Tips for Creating a Senior Safety Net for Our Aging Parents – Part 2
This is Part 2 of a two-part series.
Click here for Part 1.
In Part 1 of this series I describe steps family caregivers can take to create a “Senior Safety Net” for our aging parents. Purchasing a medical alert system (or personal emergency response system) for our Golden Oldies’ homes is a major component of this pro-active safety plan.
How Does It Work?
A medical alert system is simple and easy-to-use. Help is literally at our parents’ fingertips in the form of a medical alert button that is worn around their neck, on the wrist or on a belt clip. The buttons are waterproof and can be worn in the bath or shower where falls often occur. It is connected wirelessly to a two-way voice communcation center where there is an operator on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When the button is pushed, it activates the in-home console and a signal is sent to the monitoring center. An operator’s voice will be heard in your parents’ home, asking if everything is OK. If your parent needs help, or if they can’t speak, an operator will call the appropriate emergency response unit (Fire or Police Department) based on need. The operator will also notify family, neighbors or friends to let them know the situation. This all occurs in a matter of minutes. The operator will follow up to be sure that help has arrived.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing
Medical alert systems are a service you or your parents will be purchasing. It always is smart to research carefully the features, benefits and references of each of the systems you are considering.
Here are some questions to ask the companies:
- Does the system automatically test itself each week to be sure it’s functioning properly? Can you self-test it?
- How long has the company been in business? Are there customers in the area you can contact yourself by phone for references?
- What is the training period and courses for operators? Does the training include continuing education?
- Ask about the company’s customer service, for the actual monitoring system as well as for technical questions you may have about the operation of the unit.
- What costs are involved? Are there start-up fees? Is there a minimum amount of time you must enroll for? Is there a long-term contract required? Reputable services will usually offer a money-back trial period at no risk to the buyer.
- Are repairs or replacement parts included at no charge?
- Is there an emergency back-up power supply in case the electricity goes out?
Why Have a Medical Alert System?
I consider this a major component of a “Senior Safety Net” for our aging parents because it will allow them to live independently longer. Our Golden Oldies who live alone or have health-related problems will find a system like this very valuable. And even if they don’t live alone, a medical alert system is needed because accidents and emergencies are never expected. What if one of your parents needs help while the other is away from home?
My hope is that not only will our Golden Oldies feel safer with a system like this installed in their home, but so will their families.
If you’d like to compare a few highly-recommended medical alert systems, check out each of the links below:
LifeStation Medical Alert Systems
Philips Lifeline Medical Alert Systems
Have you or your parents had experience with an emergency medical alert system? Do they provide you and your parents with peace of mind? I welcome your comments or questions below.