A medical alert button is a device that makes it easy for a user to call for help with the simple push of a button. Often a part of a fall detector device, medical alert buttons are usually worn as a pendant around a user’s neck. They can be part of an automatic medical alert system that can sense when a user is falling and signal for help, even without the push of a button. The pendants that are enabled with fall-detection technology can sense changes in motion and initiate contact to an emergency response center. The user can also use the button to signal for help separate from a fall, or if the automatic fall-detection technology is delayed or failing.
Fall detectors enabled with medical alert buttons offer an extra layer of protection to users who are at risk for being injured or re-injured if they fall. The elderly, people with sleep disorders, and people of any age with injuries or disorders that affect equilibrium, such as low blood pressure or a previously broken bone, can all benefit from wearing a medical alert button during sleep. Here are a few reasons why fall detectors can be helpful during sleep:
- People are often the least alert as they prepare for and wake from sleep, which makes it easier to fall.
- Someone may have a pre-existing injury and must be very careful not to injure themselves again. This is a problem for the elderly who may have previous injuries from a fall, such as a broken hip.
- Blood pressure is lowest during sleep and easily leads to dizziness when getting out of bed. The dizziness can lead to a dangerous slip or fall.
- Nighttime trips to the bathroom, a frequent side-effect of blood sugar imbalances such as diabetes, can result in dangerous slips and falls getting in and out of bed, on and off the toilet, and in and out of the bathroom.
Using a medical alert button while sleeping could help ensure safety and that help comes promptly should a fall or injury occur.
How to Stay Safe While Sleeping
Most safety practices focus on waking hours but people that are asleep are prone to falling out of bed or stumbling and falling in the dark. Here are some simple tips to make your sleeping space safer.
Prepare your bedroom for safe sleep
It’s important to make the bedroom as safe as possible for less-than-alert users. Make sure there is nothing you can trip over on the floor, especially en route from the bedroom to the bathroom. Install rails next to the bed or in the bathroom as needed. Make sure that pathways between the bedroom door, bed, and bathroom are properly lit. These precautions can make night time trips to the bathroom much safer.
Prepare your bed for safety
Your bed itself can be enabled and prepared for safety. If getting in and out of bed is physically or mentally difficult for you, it may be helpful to get an adjustable bed that can electronically support your transition.
Make sure that your bed is made every day. Neatly arranged sheets and blankets reduce the chance for entanglement and tripping. Making the bed with the comforter pulled back can make it easy to enter. Any mobility devices, such as crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs, should be placed within arm’s reach but leave enough space for you to move your legs to the side of the bed without knocking them down.
Prepare yourself for a safe night’s sleep
Mentally preparing yourself can help organize your thoughts and prepare them for sleep. You can do a mental check of all the routes you may have to take during sleep, such as to the bathroom, and make sure that any assistive devices you may need are properly set up within reach. Take the time to ensure that your fall device and button are properly charged, and that all lightbulbs in your bedroom and bathroom are working. You can also do gentle stretches to help prepare your body for sleep, heightening awareness between your mind and body, and reduce the likelihood that you will have to wake up and use your medical button in the middle of the night.