One of the biggest challenges when caring for the elderly is putting measures in places that will help prevent nighttime falls. Nighttime safety can be a major challenge when you are caring for an older family member, friend, or patient. Anyone, but especially seniors, may experience a devastating fall if they rise from their bed at night, disoriented and appropriate pre-emptive measures have not been taken. These falls can result in serious injuries and life-changing, chronic medical problems. In addition, these falls often mean significant medical care is needed and can result in a loss of independence for the senior. For these reasons, it is crucial that those who are caring for the elderly educate themselves about nighttime safety.
The risk of nighttime falls can be significantly reduced when proper planning and safety measures are put into place, and the safety of the senior is significantly increased as a result. Whether you are a live-in caregiver, or are just worried about your elderly parent or friend, here is what you should know about nighttime safety and preventing falls with lighting and furniture arrangement.
- Let there be light- and lots of it! One of the major problems in nighttime safety is a lack of illumination. This can be eliminated with the installation of motion sensor lights. These motion sensor lights are easy to find and affordable to buy. They have built-in sensors that can detect when someone is passing by and will turn themselves on to light the path of the senior. They can be placed strategically for lighting the path to the bathroom, kitchen, or any other place in the home that the senior may desire to go to after they have awakened.
- Placement of furniture is critical. While everything can seem in place and working just fine during the day, furniture placement can be critical during the nighttime hours. When arising from bed in the middle of the night, people can be slightly disoriented and even a little dizzy. If a clear path has not been established by careful furniture placement, seniors can find themselves colliding with furniture, slipping and falling. It is important to take a critical look at furniture placement, and determine if it could be an obstacle for a senior who is getting out of bed during the nighttime hours.
- Assistance where needed. There are a variety of products that can assist the senior who is getting up at night. Safety bars and handles can be installed at the bedside to allow the senior to pull themselves up safely and avoid the possibility of slipping while getting out of bed. Encouraging your elderly loved one to use these devices and to give themselves a moment before standing can also help them get oriented and thus prevent a fall.
- Eliminate the need to get up if possible. Many seniors have to get out of bed due to the need to use the bathroom. If this is a concern then there are products that can be used bedside eliminating the need to get up out of the bed. Urinals (for both males and females), bedpans, and other products, can be placed bedside and allow the senior to take care of their personal needs without having to actually get up. This reduces the risk of falling since the senior does not have to leave their bed to take care of these needs.
All of the products mentioned above can be purchased at local medical equipment suppliers, or online at such sources as HME Medical Shop (hmemedicalshop.com).
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.