Best Bed Alarms for Elderly People: Fall Prevention for Dementia

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Bed alarms don’t specifically prevent falls but they do alert caregivers as soon as a senior gets out of bed. This early warning can greatly reduce the chance of a fall injury though! Here are the best bed alarms for elderly people who are at risk of falling from bed.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide. Learn More.

It is impossible for caregivers to be at their patient’s side 24 hours a day. This is because they have several other responsibilities, such as cooking, light cleaning, and making sure the surroundings stay hygienic and safe. Now, in certain cases, it shouldn’t be a problem when the caregiver steps out of the room for short periods of time.

But what if the patient is relatively frail and suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s? And what if they need assistance when getting out of bed?

If the caregiver isn’t around or notified that the patient is trying to leave his or her bed, it can lead to a dangerous situation. More specifically, the patient can fall and sustain serious injuries as the consequences of a fall, not to mention leave the room without supervision.

All bed alarms serve one main purpose – to prevent potentially fatal accidents. However, not all alarms or created equal. And whether you need the best bed alarms for elderly people who are at high risk for falls or for dementia patients, the following bed alarm reviews will provide some valuable insight. In addition to the reviews, we look at how bed alarms are used to prevent falls, as well as important considerations before you make any purchases.

Bed Alarm Reviews

We get the reviews off to a good start with the Secure Wireless Patient Monitor Bed Set. It comes with a bed sensor pad, a transmitter, and an alarm monitor. As the name suggests, all of these components operate wirelessly, and you can pair up to three Secure sensor pads to a single transmitter. Not only does the set remove tripping hazards, but it also comes with 2.4G patented bi-directional wireless communication. This means there should be little to no interference when the bed alarm is used in a facility.

Where the alarm monitor gets placed is up to you. Given that it will still work up to 150ft away from the transmitter, you have the option of keeping things quiet inside the patient’s room. It is also worth noting that the alarm will automatically reset when the patient gets back on the bed. Or you can reset it manually if necessary.

Can you trust the connection between the wireless devices? Well, the alarm monitor and transmitter are going to sync every five minutes. And if there is a disturbance in connection, the alarm monitor will let you know something is wrong. To top off one of the best bed alarms for fall prevention, the bed pad sensor is designed to be durable, flexible, and easy to store.

In short, a signal will instantly be sent from the transmitter to the alarm monitor if the pressure changes on the bed sensor pad. This triggers the alarm. However, if the patient simply switches positions on the bed, the alarm will automatically reset. And seeing as the sensor pad is strapped to the bed, it removes another tripping hazard.

Pros:

  • Wireless setup without any trip hazards
  • Instant communication between the transmitter and alarm monitor
  • Choose where you want to place the alarm monitor up to 150ft away from the transmitter
  • Auto alarm reset
  • No interference thanks to the 2.4G bandwidth
  • Pair up to three different Secure sensor pads to a single transmitter
  • Cost-effective and made from high-quality materials
  • Indicates when the connection gets disrupted
  • Indicates low battery power
  • The bed sensor pad is incontinent proof, latex-free, ultra-thin, and antimicrobial

Cons:

  • Battery operated

The next best bed alarm for dementia patients or elderly people is not completely wireless, but it does reduce maintenance in terms of checking transmitter batteries. With this package, you get the caregiver alert system, a 12″ x 30″ ultra-thin bed sensor pad, and a wireless alarm pager. Set the volume and tone of the alarm, and choose if only the pager should make a noise. 

One of the great things about this particular bed alarm set is the way it reduces false alarms. The patient is free to switch positions and roll around without causing any alerts. But when it does matter and the patient attempts to get off the bed, two alarms will be triggered (inside the room and through the pager).

As with most bed alarm components from Secure, other sensor pads can be paired with the transmitter. And if a false alarm does happen, it will auto-reset when the patient gets back on the bed or gets off completely. For added safety, a universal nurse call button can be inserted into the alarm monitor.  

