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Old July 4, 2009, 02:15 PM   #1
Zac495
 
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elderly father and falling out of bed

My 84 year old dad keeps falling out of bed. My mom and sister are in Quebec with him where they just spent a day in the emergency room. We're not sure we should take our planned vacation with him in August. SO SAD. He's actually Einstein - brilliant - but having short term memory loss now. He could still win Jeopardy if only he could hit the botton fast enough.

Any thoughts about the bed?
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Old July 4, 2009, 02:21 PM   #2
Karen G
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Any thoughts about the bed?
Could his mattress be placed on the floor so he wouldn't have far to fall?
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Old July 4, 2009, 02:21 PM   #3
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If he can get up and down, maybe an air mattress on the floor. Or a set of portable bed rails, that have a part that slips between the mattress and springs. Guess it depends on whether you're driving or flying what options are available. Renting a hospital bed where you're going may not be feasible if you will be in tight quarters.
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Old July 4, 2009, 02:32 PM   #4
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Based on recent experiences with my mother, your Dad will enjoy the vacation, but it will be gone from his memory almost as soon as he comes home. I think the mattress on the floor or air mattress are good ideas if he is able to get up and down from the floor.

Sue
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Old July 4, 2009, 02:33 PM   #5
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I am sorry for you that he is starting to fail. If it is alzheimers it will only get worse. This is not about falling off the bed, but at least equally important. Make sure, if you can, that your mother or someone else in the family has a power of attorney to handle his financial matters when it becomes needed. Also, an Advanced Directive or Living Will that appoints a health agent is critical. This is a very difficult situation. I have seen the consequences of not having the proper documents at the ready.
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Old July 4, 2009, 03:00 PM   #6
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Please be courteous

Inappropriate comment. Please stay on topic.

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Old July 4, 2009, 03:09 PM   #7
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Suggestion: Go to your local medical supply outlet center; they should sell some type of bed railing that you can purchase to attach to the bed. This will help some to keep the patient in bed. Good luck.
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Old July 4, 2009, 03:44 PM   #8
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A quick google search for adult bed rails turns up a lot of sites like this one http://www.parentgiving.com/shop/bed...6sx383pi33ai80
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Old July 4, 2009, 04:27 PM   #9
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The bed rails suggested in other posts are a good bet. You may have a situation explaining to him why he should sleep on a mattress on the floor. This from experience with both of my grandmothers. I wouldn't cancel the vacation if you can help it. I Agree with Sue that he will still enjoy it, and as long as you can keep it safe for him, even though it may pass from his memory quickly, I believe it will create wonderful memories of time spent with him for you.
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Old July 4, 2009, 05:09 PM   #10
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Be sure a family member has been to his regular doctor with him.

One MAJOR caution abou the bedrails. If he's rolling out of bed in his sleep, they will help. If he gets confused about where he is and falls while climbing out of bed, then these will only cause him to fall from a higher point and increase his risk of hurting himself. Be sure that he's had a medical workup for dementia as a few causes of dementia are treatable. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's can only be slowed, not stopped or reversed. Hope things go better for you.

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Old July 4, 2009, 05:13 PM   #11
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Hi Ellen,

So sorry to hear about this. I think the bed rails are the best idea. He would probably have a hard time getting in and out of a bed on the floor. Plus someone would still have to help him get into bed if he was on the floor and just rolled out. I don't know where your August vacation is but you may want to try a baby rental company called babys away where you could rent a bed rail. They have a website, so try them for your location.

I think you should still take him with you if you think you and your family will enjoy having him along! And even if he forgets it shortly after getting back, he no doubt will enjoy the vacation while it's happening. Brining joy to a loved one even if that joy is brief is still rewarding!

Best of luck on this. Still keeping you and your family in my prayers!

Janna
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Old July 4, 2009, 05:43 PM   #12
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Hi Ellen,

I am not so sure about having an elderly person sleep on a mattress on the floor for a couple of reasons but the main one is lifting him from the floor may cause damage to him and the persons lifting.

When I was in clincals last spring, one of the nursing homes used these for patients that were aware and functional but a fall risk. In our state, we can't use rails with elderly, they are considered restraints.

http://www.posey.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=5716
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Old July 4, 2009, 08:17 PM   #13
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I'm 74 and my German Shepard pushed me out of bed twice in the last year or so (the dog in the bed and the gun under my pillow are my security). After the first time it happened I put a bunch of pillows on the floor next to the bed. When I got pushed out the last time (about 6 months ago) I had a nice soft landing.

