Getting good sleep is essential for all of us, as sleeping allows our bodies to recover and heal after doing many activities at home, at work, or in school. While many of us do get enough sleep, which is about seven to nine hours each night, there are a few that don’t get the luxury of sleeping for that long due to many reasons, which include working at a night shift schedule or simply having a disorder or illness that prevents them from having a good sleep.
The elderly are usually the ones that don’t get enough sleep, so they are more prone to waking up early in the middle of the night. Whenever they wake up early, they tend to get out of bed right away, and when they do so, they are susceptible to accidents like falling from the bed or slipping on the floor. Moreover, senior people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other disorders are also prone to involuntary movements, and these would cause them to fall out of bed. 
Thankfully, there are now different items and devices that can be used to prevent seniors and patients with special needs from falling out of bed. In addition, there are also items that can provide safety and protection for the patients in case they actually fall from their bed, and one of these items is the fall safety floor mat. To know more about this item and how to buy the best one, here is a guide to selecting fall safety floor mats.
What is a Fall Safety Floor Mat?
A fall safety floor mat is an item that is specifically used to prevent seniors or patients with special needs from hitting the floor whenever they fall out of bed. So, the fall safety floor mat is typically placed next to each side of the bed on the floor.
Fall safety floor mats are fairly simple items that can be easily placed on any type of floor. The interior of the fall safety floor mats is usually made of foam, while the exterior is made from synthetic leather, antimicrobial fabric, or rubberized plastic. A lot of fall safety floor mats are also foldable, so you can neatly store the mat under the bed or inside a cabinet with ease whenever it is not in use.
Here are some good examples of a fall safety floor mat:
- NYOrtho Bedside Floor Mat – this fall safety floor mat features high-impact absorbing molded foam that is soft enough to provide comfort for the senior or patient after a fall while also being dense enough to offer impact protection.
- Medacure Safety Fall Mat – a fall safety mat that is made from compressed polyurethane foam and synthetic leather. The mat has a non-slip bottom so that it won’t slide around on different types of floors. The compression welded seal on the sides of the mat will also allow caregivers to push wheelchairs onto the mat with ease.
- OMECAL Fall Mat – this safety has a one-inch-thick foam that offers one of the best cushioning for seniors and patients. Its surface is also made of non-slip fabric so that the patient won’t slip on the mat whenever he or she is standing or walking on it.
The Floor Mat Alarm
In addition to the fall safety floor mat, there is a specific device that is utilized to alert the caregiver whenever the senior or patient falls out of bed, and this device is often called the floor mat alarm. The floor mat alarm looks like an ordinary fall safety floor mat at first, but it actually has a sensor pad that detects if a person has fallen from the bed to the mat.
If you have purchased a bed sensor pad for your patient or elderly loved one, that pad works similarly to the floor mat alarm. In case you don’t know, the bed sensor pad is a type of alarm device that activates whenever the pressure applied to the sensor is lifted, which occurs whenever the patient gets out of bed. However, for the fall mat alarm, the alarm triggers when there is pressure applied to the sensor as opposed to the pressure being lifted or reduced.
What’s interesting about a lot of modern floor mat alarms is that they can sense if the patient is just standing on the mat or has fallen on it. With this feature, false alarms can be reduced or prevented since the floor mat alarm will know when the patient has actually fallen out of his or her bed.
Check out these two floor mat alarms for reference:
- Smart Caregiver Economy Cordless Floor Mat Sensor – a floor mat alarm that has an adjustable volume (low, medium, and high), as well as a cordless system where the pager or alarm can be placed in other rooms while the sensor remains in the patient’s room. This sensor is battery-powered, and you would need 3 C-type batteries for the sensor and the alarm. However, you can plug them into an optional AC adapter if you don’t have C-type batteries.
- Vive Wireless Floor Alarm – this floor mat alarm features a non-slip textured surface to prevent slips and falls, as well as a wireless system that allows the caregiver to connect the pager to the floor alarm without the need to plug them into cables or wires. Keep in mind that the Vive Wireless Caregiver Pager is sold separately, so you will also need to buy the pager if you want to use the floor alarm.
What Should a Good Floor Mat Alarm Have?
There are so many fall safety floor mats and floor mat alarms to choose from today because of how popular they are among caregivers and people that have elderly loved ones. So, for many of those that don’t know much about fall safety floor mats, choosing which mats are the best and most suitable for their patients can be difficult, as there are certain features that can make or break the various products or devices. However, by knowing what exactly to look for, you will have a much better experience in finding the best fall safety floor mats. Here are the things that good fall safety floor mats and floor mat alarms have.
1. It Has Thick Foam or Cushioning
Fall safety floor mats should have thick foam or cushioning to provide protection for the senior or patient from injuries or wounds. There are some fall safety floor mats that are too thin to give ample protection for people that fall out of bed, so it is best to stay away from those mats since they aren’t really effective in the one thing that safety mats really need to offer.
Before you buy a safety mat from online or physical stores, you should first read the description and see how thick the foam of the mat is. Fall safety floor mats should be at least 3/4 inches thick so that they will have enough shock absorption and cushioning.
2. It Has Effective Sensors
One of the best features of great floor mat alarms is their effective sensors, as these sensors have the ability to determine if the patient is just stepping or walking on the floor mat or if he or she has fallen out of bed, causing immense pressure on the sensors.
The effectiveness of the sensors is very important for floor mat alarms, as the sensors will be responsible for minimizing false alarms, as there are some low-quality sensors that interpret the patient standing on the mat to be an action where the patient has fallen out of his or her bed. You can know more about the effectiveness of a floor mat alarm sensor by checking reviews and seeing if the reviewers didn’t experience false alarms from the device.
3. It Has a Long Battery Life
Some of the best fall safety floor mats are battery-operated, which basically means that they run on batteries instead of being connected or plugged into an electrical outlet. However, there are some battery-powered fall safety floor mats that have a short battery life, so you would often have to recharge them or replace their batteries more frequently. If you don’t want to spend time changing batteries frequently, you should get floor mat alarms that have a long battery life so that they will continue to work even after weeks or months of use.
Different types of batteries are used to power up floor mat alarms, and these types include AAA batteries, AA batteries, and 9V batteries. While AAA and AA batteries are very common and can easily be found in many online and physical stores, 9V batteries are considered to have much longer battery life. So, if you have the option of buying a floor mat alarm that runs on 9V batteries, you should try to get it.
4. It Has an Adjustable Volume
The floor mat alarm should also have an adjustable volume so that you can customize how loud the alert sound would be. If the nursing home or facility is taking care of multiple patients or seniors, then the volume of the floor mat alarm should be quite low so that the alert sound won’t disturb the other patients.
Moreover, you may also want a floor mat alarm that has a separate pager or device that produces the alarm so that the alert sound won’t be heard inside the patient’s rather but rather in the caregiver’s room or in the area of the house or facility where the caregiver can clearly hear the alarm.
So, there you have it, a simple guide on fall safety floor mats and how to pick the best ones on the market. Always check online reviews, as we have mentioned earlier, so that you won’t have a difficult time finding the best fall safety floor mats and fall alarms for your patient or loved one that is suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other special needs.
 TerraBella Senior Living Blog. (2021, December 24). Why Seniors Fall Out Of Bed And The Associated Risks. TerraBella Senior Living. Retrieved January 13, 2023, from https://www.terrabellaseniorliving.com/senior-living-blog/why-seniors-fall-out-of-bed-and-the-associated-risks/