Older people face many dangers every day, but falling is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to them unintentionally. According to a report by the National Council of Aging, every fourth older adult above their 60s falls each year. Though stairs and bathroom are the most dangerous places where they can fall, people forget about the bedroom.
After a long night sleep, elders are still feeling dizzy, and they are not much conscious, which may lead to an accident. If you are a caregiver or a person who wants to take care of his/her loved one even while sleeping, getting a bed alarm system, especially with a call button, can be a great choice. We have recommended and discussed the best bed alarm systems for the elderly in this article, so you don’t have to explore everywhere to find the right one. Let’s get started.
What exactly are bed alarms for the elderly?
Bed alarms for elderly are specialized monitoring devices that can detect the movement of the user and produce an alarm sound when they try to get out of the bed on their own. These devices are mostly used by caregivers to monitor seniors who can fall off the bed during their sleep or while getting out of bed. It is also useful for people with dementia (link it here with this article: Early Signs of Dementia and Alzheimer’s in the Elderly).
Types of Bed Alarms forSeniors
Bed alarms are available in different designs and are equipped with various features. Currently, there are two most common types of technologies available in the market:
1. Infrared Motion Sensor Alarms
As the name suggests, this type of bed alarm system uses infrared technology to monitor the user’s movement and trigger when the light is tripped by the user. These alarms are attached to drawers, walls, or furniture near the user’s bed.
2. Pressure Sensor Bed Alarms
These are very common alarm systems that are also highly preferred by caregivers. They feature a pressure-sensing pad that detects the user’s movement. The pads are very thin and can fit well under the user’s bedsheet without causing any kind of discomfort.
This type of alarm goes off when the device stops sensing the pressure created by the user’s body weight on the pad.
Also, bed alarm systems can be classified based on the number of pieces they come in. For example, one-piece alarms come with both sensor and alarm in a single unit, two-piece alarms come with separate units (alarm and sensor), and three-piece alarms come with a sensor pad, monitor, and a pager/alarm.
Two-piece and three-piece alarm systems are most commonly used by caregivers who are usually at a distance from the senior being monitored.
Benefits of Bed Alarm Systems for the Elderly:
As already mentioned above, several cases of falls in older people are reported annually in the United States. The significant falls reported happened during sleep. These falls may lead to serious complications such as brain damage, fractures, etc., but with the help of bed alarm systems, seniors can be monitored well during their sleep. Hence falls can be prevented.
People with dementia wander out of their homes unnoticed and often get lost. There have been many cases in the United States where such seniors were left in bed while sleeping, and they later got out of it unnoticed and got lost afterwards. Bed alarms can help prevent such unfortunate events from happening.
Flexibility and Convenience for Caregivers
Instead of sitting close by all day/night to keep watch on seniors, caregivers can use bed alarms so they can engage in other activities as well while being assured that they will know when to act fast.
Things to Consider
Bed alarms offer a variety of features, and there are several options that can confuse you to make the wrong choice if you don’t exactly know what to consider before buying one. Here are some things that you should consider before buying a bed alarm:
You should get an alarm that allows you to control the maximum intensity of the alarm sound. The best bed alarm should have a sound loud enough to alert you, not disturb or annoy everyone else.
Number of pieces
As mentioned above in the article, bed alarm systems come in different varieties such as single unit, two-piece, and three-piece. Two-piece alarms are preferred by most caregivers as they can be placed far away from the monitored senior, so they don’t get scared when the alarm goes off.
You should opt for a bed alarm that can work on both AC power and battery. This is because even if there is an electricity outage, you can still run the alarm on battery and keep watch on the monitored elder.
Wireless or wired
Wireless bed alarms provide more flexibility as compared to wired ones because you can take the alarm anywhere within the signal limit, without messing up yourself with wires.
Here is the list of best bed alarm systems for the elderly:
This one is a three-piece bed alarm system that includes a monitoring unit, sensor pad, and a wireless pager. You can place the sensor pad beneath the user’s bedsheet without making them feel uncomfortable. You should place the pad according to the alert you need. For example, if you want the system to alert you when the monitored person sits up from a sleeping position, you should place the pad where they place their back while sleeping.
If you want to get an alert when the monitored senior leaves the bed, you can place the sensor pad where they will place their hips while asleep. You can set up this system by attaching the monitor to the sensor pad and then fixing it on the wall close to the bed.
With such an arrangement in place, the caregiver can be alarmed through the pager whenever a movement is detected. The alarm beeps twice when weight is first applied to the pad, which indicates that the monitored senior might move out of bed soon. The alarm is only triggered when the sensor pad doesn’t detect the monitored person’s body weight.
