Moved both parents in, both fall sometimes. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Moved both parents in, both fall sometimes. Any advice?

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They live in the apartment downstairs (LR, BR, BA), and sometimes fall at night. Both mother and father-in-law are mobile, but need assistance walking. My FIL's mobility issues are from sitting in a nursing home where they didn't care if he got up to walk or not and now he is unsteady on his feet. In the NH he was on an alert system for any time he tried to get out of bed due to falls, but most of the time he ended up walking to the bathroom anyway because of the response time. He either wet himself or the bed in the middle of the night. Outside of sleeping down there with them, what would be the best system to have in our house in case this happens so we can stay upstairs and sleep in our bed? There is one bedroom downstairs, and it's the one they sleep in. I was possibly thinking about a walkie-talkie type device where they can ask for help to potty from us, and in short of putting a baby monitor downstairs (I would rather not hear their nightly conversations but will if it's necessary), what other type of device would make communication in the middle of the night easier, or alert us in case one of them falls and/or needs assistance? We are going to get a medical alert system, too. We have moved furniture so there is nothing in the way of them getting out of bed, they have rails on the bed to hold onto when they get up. My father in law doesn't like to wear Depends, and they seem to leak, anyway, and he usually ends up taking them off. Just looking to find out what other caregivers do that have multi-level homes.

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Shoot- noticed you were looking for medical alerts, too. I am very familiar with "Freedom Alerts" which are one time cost items. Roughly $300 for the unit but get the extra pendant (less than $100) so that they each have their own. You can program it to dial up to 4 numbers before 911- if they fall they hit the button and you could have it call your cellphone first- it is two way communication so you can quickly know what the situation is. Would be glad to answer any questions.
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You might also consider a felt waterproof pad for under the sheets just as an extra precaution. Consider the baby monitor. Sounds like a good idea.

Ask your parents what would be easiest for them. Getting to the bathroom at night can be an ordeal for elder who isn't as mobile or steady, so the urinal sounds like a good idea long with a pee pee pad in the bad to take care of occasional accident.
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Lots of nice suggestions- the problem appears to getting from the bed to take care of bedroom needs so the urinal and bedside commodes make sense. Sleepiness and being lightheaded when rising from the bed is very common- is that the spot when most falls occur? Many of the typical bedrails on the market are junk and don't provide any real stability- but there are better options available. A huge aid to prevent falls is a balance pole (SuperPoles, Friendly Beds) that a person could grab to help them to stand and provide stability before moving forward with walker or whatever. If the bedside commode is next to the balance pole risks of falls greatly decrease and you could get yourself decent sleep at night.
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I installed a wireless, battery-operated doorbell system. Easy to install, can be purchased at any home improvement store. Put a doorbell in the bathroom, on the nightstand, on the walker, next to their recliner. You can set different rings for different areas, with multiple receivers. If they need your help, it's within reach and easy to operate.
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What about a bedside commode? However, your folks may not want to use the bathroom in the presence of the other one. But it would cut down on all the walking to and from the bathroom.

Blannie's idea of a urinal for your dad is a good one but I would imagine he'd have to turn on the light in order to see where he was aiming. This may disturb your mom.

There are only so many precautions you can take to prevent an elderly person from falling. When my dad came home from the rehab the PT suggested I tear up all the carpet. Yeah, right! Like I had the money to do all of that. But clearing walkways and getting raised toilet seats or a toilet that goes over the regular toilet that has handrails. Grab bars. Discouraging risky behavior like wandering around the house at night, walking around without an aide like a walker or a cane....there are a thousand things you can do to help prevent someone from falling but a High Fall Risk person will always be a High Fall Risk person. They don't go down to Moderate Fall Risk or No Fall Risk. You just do what you can.
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For your dad, I'd get him a little plastic pee container like they use in the hospital. He can sit on the side of the bed and pee into it and put the lid on. No need to go to the bathroom at night. Google men's portable urinal and you'll see what I mean. They're less than $10.

I'm assuming they both use walkers? If not, they should. As PStegman says, a nightlight is imperative.

Also be sure to have their health care professionals check their blood pressure when the go from sitting to standing. Some elders' blood pressure drops when they stand up and that can cause dizziness and fainting/falling. It's called orthostatic hypotension.

And of course remove any rugs between their bed and the toilet. You could also consider a bedside commode, that would be closer to the bed. If it meant a good night's sleep for me, I'd get one for my parents.
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Night lights leading from the bedroom to the bathroom are good. If there is a long hallway, a handrail at hip level helps. The toilet should have a seat with side rails, a grab rail on the tub too. The conversations you will learn to tune out, and just listen for a yell. An Occupational Therapist can be ordered by the MD and they have a wealth of tips to share on making it easier.
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