Why & How Medical Alert Systems Can Help Alzheimer’s Patients
Addressing The Higher Risk Of Falls & Injuries
Alzheimer’s patients face increased risks in falling due to several reasons beyond the normal aging process. Researchers have found that Alzheimer’s patients exhibit a higher level of amyloid beta plaques in their brains. The presence of high amyloid beta plaque levels affects a person’s sense of balance, and hence increases the risk of falling. See WebMD’s related article: Falls – An Early Clue to Alzheimer’s.
Independent of Alzheimer’s or dementia, falling and getting hurt is a big issue amongst seniors. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), amongst older seniors aged 65 and older, falls happen frequently, and are the leading cause of injuries (fatal or non-fatal).
Besides problems with their sense of balance, some Alzheimer’s patients are known to have related physical challenges. Symptoms included difficulties in walking and changes in vision and hearing, all of which can directly impact on the senior’s ability to move around on their own.
To address the dangers of falling down, medical alert systems can be very useful as it allows seniors to easily get help. Elderly users can press the SOS button and be connected to a monitoring agent who can assist them.
Importance Of Automated Fall Alert Detection
Senior patients or their children and caregivers may also want to consider upgrading their medical alert system to include an automatic fall alert detection pendant button. These buttons contain sensors within them that can tell if a fall has taken place. If a fall has taken place, an alarm call is automatically made to the medical alarm monitoring center. The advantage of having an automated fall detection button is that it does not depend on the Alzheimer’s patient to be cognizant enough to press the button and sound an alert.
Perhaps the Alzheimer’s patient have become disoriented or else lost consciousness after falling. In scenarios like these, where the senior may not be able to activate an alarm on their own, an automatic fall alert would be an extra layer of protection.
Automated fall alert technology is also helpful for patients in more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. As the senior Alzheimer’s patients experience greater cognitive impairment, they are likely to become more disoriented when accidents happen and less capable of sounding an alarm (ie. press the SOS button) on their own. With automated fall detection, there is a much higher chance that they will receive help.
It is important to note that no automated fall alert system will guarantee a 100% accuracy rate in detecting falls. Usually, representatives will tell customers that the majority of falls will be detected, and there will be a few false alarms in the mix. To learn more, check out this article: Are Auto Fall Alerts In Personal Emergency Response Systems Worthwhile?.
Wandering Around Lost – Mobile Medical Alerts With GPS For Alzheimer’s Patients
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander. They may have trouble recalling where they live, and how to get home, even if they have spent decades living in the same home. Seniors afflicted with Alzheimer’s or dementia may become disoriented and not cognizant enough to find their way towards help.
Mobile medical alert systems with GPS can help greatly in situations like this. When they get lost, all the senior patient needs to do to get help is to press their alert button. The GPS location technology is a great feature to have, as it allows the user’s location to be beamed to the monitoring center.
Wearing a medical alert button also makes it easier for passing good Samaritans to help the senior. By pressing on the SOS button, the good Samaritan who wants to help will be connected to the monitoring center. They can let the monitoring center agent know what’s happening, and the monitoring center agent can assist with guidance on the best way to proceed; such as calling a child, caregiver, friend or emergency services.
When choosing mobile medical alert systems, do keep in mind that they require a certain presence of mind to use. For example, the Medical Guardian system requires that the portable unit (about the size of a deck of cards) be removed from it’s charging cradle and taken along when the system user is out and about. The Great Call Splash system requires the user charges up the button almost daily.
Caring For Aggressive Patients Changes In More Advanced Stages
Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s may start exhibiting behavioral changes as they progress in their disease. Symptoms can include becoming abnormally suspicious, easily agitated and aggressive. They may also speak or shout erratically. At this point, it is the senior’s caregivers who will benefit from having a home medical alert system for summoning extra help. Caregivers may find themselves overwhelmed by the behavior of the seniors that they are looking after. The presence of a medical alarm at home can provide extra peace of mind that they can call for a helping hand with the press of a button.
Doctors sometimes prescribe anti-depressants to provide relief to the Alzheimer’s patient’s agitation. However, these drugs could affect the cognitive function of patients, leading to a greater chance of falls and injuries.
Medical alert systems can help Alzheimer’s patients in various ways, whether the senior patients are seeking to live independently, or for the peace of mind of their children or caregivers. Below are links to various resources on this site for readers who like to explore further.