Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have devastating effects on activities of daily living as well as memory and cognitive function. As these diseases progress, patients’ needs change, and this often places more strain on caregivers.
Perhaps the most serious concern regarding the dementia patient is their tendency to wander and get lost. If not quickly found, victims can suffer serious injury along with dehydration and other health risks. Safety alarms alert caregivers to patient movement, enabling you to keep better track of their whereabouts. This is especially important at night, so that you can rest easier and not lose the sleep you need to function well.
Safety alarms come with different alarms and alarm mechanisms. The right one is the one that fits your circumstances and doesn’t increase agitation in your loved one.
Bed alarms, chair pad alarms and seat belt alarms are three of the most common types of designs. There are also different activation systems, the mechanism by which the alarm is set off:
A wireless alarm emits a large, invisible “curtain” that provides a wide area of protection. Look for a unit that mounts easily and has a swivel bracket to adjust the monitoring beam. This is a great option for securing an area without attaching an alarm to your loved one or their bed or chair.
A pull-cord alarm should easily secures to a bed or chair with a clip and feature a pin-style activation cord that is pulled when the user moves; this dislodges the pin from the alarm unit to activate the signal.
A pressure-sensitive alarm sounds when a patient gets up from the bed or chair it was placed on. A pressure-sensitive pad usually connects to an audio alarm.
Some pads such as the Sling Seat Wheelchair Alarm are made specifically for wheelchair use and certain styles require that the alarm be mounted onto the wheelchair with a bracket.
Another option for use in a chair is a seat belt alarm that sounds when the belt is unbuckled. One style is a breakaway lap cushion—if the wearer stands up, the magnetic strap releases on one side of the lap cushion, activating the alarm.
One type of alarm, the Patient Locator Alarm, keeps track of patients prone to wandering—the unit attaches to the wanderer to signal their location to the caregiver.
A totally different option involves alarming doors in the home. Usually this approach includes a brightly colored strip or banner that serves as a visual barrier, not a barricade, to direct the patient away from the doorway or an off-limits area; if he or she tries to leave through the door, the alarm is activated.