Pros: 

  • Trigger two alarms if a caregiver pager is being used
  • Set the alarm volume and tone 
  • Reduced false alarms (which automatically reset)
  • Universal nurse call button 
  • Bed sensor pad is incontinent proof, slip-resistant, and it does not have weight restrictions
  • Only metal connectors are used 
  • Works with a wide range of mattresses 

Cons: 

  • The cords can be a tripping hazard when not placed properly  

What makes this bed alarm for the elderly so special? For starters, it has all the fundamental elements you are looking for in an alarm set. It does not require any long cords to get plugged in, which is good if you want to minimize tripping hazards. And the monitor lets you adjust the volume of the alarm. More importantly, it reacts quickly when the elderly person or dementia patient tries to get off the bed. 

Why this alarm set tends to stand out is because of the range of the monitor. With up to 300ft of distance, the caregiver can easily get other things done while being on constant alert. At the same time, the caregiver can prevent the alarm from disturbing the patient. However, there is another benefit you should take note of as well. You can pair up to 6 wireless devices from the 433 Cordless Sensor range to a single monitor. 

When the bed alarm set arrives, simply take it out of the package and use it at your discretion. And not only is it easy to use, but the bed sensor pad is durable and easy to clean (made from soft vinyl). 

Pros: 

  • Impressive wireless distance of 300ft
  • No tripping hazards 
  • Adjust the volume and position of the alarm
  • Bed sensor pad is easy to clean and durable 
  • Pair up to 6 pads or mats 

Cons: 

  • Battery-powered, which means additional maintenance  

If you want an alternative to bed sensor pads, start with this cordless floor pad. It measures 24″ x 36″, and it is manufactured with “heavy-duty” in mind. The floor pad features beveled edges, as well as a non-slip surface that can stand a lot of wear and tear. But the floor pad needs to be placed right. For instance, it should be at the side of the bed or in the doorway. And when it gets stepped on, it immediately alerts you or the caregiver.

The monitor allows you to adjust the volume of the alarm and even lets you switch it to more calming sounds. For example, the alert can sound like chimes instead. Alternatively, you can place the monitor outside the room, as long as it remains within 300ft of the floor pad. Finally, if you have other mats or pads from the 433 Cordless range, you can pair up to six of them and expand the alert system. 

Pros: 

  • Heavy-duty floor pad with a non-slip surface
  • Can be placed at various points, such as the bedside or doorway 
  • Wireless connection means fewer tripping hazards 
  • Operates with a distance of up to 300ft 
  • Pair up to six pads and mats 
  • Adjust the volume and sound of the alarm 
  • Chances are lower for triggering a false alarm 

Cons: 

  • Batteries require replacement and monitoring 
  • Not effective if placed in the wrong area 

If you are looking for a very straightforward and basic bed alarm, this design is worth your consideration. Choose between the bed or chair pad (take both as a combo), and rest assured an alarm will be triggered when the patient gets up. More importantly, the alarm continues to sound until the patient returns to the chair or bed. 

The alarm is powered via batteries, which allows more portability and reduces tripping hazards. And while you cannot set the alarm to be triggered outside the room, the volume of the alarm is loud enough to draw attention. You are also at liberty to change the sound of the alarm and set a delay time. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to use 
  • You can set a delay time 
  • Durable sensor pads 
  • Adjust alarm volume and tone 

Cons: 

  • Does not allow you to place the alarm outside the room 
  • Battery-powered (more maintenance)

The last one of our best bed alarm reviews operates somewhat differently than the rest. This is because a magnetic pull cord is used to trigger the alarm. There are two main reasons for suggesting this bed alarm. Firstly, it can be used in many different environments, including the bathroom. Secondly, it is very affordable when compared to other bed alarms.

Basically, the magnetic pull cord has to stay clipped to the alarm monitor. And the magnetic clip can get pulled off in any direction, which can be problematic. For example, it can clip off while a patient turns in their sleep. But while this bed alarm can present a few challenges, it can still be effective when you are working with a strict budget. 

