If you're caring for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, it's important to keep them safe at night. You might not know exactly what it takes to do this until the person has a bad experience and you realise how easy it is for them to get hurt in bed. Here are some tips that can help keep Alzheimer’s patients from wandering around late at night:
Don't wake them up to go to the bathroom
Don't wake them up to go to the bathroom. If an Alzheimer's patient needs help getting out of bed, don't wake them up from their sleep. Instead, stay with them and guide them back into bed once they've completed their task.
It's also important not to disturb their night-time routine if it doesn't include going to the bathroom; for example, if they normally get up in the middle of the night for something else (such as water), don't interrupt that unless absolutely necessary.
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Use a bed alarm
A bed alarm is a device that can be used to alert you if the patient tries to get out of bed during the night. The most common type of bed alarm looks like a set of straps with a mechanism for detecting movement, such as a pressure pad underneath the mattress or on top of the sheets. When someone attempts to get up from their bed, this will trigger an alarm that alerts caregivers. Another type of bed alarm is similar but uses sensors in each corner of the room instead; when someone leaves their designated safe zone (which is usually marked out with tape), an alarm will sound.
If the patient has trouble breathing while they're sleeping, you may want to invest in a respiratory monitoring device as well—this will allow you or other caregivers to keep track of how often they stop breathing and how long it takes before their breathing returns to normal.
Make sure the bedroom is safe and accessible
When you're trying to keep an Alzheimer's patient in bed at night, make sure the bedroom is safe and accessible.
Due to the nature of Alzheimer’s, you may find that patients have trouble sleeping at night. This is common among Alzheimer's patients, who tend to be more active at night and require less sleep than their healthy counterparts. To help them get a good night's rest, make sure their bedroom is as comfortable as possible.
Consider providing entertainment options in the bedroom—a radio or TV with headphones, a nightlight with low-level light therapy, reading materials (maybe even a tablet or laptop computer), and small puzzles or games like crosswords and word searches. You might want to consider appropriate furniture so these items are easily accessible.
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Put up nightlights in the bedroom and the bathroom
While Alzheimer's patients who are prone to wandering will often be unable to see well in the dark, they can still feel their way around. In addition, some nightlights have a low level of illumination that doesn't disturb or confuse people with dementia. For example, you might want to try nightlights with a soft glow or ones that give off light from just one bulb at a time (like those made by Sleepless Nights).
When placing your nightlight near their bedside table, make sure it's not too bright for the patient. Try using a bulb with less than 60 watts and setting the brightness at about 5 milliamperes per square metre (this measure is used instead of watts because it more accurately describes how much light is being emitted). If possible, keep any other lights in the room dimmed as well—you don't want them trying to navigate through total darkness after falling asleep!
Prepare early in the day for nighttime activities
Prepare the bedroom in advance. Ideally, do this before they go to bed for the night. Set up the bed alarm if you've purchased one and have been trained on how to use it. You should also make sure that the bedroom is comfortable and cosy with plenty of blankets so that sleep comes easily. You may also want to put some sort of padding on top of their mattress so that they don't fall out at night (if applicable).
Safety is paramount when caring for Alzheimer’s patients, so ensure safety by keeping everything within reach within arm's length of where they sleep. This includes medical supplies such as oxygen tanks or nebulizers if needed; call buttons or pendants if they rely on them during waking hours; drink bottles filled with water; glasses filled with juice and other comfort items. There should be no obstacles preventing anyone from getting up quickly when needed!
We hope these tips have helped you understand the best ways to keep Alzheimer’s patients safe and comfortable during the night, but we understand that this is a huge challenge.