The sensor pad is also incontinence-proof and easy-to-clean. The best thing about this bed alarm system is that it comes with two extra disposable bed protector pads. Plus, both pager and alarm have volume adjustment control, so the sound doesn’t disturb others. Furthermore, a call button is also available that can be pressed by the senior whenever the caregiver’s attention is required. You can power this alarm system using five AA batteries; two for the pager and three for the monitor.
Unlike the above alarm, this one is a motion sensor alarm that doesn’t come with a sensor pad as it features motion sensor technology. It is a wireless bed alarm system that contains two pieces: a monitor and a pager.
The monitor is installed on the wall, near the user’s bed so it can trigger the pager whenever it senses a movement on the bed. In order to avoid any unnecessary alerts after every movement, you should have the monitor placed at the senior’s head level while they are sitting up on the couch/bed. However, this alarm device doesn’t feature adjustable volume control, which means the caregiver has to cope with the default sound that might be too loud at night.
You need five AA batteries to run this device; two for the pager and three for the sensor. While Smart Caregiver TL-5102MP alarm is a great device, it has a major downside as well – it detects the surrounding movement too besides the monitored senior’s, which means the caregiver should take into account that the alarm may go off even if some person or a pet moves around the sensor. For seniors who have pets, this alarm device isn’t recommended.
This alarm system by Smart Caregiver comes with a cordless monitor, cordless monitor sensor, and a cordless call button. You can place its motion sensor to detect when the senior is getting out of bed or walking out through a doorway. It needs three batteries to work.
The call button can be worn around the neck with a lanyard or placed near to the monitored senior, so they can call you (caregiver) when needed. The call button needs a 12V battery to power up, which is also included in the package.
You can adjust the monitor’s volume at three different options: low, medium, or high. The monitor requires three C size batteries to power up that are not included in the package. The fact that it is cordless makes it quite a hassle-free alarm system. If you don’t like messing up with cords or want to make your loved one sleep on a sensor pad, this alarm system may be a good option to go for. It detects a movement and alerts you through the monitor, while the call button is also available so the seniors can call their caregivers when quick help is needed.
You can set the motion sensor wherever you see fit. You can place it on the floor to detect falls while sleeping. The same way, you can set it up in a doorway to detect when the monitored senior is leaving the room unattended.
Most alarm systems are unable to detect or have a hard time detecting light-weight seniors. But with this bed alarm and bed sensor pad by Smart Caregiver, you won’t need to be worried about all this because it is designed in a way to detect lighter weight seniors. This alarm system includes a 10 by 30-inch soft vinyl bed pad sensor, a monitor (attached to the sensor pad), and a wireless pager.
The motion sensor works great in detecting when a senior is getting into bed, producing a sound of two quick beeps. When the patients leave the bed unnoticed, an alarm is set off on the caregiver’s cordless pager. The pager is loaded with helpful features such as adjustable volume control, a vibrate-only option, a convertible belt stand/clip, and an indicator light selection.
One thing more to notice in this alarm system is the bed sensor pad which is quite soft and comfortable so the senior can have a good night’s sleep. Plus, it is also very easy to clean and resistant to liquids.
The 45BSET-1Y Bed Alarm Set by Secure is a bit different in working if we compare it with the bed alarms by Smart Caregiver mentioned above. No doubt that this product shares lots of features with Smart Caregiver products, but there are still enough differences to make this one stand out.
It is a bright yellow portable alarm that has a large bed pad and comes with an additional Velcro case. The first thing that makes this alarm stand out is that it isn’t wall-mounted, unlike other alarms. Caregivers or relatives can put the alarm in Velcro-sealed, protective case and carry it around wherever they go. The bed pad has decent quality, latex-free construction that also comes with a water-resistant cover. The only downside to this alarm system is that it requires frequent battery changing, which leads to a point where it is a risk of missing alerts if the battery runs out in the middle of the night.
It is a versatile option that can also be used on chairs and wheelchairs, not just on beds or walls. The device lacks an on/off switch, offers volume adjustment control, and is made of a break-resistant material.
And yes, remember not to use this pull-cord alarm to monitor elderly who have a pacemaker.
The first thing you should do as a caregiver is effectively communicate with your elderly patients and ask them to avoid leaving the bed or room unnoticed. The next thing to ensure safety from any kind of accident is installing the best alarm system. A bed alarm system doesn’t cost much and can be a great device to monitor elderly for fall prevention during sleep.
If you are a caregiver or want a quality bed alarm system for your patient or loved one, you can go for the right one from the list above according to your requirements. Every bed alarm has different features; you should follow our guide thoroughly and make a decision based on it.