More than 33 percent of accidents and falls involving people over age 65 occur at home, according to the CDC. A caregiver’s worries never end, particularly when the elderly parent wants to remain living in their own home – which most seniors would prefer to do for as long as possible. But what if an elderly mother falls, or dad has heart attack, stroke or any medical emergency? What if they are home alone? What if they can’t get to a telephone to dial for help?
There are many devices available that will instantly summon help in the event of an emergency. Sometimes called Personal Emergency Response System, Medical Alert, or Medical Emergency Response Systems, all systems work in essentially the same way: When emergency help (medical, fire, or police) is needed, the senior presses the transmitter’s button. The elderly person wears the transmitter around their neck, on their wrist, belt buckle or wheelchair. In case of emergency, the senior calls for help by simply pressing the alert button, without needing to reach the telephone.
Emergency Response Systems have three components: a small radio transmitter (a help button carried or worn by the user); a console, or base station, connected to the user’s telephone; and an emergency response center that monitors calls. The console automatically dials the Central Monitoring Station. Most systems can dial out even if the phone is in use or off the hook. (This is called “seizing the line.”)
In addition to dialing the emergency response center, once notified, the operator will also contact family, friends and neighbors. With so many systems on the market, what should a caregiver look for when purchasing?