you if your loved one is experiencing increased confusion and wandering.
These alarms are designed to detect any movement or changes in pressure within the mattress - sending a notice to your smart devices (oftentimes a phone) anytime your loved one gets out of bed.
How A Bed Alarm Improves Safety for Dementia Patients
If your loved one is in the early or middle stages of dementia, it isn't uncommon to notice new challenges with their coordination and mobility. This is often because dementia can negatively affect the way your loved one interprets information visually - how they see and identifying an obstacle (tripping hazards, furniture in the way, etc.) becomes much more difficult.
And unfortunately this can lead to a serious fall injury.
It can also be worrisome to think that your loved one might wander out of the house on their own. By installing a bed alarm, you will be notified anytime they may move from their bed.
Do Bed Alarms Prevent Falls?
Although there are limited studies on the correlation between bed alarms and fall prevention, we know from working with families that these devices can be a great tool to reducing fall risk dementia patients.
This is because bed alarms are the best solution to making sure you are made aware of any movements made, especially during the night. In fact, it's estimated that 30% of falls can happen in the bedroom - oftentimes in the nighttime when lighting is limited.
By installing a bed alarm you're not just preventing wandering but can prevent any unsafe rolling out or stepping out of bed that could cause a fall injury.
The Top Bed Alarms For All Needs
As with most solutions for the home there are a variety of bed alarms for dementia patients available and the solution that will be right for your loved one mainly depends on their specific needs, stage of dementia and comfort.
Below are three of the top bed alarms that we often recommend to families.
Val-U-Care Bed Alarm
The Val-U-Care Bed Alarm is one of the best options if you are looking for a cost-effective solution. Using motion sensors, the alarm can be set on any flat surface near the bed to detect movement when your loved one gets out of bed without assistance. This set includes a battery-powered audible alert and is small enough to be carried in a pocket.
Though, because of its limitations to sensor movement on the mattress, we only recommend the Val-U-Care bed alarm if you aren’t worried about your loved one’s ability to safely get out of bed on their own.
- Can be set on any flat surface or mounted to a wall
- Option to be battery-powered or plugged in
- Detection field is approximately 15 feet long and 30 feet wide
- Pager alerts you from up to 150 feet away
Smart Caregiver Wireless Bed Alarm System
The Smart Caregiver Wireless Bed Alarm System is a cordless bed sensor pad you can put under the bed sheets. This device is a great solution to monitoring any movement within the bed and being alerted before your loved one attempts to get out of bed on their own.
In addition, the alarm pad is soft, latex-free and can notify someone with sound from over 300 feet away.
- 10”x30” cordless and weight sensing
- Sensor pad is soft, latex-free, vinyl and has a foam interior
- Wireless monitoring with a range up to 300 feet
- Adjustable volume and gentle chime alert to not startle users
Comfortable Floor Mat Alarm
Similar to the Val-U-Care bed alarm, this comfortably floor mat alarm should only be used if your loved one is still able to safely get out of bed on their own. Though this product can be a great option if your loved one is uncomfortable with having the bed alarm under the bed sheets.
- Pressure applied to the mat triggers the alarm monitor
- Exit Alarm Monitor will automatically reset when the patient's weight is re-applied to the mat or pad
- Monitor will flash an alert light to notify the caregiver that its battery level is low
We realize that caring for a loved one with dementia at home can be overwhelming. That’s why we believe home modifications, such as a bed alarm, not only keep your loved one safe but also ease your own burden and worry about home safety.
And as your loved one's condition progresses it can be crucial to prepare for additional changes the home needs to keep them as safe, mobile and independent as possible. If you need help finding additional products or would like to work 1:1 with an expert to address safety throughout the home please contact our Client Care Team today. They will be able to connect you with appropriate solutions and provide you with comprehensive information.