Pros: 

  • Can be used in many different environments 
  • Easy to use 
  • Dual-tone alarm 
  • Cost-effective  

Cons: 

  • Might trigger false alarms 
  • Not the most practical design 

How Bed Alarms For Dementia Patients Help Prevent Falls

Just to be clear, even the best bed alarms for elderly people cannot directly prevent the elderly or dementia patients from falling out of bed. Instead, they do the job of alerting caregivers that a patient is moving around and could be in need of help.

Some sensor pads activate the alarm when pressure is placed on them (floor pad), while others will sound the alarm when pressure is taken off (bed pad).

Thus, you have to assess the situation before you invest in any of the bed alarm reviews mentioned above.

Here are some benefits that both caregivers and patients can appreciate when using the best bed alarms:

  • Reduces the pressure for caregivers
  • Alarms respond quickly
  • Prevent other dangers in addition to falling (when patients leave their rooms)

Important Features of The Best Bed Alarms For Elderly People

Now that you have read about some of the best bed alarm options and understand their purpose better, it is time to focus on some important questions and considerations.

1. Wired Vs Wireless Systems

For the most part, wireless systems are preferred because they reduce tripping hazards. However, this does not mean wired bed alarms are less effective. If used with precaution, they can be just as safe. At the end of the day, wireless alarms make monitoring more convenient.

2. Floor Mat Vs Bed Mat

First of all, there are no rules that state you can only use one mat. As you might have noticed during the bed alarm reviews, several mats can be paired to a single monitor. But if you have to make a choice, consider the circumstances. Both are effective when used properly, but if you fear the floor mat option can turn into a tripping hazard, stick with the bed mat.

RELATED: Fall Protection Mats for the Elderly

3. Alarm Options

In some cases, it can be helpful to have an alarm inside the room of the patient. Especially if there are other people nearby who can lend a hand. However, you do not want the sound of the alarm to disorientate the patient or elderly individual. This is why you should opt for a bed alarm with different sound options. For example, switching the alarm to sound like chimes.

4. Alarm Sound/Volume

An alarm is meant to draw attention, but the volume doesn’t always have to be at the maximum level. More specifically, the caregiver should be able to adjust the volume according to how close he or she is to the patient.

5. Pad Materials

Why are quality pad materials important? Firstly, the pad materials are responsible for protecting the sensors. Secondly, pad materials undergo a lot of wear and tear, so they have to be durable. Thirdly, the material should either be ultra-thin or very comfortable. The list goes on, but ultimately, you want the sensor pads to last as long as possible.

6. Pad Lifespan And Replacement

The average lifespan of a sensor pad is about 1 year if used consistently. After this time, you should consider replacing it. It is also recommended to test the pads on a regular basis. While you shouldn’t run into any problems, manufacturing faults do creep in every now and then. And you want the manufacturer to repair/replace the bed alarm if this happens to be the case. Hence the reason for paying close attention to the warranty.

7. Power Source/Batteries

Even though batteries are great for portability reasons, they do require more maintenance. At the same time, a wired system ensures the alarm is always powered, but the wires can lead to a tripping hazard. Based on these pros and cons, you have to decide which option is better for you. Plus, you want to look at how often you’ll need to replace the batteries if that is the option you go with.

Summary And Final Recommendations Of the Best Bed Alarms for Fall Prevention

One of the things you should ask yourself is where you will be using the bed alarm. For example, if you are a caregiver at a facility, there is a risk of interference if you choose the wrong wireless system. But if you are a caregiver at the patient’s home, interference shouldn’t be much of a problem. The point is that you should be able to trust the bed alarm and the conditions you use it in.

From a personal perspective, the first bed alarm mentioned during the reviews offers the best of both worlds and I think is the best bed alarm for elderly people overall. The Secure Wireless Patient Monitor Bed Set offers quality components at a very affordable price. Everything depends on what you can afford to spend and how effectively you need to monitor the patient. Plus, do you mind changing or charging batteries when a cord is available?

For those who can afford it, take extra measures by pairing up other sensor pads. Most of those mentioned in the reviews are interchangeable with other Secure components. And after you make an informed decision, you can start preventing more falls with the aid of the best bed alarms.

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