George
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Old July 4, 2009, 08:17 PM   #14
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Thanks - we've thought about the rails, but worry he will be kind of stuck in bed with them when he does want to get up. He's not so bad that he can't take care of himself yet. He takes showers, etc on his own. I'm not sure it's alzheimers - but his mother had it... Worries me because it's been his biggest fear since he was my age (50) ...

He talks about how he's failing - but in such a way that it seems he isn't as bad as it seems - terrible sentence. For instance, we play bridge, the four of us. He forgets basic conventions from time to time (though still plays well). Then he talks about how badly he plays - remembering what he did wrong. It's odd.

I do think he'll remember the vacation - it just fills us all with dread that something will go wrong.

OY - you remember my cousin died last month at 54 tragically. That's way more horrible than living to a bad stage - yet....... Sure makes you wonder about life - and appreciate the good times.

I can't help them right this moment, as I'm in HAWAII! The internet has sure changed our lives, huh?

THANKS for listening.
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Old July 4, 2009, 09:54 PM   #15
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So, you have to figure out if he's falling out of bed while he's sleeping or when he's trying to get out of bed. If it's while he's sleeping, I think long term the bed rails are the best idea -- at that age you don't want to risk broken bones or sprains. Many of the bed rail designs are easy enough to put down from the outside, or he could just pull back the covers and scoot off the end of the bed. Some bedrails can be placed just near the head of the bed so that he can actually get out around them. If he's falling out of bed when he's trying to get out eg. dizziness (from changes in blood pressure as he goes from laying down to getting up), or lack of muscle control in a drowsy state, etc. you could think about a grab bar, or even a walker placed by the bed for him to steady himself. If it weren't for the memory issues, training himself to get up slower, take a pause as he's getting up, would be very helpful.

As for the vacation, if he's otherwise ok, I think you should go ahead with it. It will be good memories for all of you, not just him, and you may really regret not taking the opportunity if he can't travel when he gets older. Most medical supply stores have rentals available, so you could probably arrange to rent bedrails, etc. and have them delivered to the resort.

One other thing I wanted to mention, you may want to check that his medications are not causing any of these problems. He should definitely be referred to a gerentologist to see if some of these issues can be resolved either by changing medications, changing his routines, etc.

Last edited by Redrosesix; July 4, 2009 at 10:00 PM. Reason: adding
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Old July 4, 2009, 11:29 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Redrosesix View Post
So, you have to figure out if he's falling out of bed while he's sleeping or when he's trying to get out of bed. If it's while he's sleeping, I think long term the bed rails are the best idea -- at that age you don't want to risk broken bones or sprains. Many of the bed rail designs are easy enough to put down from the outside, or he could just pull back the covers and scoot off the end of the bed. Some bedrails can be placed just near the head of the bed so that he can actually get out around them. If he's falling out of bed when he's trying to get out eg. dizziness (from changes in blood pressure as he goes from laying down to getting up), or lack of muscle control in a drowsy state, etc. you could think about a grab bar, or even a walker placed by the bed for him to steady himself. If it weren't for the memory issues, training himself to get up slower, take a pause as he's getting up, would be very helpful.

As for the vacation, if he's otherwise ok, I think you should go ahead with it. It will be good memories for all of you, not just him, and you may really regret not taking the opportunity if he can't travel when he gets older. Most medical supply stores have rentals available, so you could probably arrange to rent bedrails, etc. and have them delivered to the resort.

One other thing I wanted to mention, you may want to check that his medications are not causing any of these problems. He should definitely be referred to a gerentologist to see if some of these issues can be resolved either by changing medications, changing his routines, etc.
As a matter of fact, I believe my mom said he took double sleeping pills - though I can't recall - losing my short term memory, too.

Thank you for all the suggestions. When I get back to the mainland I will help my mom look into all of this. BTW, my folks are professors of psychology - my mom at 79 still working - still traveling the world, as she is a very famous linguistic psychologist. Anyone go to University of Penn? They're quite remarkable people. Too many people write off old folks - but you would all adore both of them I'm quite sure - brilliant, fascinating, kind, giving.

Yes, I do believe he will enjoy the vacation. It's so sad that it's going to be our last.
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Old July 5, 2009, 12:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zac495 View Post
Thanks - we've thought about the rails, but worry he will be kind of stuck in bed with them when he does want to get up. He's not so bad that he can't take care of himself yet. He takes showers, etc on his own. I'm not sure it's alzheimers - but his mother had it... Worries me because it's been his biggest fear since he was my age (50) ...

He talks about how he's failing - but in such a way that it seems he isn't as bad as it seems - terrible sentence. For instance, we play bridge, the four of us. He forgets basic conventions from time to tCheck his medicationime (though still plays well). Then he talks about how badly he plays - remembering what he did wrong. It's odd.

