A month or so ago Dad took a bad fall. He’d been trying to get a warmer shirt out of the closet when he lost his balance and fell. It was just after midnight. Many people with Parkinson’s have a soft or low voice, including my Dad. Add to that the clothes absorbing some of the sound, and that mom was in a deep sleep…Dad was on the floor for almost four hours. (Our room is on the opposite end of the house so we weren’t any help either).
I was telling my friend (who has a family member that works at Hughes Security Solutions) about my idea to prevent that long wait for help from happening again. She also has experience caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s, and was eager to help. There were several small personal alarms to choose from. I picked out the one I thought would fit best on his walker leg. It cost just under $18.
I chose this alarm because it works like a grenade…pull the pin and it goes off. If Dad’s tremor was extra bad, or he was too weak to hold down the button, all he’d have to do is pull the cord. Also, the pin never comes all the way out, so you’re in no danger of losing it. A simple tap to push the pin back in turns off the alarm.
Step 1: I moved the wrist cord to the pin. This would be tough for someone with PD to do themselves, and I admit my efforts aren’t the prettiest, but it worked. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the ring holding the cord, as well as the cute rhinestone charm off the pin. Moving the cord ring to the pin was more challenging than I’d thought, but it’s functional.
(This particular model also has a motion sensor option. I made sure that switch was in the “off” position, and closed the sensor cover.)
Step 2: I attached the alarm to the front leg of Dad’s walker using 3M Command Picture Hanging Velcro strips. (about $4 for a package). I attached it high enough above the wheel that there is no risk of it being accidentally activated, but low enough that if he was on the floor he’d be able to reach and pull the cord.
Hopefully we won’t need to use this, but it does give us peace of mind that should this happen again Dad won’t be on the floor for hours.
TIP: Make sure to remove the batteries BEFORE starting your engineering work…otherwise your family will be subjected to 100 decibels of shrieking alarm. This model has a slide off battery cover, but some have tiny screws that may be difficult to maneuver.