The last six months have marked the emergence of a global health threat that has taken the world by its knees. Indeed, COVID-19 has completely transformed the way human beings operate, with the fear of infection affecting that way we interact and live on a daily basis.
While the virus has impacted the lives of EVERYONE on a global scale, the COVID-19 disease, in itself, has hit older adults harder than other age groups.
As we have learned more about COVID-19, it has become clear that some people are more likely than others to become very unwell, requiring hospitalisation, or to die if they become infected.
As a result, the impact on older adults is notable. According to World Health Organization (WHO) data from April 2020, more than 95% of COVID-19 deaths were among people over 60 years of age, and more than half of all deaths occurred in people of 80 years-plus. This old-age vulnerability has been exemplified by the destruction of nursing home facilities, stipulated to account for 40% of US COVID-19 deaths; a figure increasingly on the rise.
Consequently, those susceptible groups in society have been advised to stay indoors for their own safety. In the name of public health, seniors citizens are reminded that contact with loved ones is ill-advised, and that remaining in the comfort of their home is an appropriate measure to avoid contracting COVID-19.
With this in mind, the aspect of self-isolation for seniors, particularly when aging in place, has many broader implications…
Beside from the negative mental health impacts as a result of being stuck inside and staring at the same four walls for 6 months, many seniors shielding from COVID-19 have been deprived of additional support from relatives and caregivers due to the existential fear of them possibly being the carriers of the infection. Nursing facilities have also been understaffed and overworked during the pandemic, meaning typical home-visits from carers has been reduced (if not diminished), putting further strain on those seniors living alone at home.
Danger Inside as well as outside?
While the majority of people may believe staying indoors is safeguarding seniors from the dangers of the outside world, the reality may in fact be quite the contrary.
Without the necessary physical care and support from caregivers and relatives, one of the major concerns is the prospect of elderly individuals falling and/or injuring themselves when alone in their homes.
Each year, 3 million seniors in the US are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. Whether it’s a result of dizziness, walking in the dark, hazards around the home or body weaknesses and deficiencies, falls are common injuries endured by a large proportion of seniors in the USA.
The onset of falling is likely to be exacerbated by these current lockdown restrictions, with confinement limiting seniors mobility and subsequently leading to muscle weaknesses and tension. In turn, this could increase the chance of falling.
Without the necessary care and inability to receive tangible support from caregivers and/or relations during the pandemic, the impact of these falls could be life-threatening.
Furthermore, there are also the fears of hospital admissions should a fall occur, with hospital facilities a breeding ground for COVID-19 infection rates.
Fall Prevention Methods
Accordingly, it seems these rather unprecedented times have highlighted the importance of support and assistance from fall prevention tools as seniors age in place.
Without the physical contact or watchful eye of caregivers and relatives, incorporating preventative measures can help safeguard those seniors from falling in their homes – resulting in a hospital visit that could be detrimental to their overall wellbeing.
Tools such as the bed exit alarm are particularly fruitful for this, with a bed sensor pad that plugs into the bed alarm with the cord placed alongside the mattress. The alarm notifies caregivers when a senior has got out of bed without assistance; an integral asset for monitoring them when you can’t physically check up on them on a daily basis.
Installing customisable products is also extremely useful in the age of COVID-19. Products such as the Wireless Economy Central Monitoring Unit can be placed in one central location for easy resident monitoring. The Central Monitoring Unit works with Wireless and cordless bed sensor pads, chair sensor pads, pressure sensing floor mats, motion sensors and call buttons. The components send a silent wireless signal to the Central Monitoring Unit to let the caregiver know that the resident is in need of assistance.
Indeed, fall prevention is always essential. However, the last thing right now an older adult needs is to become injured in a fall and end up in an overcrowded ER filled with victims of the coronavirus.
Our products are designed to safeguard seniors from falling and hurting themselves, striving
to assist you with great customer service while giving you the best options to help care for those who are at risk of falling
For the past 12 years, we at Val-U-Care have been specializing in the distribution of Smart Caregiver bed exit alarms. We firmly believe that, with the proper use of bed exit alarms, you can effectively and efficiently prevent wandering at night, unnecessary injuries from falls and re-admissions amongst seniors. The fall prevention and anti-wandering products that we offer can greatly improve the quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver.