As our parents and grandparents age, it is only natural to experience some anxiety when thinking about their safety and wellbeing – especially if they live alone. The mere thought of them falling and getting injured and not being able to call for help is enough to give anyone shivers down their spine.
Over 32 000 deaths occur each year due to bad falls, and one out of every five falls causes a significant injury like a head wound or a broken bone. That fact is particularly unnerving when you find out that most of those deaths are preventable.
We’ve all heard the horror stories, and we know the statistics, so what do we do now?
The answer is simple. Invest in a medical alert system for your elderly loved one. Medical alert systems are personal medical devices that connect users with emergency services or a loved one in the event of an accident or injury.
This article will help you choose the right one for your loved one by giving you some aspects to consider.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries and the most common cause of trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. The reports from the CDC indicate that the rate of deaths from falls among people older than 65 increased by over thirty per cent in the last 10 years.
In-home medical alert systems have a base station and a wearable component. The wearable component can be anything from a necklace to a belt clip, the vital part is the emergency button that it will be fitted with. This type of device is vital during these challenging times.
The base stations normally plug into a phone jack or operate on a mobile network signal for users who do not have landlines. The emergency button is usually large and functions as a “help” button for your elderly loved one.
When that button is triggered it sends a signal through to the base station, which in turn will trigger a call to either an emergency monitoring center or a pre-selected number. The base station of the system has a loudspeaker and a microphone built into it, that is designed so the device can be used throughout the user’s home.
The only downside to in-home systems is that they have a defined range of how close the user needs to be for the system to work. That option is better for those of us with loved ones who spend more time indoors.
Some of the best medical alert systems for seniors will include a mobile version of the above. The on-the-go option is for seniors who are still active and spend a lot of time outdoors or travelling. These devices will work with a cellular signal alone, which means they can work anywhere a mobile phone can.
These mobile systems do not have a set range in which they can operate. Your elderly loved one will still need to wear the personal device and follow the same procedure as the in-home solution.
Some medical alert companies offer both monitored and unmonitored devices. The monitored devices give your loved one access to a 24-hour monitoring center. Those centers are staffed by trained dispatchers, much like 9-1-1 operation centers.
In an emergency, the dispatcher will assess the situation and take prompt action to help your loved one. Take this into consideration when choosing your system – some companies will allow their users to set preferences for who to call if something happens.
Please note that if the dispatcher cannot communicate with your loved one, they will automatically send help to their location.
Non-monitored systems work differently. These systems connect their user with their designated contact when they push the help button. These numbers are programmed into the device when it is purchased. The selected contact numbers can be anyone from a relative to a neighbor or even directly to 9-1-1. You get to choose who your loved one connects to in their time of need, so be sure to pick a reliable person.
Some non-monitored systems allow two-way communication, and others play a pre-recorded message to inform the user’s contact that they need assistance. It is then up to the contact person to decide whether to call for emergency assistance from 9-1-1 – the device will not do this on its own.
When Are These Systems Necessary?
You may be wondering if your friend or loved one even needs a system like this; the answer is probably yes. These systems are helpful for senior citizens who live alone or far away from friends or relatives. They can also be handy if your loved one is prone to falls or doesn’t like to answer calls or texts.
For the most part, these systems are designed to give you peace of mind that your parent or grandparent is safe and able to call for help if they need to. That does not mean that this system should take the place of regular phone calls and visits.
These systems are also necessary if your loved one has a medical condition that requires medical attention or if their medication causes significant side effects, like drowsiness or shortness of breath.
Make Sure The Company Is Reputable
Check online for websites or groups that review these kinds of medical alert systems, the best advice you will ever get is from someone who has been in your shoes. You must choose a company that delivers on its promises and does its best to keep its users safe and happy.
If it helps, find a company with a risk-free trial option. Most companies offer these systems with a 14–30-day trial period in which you can get a complete refund should you not be completely satisfied with their service or equipment.
Many systems offer extras, such as fall detection and alert reminders for taking chronic medications. These are great options for senior citizens who fall often or regularly forget to take their medication.
Whichever option you choose – may it give you the peace of mind that you are so desperately looking for. We have all been there, and it can be a scary journey to navigate on your own. We have all been there, and it can be a scary journey to navigate on your own. In case these options do not resolve or help with your situation, you can also take a look at some nursing homes around your place. Good thing, Senior Strong can help you find the best one.