Many people associate home alert systems for seniors with the now famous TV commercial with the unforgettable line: “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” This may strike younger people as funny, but for the elderly it’s no laughing matter! Many seniors are forced into assisted living arrangements long before they’re ready because of the fear of a medical emergency such as a fall occurring while living alone. For people of any age, dignity and independence rank pretty high when it comes to quality of life concerns.
When discussing home alert systems for seniors it’s important to examine the conditions that make falls an all too common occurrence in the elderly and the life-threatening impact that can ensue when a senior falls in his or her home while alone.
Falling and impacting the ground hard is a serious concern for young and old alike. The obvious types of injuries that can result from a fall such as sprains, broken bones, and even concussions are no trifling matters. However, following and spraining a wrist or even breaking a pelvis are much easier for the young to recover from than someone in their 80s or 90s.
The body’s ability to heal itself is significantly reduced in the elderly and recuperation can take many months of painful bed rest. What’s perhaps most troubling in recovering from broken bone injuries such as broken hips is that it often results in a rapid decline in overall health many times resulting in death. This can be observed in many of the stories about well-known elderly people who die soon after a bone breaking fall.
It’s a heartbreaking tale that seems to be inevitable for many of the elderly.
Senior Home Alert Systems Provide Peace of Mind
Even if a fall doesn’t result in serious bodily injury, the other potential dangers are in some ways even more horrifying. We’ve all heard stories about an elderly person who fell while alone in their home and lying helpless and frightened on the floor for hour or even days before a concerned child or neighbor happens to discover her. The pain and emotional distress alone from such an experience can be devastating, but there are also the very real health problems that can result such as dehydration, hypothermia or pneumonia if the elderly person happens to experience a fall while outside of their home.
As mentioned in the opening, such real fears can cause an elderly person to elect to move into assisted living or a nursing home even though they are capable of otherwise living independently in his or her own home. In many cases, the children of the elderly may pressure a parent into assisted living because they fear for his or her safety. The silver lining in all this and a major source of peace of mind are home alert systems for seniors.
All immature jokes aside, alert systems for the elderly can make the difference between giving up a life of freedom and confidence for one of dependence and loss of dignity. The real beauty of these systems is that they are both relatively simple in their design and as such, are very affordable. Now that we know what the problem is, let’s have a look at how senior home alert systems work.
Just to be clear, falls are not the only emergency situation that seniors and their loved ones need to be concerned with. There also other medical emergencies such as stroke, heart attack, and medication errors. In addition, seniors may sometimes feel frightened and confused and simply need someone to speak with. Emergency alert systems cover all these situations as well.
In Home Alert Systems for Seniors
The components the comprise a senior alert systems are a pendant that contains a wireless transmitter and a button that the wearer can press in the event of an emergency or other situation requiring speaking to someone in a position to help them. There is also a speaker box that connects to a telephone line that the user can speak into when needing assistance. The sound range for the speaker box is somewhat limited, but with built in amplification circuitry, seniors can be heard even if they are not right next to it.
The final component is the support group that is at the other end of the line when the call is initiated from the in-home alert system. This can either be a 24/7 monitoring center which is provided with the alert system or automated calls placed to people that the user chooses to program into the system such as children, neighbors, or a direct all to 911. Systems that come with a 24/7 monitoring service typically require a monthly subscription plan, whereas the automated calling systems are most often offered for a one-time price. There are pros and cons to each type of system and users and their loved ones should carefully consider which best serves their needs and living situation.
There are quite a few manufacturers of home alert systems for seniors and prices and subscription fees can vary quite a bit. In addition, many of these systems also offer upgraded units as well as accessories. Again, it pays to do your homework and decide if such enhancements are worth it for your situation of if they are an unnecessary expense. At the end of the day, the freedom and peace of mind that an elderly alert system can bring to both seniors and their loved ones is an investment well-worth considering.