Chair Alarms

Fall Prevention in the Home Setting

The cost effective use of chair alarms can help reduce the incidence of falls with injury in the home setting.

It can be a simple method in your fall prevention program.

Any elderly person is at some risk of falls, simply due to the normal aging process of the body. Knowing that they are safe while they are sitting and reading in their favorite chair can make life a little easier on you.

Some elderly are at higher risk than others. Reducing other risks for falls should go along with the use of a chair alarm.

Any alarm is not fool proof and should only be implemented in combination with reducing other risk factors.

High fall risks can include any of the following:

  • Weakness: Lack of physical activity can lead to weak muscles. Encourage regular activity to keep muscles strong.

  • Poor vision: Obstacles on the floor can cause trips and falls. Make sure the room is well lit and that if they wear glasses, that they are one and clean.

  • Short term memory loss: They may simply not remember that they need assistance to get up out of a chair. This can be helped significantly with the use of chair alarms. The sound can be a gentle reminder for them that they do need help.

  • Medications: Some medications have side effects that may increase the risk for falls. Utilize your pharmacist to review all medications your elderly loved one is on to see if medications could cause an increased fall risk.

    If they are on medications that increase their risk for falls, discuss the timing of the medications with your pharmacist as well.

  • Osteoporosis: Recent research has shown that bone weakness may cause a hip fracture, and that results in a fall. In that case, the fracture occurs first.

    Other times, a fall occurs and the impact from the floor causes the fracture.

    If your loved one has a diagnosis of osteoporosis, that sure they are taking their scheduled medications, including Calcium with Vitamin D3 , as prescribed.

    Unfortunately, Calcium tablets are quite large and can be difficult to swallow. Try using a pill crusher to pulverize the tablet and then give it in a little applesauce or pudding.

  • History of falls: Studies have shown that up to 2/3 of elderly people that fall will fall again within six months (AARP).

    If your loved one has fallen before, it is even more important to assure that fall interventions like chair alarms and bed alarms are in place.

Chair alarms and bed alarms come in two basic styles, pressure pads and tab alarms.

The advantage of utilizing a tab, or magnetic alarm , is that is can be used in any setting, situation and room in your home. You simply attach the string to the back of the chair.

Using the combination of bed and chair pressure alarms will work well too, but you will most likely want to purchase a separate bed pad and a chair pad.

For a chair alarm, you can simply put the pad in their favorite chair and leave it there, moving only the alarm box from the bedroom to their sitting room.

Points to Remember

Check the batteries. The alarms will only function if the batteries are working. Check them daily and replace when needed.

Keep pads dry. A bed or chair pad should be kept dry if at all possible. Most have a waterproof lining, but I would also recommend that you either wrap it in a pillow case or use a washable incontinent pad over the top of the pad.

Restraint concerns. Remember that the alarm is supposed to be an alert, not a restraint. You never want to restrain your loved one, even if you believe it is for their own safety.

If every time the alarm sounds, you tell your mom to sit down, the sound itself will become a psychological restraint. This can have very negative effects on their emotional health.

But if when the alarm sounds, you say something like… “Mom, can I help you get up?” or “Mom, are you uncomfortable?” … then it becomes an appropriate alert to use.

Fall prevention, and the prevention of injuries associated with falls, should be paramount in your plans to care for your loved one at home.

Finding the right fall prevention techniques to use at home can be difficult.

If you would like a free evaluation with my professional recommendations, please contact me directly and we will review your specific circumstances and I will give you a completely free and individual plan to implement.

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