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Dementia Patients Could Benefit from Medical Alert Systems

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are at a greater risk of experiencing a devastating accident. Senior safety is crucial in aging gracefully. It is important to monitor the healthcare and safety issues of those living alone and dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Alzheimer’s and dementia

Roughly 5.5 million Americans 65 years or older suffer from Alzheimer’s. The disease is an irreversible brain disorder that gradually destroys memory and thinking skills. For those with late-onset Alzheimer’s, symptoms will start showing up in their mid-60s while early-onset starts to show between the 30s and mid-60s. However, early-onset Alzheimer’s is rare.

Another common side effect of Alzheimer’s is loss of connection between nerve cells in the brain. These nerve cells are how messages are transmitted between the brain and muscles and organs in the body. The damage first starts to show itself in the hippocampus, also known as the part of the brain that forms memories.

For older adults, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. While dementia is more common in older adults, it is not a normal part of aging.

Dementia is the loss of function of thinking, reasoning, and remembering, also known as cognitive functioning. Other functions that are affected are behavioral abilities like language skills, self-management, memory, visual perception, and being able to focus. Another common issue for those with dementia is trouble controlling their emotions. 

The severity of dementia can range from mild to severe where those affected must rely on others for simple activities of everyday life.

Medical alert systems

It is becoming common for people who are dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia to use medical alert systems to help provide a safety net. Medical alert systems give those affected access to immediate emergency help.

Traditional medical alert systems allow seniors a sense of security at home in the case of a fall or physical injury. However, the new medical alert systems of today can now detect a fall with an automatic fall detection feature. Mobile medical alert systems now expand to GPS services that can track where someone is in case they get lost or can not communicate where they are. These features not only increase senior safety, but also allow seniors to stay independent when they otherwise could not.

How they help

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have an increased risk of suffering from a fall or physical injury than regular aging people do.

Alzheimer’s patients have a higher level of amyloid beta plaques in their brains and it can affect their sense of balance. This side effect can significantly increase their risk of falling as they age.

The risk of falling is not only associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, but is a big concern when it comes to senior safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults aged 65 and older fall more often and falling is the leading cause of injuries in seniors.

In addition to problems with balance, it is not uncommon for Alzheimer’s patients to experience other physical challenges, some of which include vision problems, difficulty walking, and hearing issues. All of these side effects can change everyday life and make senior safety that much harder to manage.

Medical alert systems allow a safety net for not only Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, but their loved ones as well. The dangers of falling are significant when attempting to live independently. Features such as fall detection can make the difference between life and death in a devastating fall.

Fall detection feature

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and their caregivers should consider a medical alert system and the upgrades available to it. Every model of a medical alert system does not come with an automatic fall alert detection feature. The fall detection feature is often through a pendant button that has sensors in it to tell if a fall happens.

The device automatically makes an alarm call to a medical monitoring center if it detects a fall. By having this automated system in place, there is no chance of an Alzheimer’s and dementia patient being stranded without help after a fall.

In the case of senior safety, if the Alzheimer’s or dementia patient is disoriented or passed out, the automatic call can help when they are not able to activate the alarm by pressing the button.

The automated fall detection technology can be helpful for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients that are in the more advanced stages of the disease. They will begin to suffer from a higher level of cognitive impairment and are more likely to have an accident or become disoriented. The automated fall detection allows a much greater chance of them receiving the help they need. 

No automatic fall detection alert system can guarantee 100 percent accuracy in detecting falls, but the majority of falls are detected with additional false alarms occasionally.

GPS services

It is common for dementia patients to wander and become disoriented. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 out of 10 people suffering from dementia have been recorded to wander. In addition to wandering, they have trouble remembering where they live or how to get there. 

Mobile medical alert systems have become more common due to scenarios like getting lost and disoriented. Mobile medical alert systems often have a GPS feature to help in the case of a patient getting lost.

Alzheimer’s and dementia patients can wear a medical alert button that can send their location to the monitoring center and also show others how they may be able to help the patient in the case of an emergency or getting lost.

It is important to do research when trying to find the right medical alert system. Things to consider can range from cost, features, to the model and the company selling the device.

If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, make sure that precautions are in place in case of an emergency such as a fall or getting lost.

Hannah Verret
Hannah Verret is a Content Developer at Med-Alert Pros in Memphis, TN. Hannah has been working in content creation throughout her entire adult career. When Hannah isn't writing or organizing social media posts, she's spending her time reading and loving on her many pets.

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