Older adults are at great risk of falling while they try to walk or get out of bed. The risk of potential falls is almost doubled if they suffer from some diseases or significant cognitive impairment. On average, almost 25 percent of the senior citizens fall due to various reasons each year around the globe.
Most of the time, fall risks are higher even in the elders recovering from any surgery. Our elders need proper attention and care to protect them. Many deaths are reported each year due to even minor falls as they have weak bones. Falls are a preventable cause of death.
Caregivers are offering their professional help to such elders to save their lives. A caregiver is someone who works in the client’s home. They give care and supervision to people who need assistance due to medical disabilities, advanced age, or illness. They are professionally trained to help older adults.
Fall Mats as a Safety Measure
To prevent the high risk of falling, several technologies have been introduced into the market. These include bed alarms, fall mats, and many other things. The trend of fall mats has given some peace to the caregivers as well as the patients.
Fall mats are meant to provide safety to the patients who try to move by themselves. Fall mats for older people are made of special materials. They are specifically designed to protect them against any injury against falls. Aside from using fall mats, cordless alarm systems may also be beneficial to keep patients safe. To learn more about these, you may read our Guide to Cordless Alarm Systems for Caregivers.
How Does Fall Mat Help the Caregiver?
A caregiver not only prevents elderly patients from such risks but also performs most of their chores, including medications, bathing, casual walk, and the complete guide about their food. Since they completely look after the patient, they have to perform all this as a part of their duty.
If the caregiver is busy with some other duties, the patient is protected against potential falls through fall mats placed along the side of the bed or couch. The fall mat has a striking ability to absorb the shocks that can oppose the compression.
The caretaker can peacefully focus on other tasks while the patient is resting or is busy in a certain activity. He does not need to worry about the patient’s safety and keep a constant eye on him/her, thanks to the fall mats.
Special Features of the Fall Mat
Many special features have been introduced in fall mats to give a sense of relaxation to the caregivers. These mats send a signal to the caregiver remotely about the movement of the patients. To our ease, these alarms are not loud and do not disturb other people around the house.
When the patient walks down the bed or accidentally falls on the mat, first of all, the mat will provide the shock-absorbing ability to the patient and prevent them from any injuries. Some of them are waterproof, and even some are slip-resistant and antimicrobial to give extra protection. Even if the caregiver cannot reach at the exact time, the patient can survive the fall.
Aside from a fall mat, letting seniors wear a hip protector can also help reduce injury and pain in case they fall. You may read our Guide to Hip Protectors to learn more about them.
Sensory Alarm Technology in the Mats
Falls should not be considered as a normal thing considering the age factor as a reason. Special alarmed mats give an early alert to the caregivers, and they can reach the patient as soon as they can. In this way, they can be there before the client gets down the bed. This can prevent the risk of falls.
The sensory alarms were, however, tested to know if they reduced the risk of falling. This was also done to get reviews of the caregivers if they helped them attain some satisfaction about their job and the client’s safety. This research showed up to 77 percent improvement in the risk of falling, and these mats saved many patients.
The risk of false alarms was also found to be about 16 percent only. It is still being worked on to reduce the percentage and ensure the caregiver’s quality and peace. However, these statistics were not consistent, and there was still a chance of mistake.
How Does the Alarm System Work for Caregivers?
The mat works on the principle of pressure sensors. When the pressure is applied on the mat, it sets the alarm to notify the caregiver by the remote system. This alerts the caretaker, and he reaches the patient immediately for assistance.
The secure floor mat sensor manufacturing companies consider both the caregiver and the user while designing the features. The system alerts the caregiver through a pager instead of creating noise in the patient’s room. The size of the mat is appropriate to be used as a part of routine items. If you need help in assisting your patient to get up from bed and transfer to the chair or the toilet, you may find patient lifts helpful. Find out more about them in our Guide to Selecting Patient Lifts.
Hazards of Using Fall Mats
Although the mats can help caregivers in various ways, there are many ways it can be uneasy for both the caretakers and the patients. Based on some complaints against these mats, research was done by experts that showed up the hazards of these mats for the patients and the dangers it caused. They are as follows:
Water and Temperature Changes Might Wear it Out
Some of these mats are not waterproof, and they cannot be used in outdoor conditions. They can withstand higher and lower temperature ranges, but if the temperature is out of its range, it stops working. This can be a problem for the caregiver as he will no longer get alarmed.
Mistaken Pressure Can Trigger the Alarm
The product can be triggered automatically even if the pressure is applied mistakenly on it. Sometimes, this can get irritating for the caregiver and might cause a disturbance in his duty. If a heavy object accidentally falls or any other person accidentally walks on the mat, the caregiver will be alarmed.
Loss of Balance Due to a Wrong Step on the Mat
Research showed that many patients, especially older adults, lose their balance while stepping on the mat. They might stumble while trying to move on the floor mat. Some of the mats have beveled edges, and the patients accidentally step on these edges while trying to get out of the bed.
Beveled Edges Might Cause Them to fall
The beveled edges further cause a problem for older adults by changing their center of gravity. Any step on the edges, either intentional or accidental, can shift back their center of gravity, and they could not stand up or get down the bed.
Everything has its pros and cons. Sensory mats might not always provide help and sometimes even cause hazards, but the risk ratio is very low. These mats might not prevent the patients from falling, but they can surely increase the time for you to reach the patient for assistance.
The floor mats help prevent older adults from getting into serious trouble, especially if they home alone. They offer great assistance to relatives and caregivers. Moreover, these mats provide a sense of relaxation to the caregivers and give them peace of mind while they can do other duties easily instead of standing by the patientall the time.
If you are thinking of buying one for your loved one, you can check out our Guide to Selecting Fall Safety Floor Mats for the best tips and recommendations.