I do think he'll remember the vacation - it just fills us all with dread that something will go wrong.

OY - you remember my cousin died last month at 54 tragically. That's way more horrible than living to a bad stage - yet....... Sure makes you wonder about life - and appreciate the good times.

I can't help them right this moment, as I'm in HAWAII! The internet has sure changed our lives, huh?

THANKS for listening.
Check his medication. My dad started having problems and I insisted that the medictation be reviewed and changed if possible. Bingo, all signs of dimensia disappeared and did not return. Sometimes it is the meedictaion that older people are taking.
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Old July 5, 2009, 08:09 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Zac495 View Post
As a matter of fact, I believe my mom said he took double sleeping pills - though I can't recall - losing my short term memory, too.

Thank you for all the suggestions. When I get back to the mainland I will help my mom look into all of this. BTW, my folks are professors of psychology - my mom at 79 still working - still traveling the world, as she is a very famous linguistic psychologist. Anyone go to University of Penn? They're quite remarkable people. Too many people write off old folks - but you would all adore both of them I'm quite sure - brilliant, fascinating, kind, giving.

Yes, I do believe he will enjoy the vacation. It's so sad that it's going to be our last.
Some of my best economics professors were the same age as your parents (one was older than your dad). My grandmother and my mother had a lot of issues with sleeping pills and blood pressure medications and had to have their prescriptions changed (medications that they had taken for years with no problem). That could account for both of the issues your dad is having, and so easy to fix. When people get older, all of the rules about medications change and it's strange because it can happen very suddenly.

I agree with you -- people write off the older generation too quickly. Plus, since we're aging better than we used to, there hasn't been enough research done on how our bodies and our brains change as we get up into those years.
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Old July 5, 2009, 08:10 AM   #19
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Good idea to check the meds. DH's aunt had a lot of difficulties, including getting out of bed in the middle of the night and wandering around, totally disoriented. Finally DH's uncle had the doctors check her (many, many) meds and it turned out she had SEVERAL interactions that could have been causing these bad effects. She was much improved after the meds were corrected.

Also, those Soft Rails Emily suggested look very promising. They would not keep your father from getting out of bed...look how short they are. He could just sit up and put his feet on the floor.

I agree that the mattress on the floor is not a great idea for an elderly person. I know I would have trouble getting up from a bed on the floor myself!

You could also look into buying or renting a hospital-type bed. They're usually very comfortable, and they have rails that the person in the bed can use as grab bars to help them stand up. Some have adjustable heights so you can set up the bed to be a bit lower down, too.
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Old July 5, 2009, 09:05 AM   #20
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Excellent ideas to rent a hospital bed and to check your father medications.
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Old July 5, 2009, 11:41 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily View Post
Hi Ellen,

I am not so sure about having an elderly person sleep on a mattress on the floor for a couple of reasons but the main one is lifting him from the floor may cause damage to him and the persons lifting.

When I was in clincals last spring, one of the nursing homes used these for patients that were aware and functional but a fall risk. In our state, we can't use rails with elderly, they are considered restraints.

http://www.posey.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=5716
Looks interesting! THANKS!
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Old July 5, 2009, 02:06 PM   #22
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Ellen-
The suggestions to have the medications carefully evaluated is definitely a must do asap. My friend's Mom was diagnosed with dementia and actually placed in a care facility in Florida that couldn't handle her anymore. My friends brought her up to NY and had her evaluated here (so much for Florida medical care...) and it was a drug interaction. She is coherent, conversational and simply a delight now.

Those posey bolsters seem like a terrific product, and are short enough that if you use it by the head of the bed it will provide trunkal stability but still allow him to easily get out of bed. reviewing sitting at the edge of the bed briefly before standing, etc., is important as well. Beds can be shoved against a wall, chairs can be placed along the side, etc.; there are always solutions.

Assessing how he fell- in his sleep, getting out of bed, etc., is important. If he simply rolled out of bed then a short barrier is appropriate, but if it was when getting up then other precautions may be necessary.

Do whatever you can to take your parents with you. Sitting on the other side of the fence, so to speak, I can tell you that the last vacation we had with my Dad was priceless. At the time we never thought it would be our last , and might even have cherished each moment a bit more.

Let's face it- we all get busy in our everyday lives, and vacation time forces us to enjoy each other. Especially since you are going fairly local, if it's at all possible to make it work I definitely would go for it.

Hopefully he didn't hurt himself when falling and you can enjoy your weeks in Hawaii stress free. You are lucky that you have a sibling that is willing/capable of handling things now so hopefully you can relax a bit with your family.
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