Do you and your husband want to keep your independence for as long as possible? Medical alarms equipment can give you and the rest of your family peace of mind while you continue to live in the home you love so much. You can both continue with your daily lives in the familiar surroundings of your own home, with help being only a push button away.
A System With Many Names
The systems that use medical alert devices have many names. You may know them as medical alert systems, personal emergency response systems, elderly alert systems or fall alarm systems. You can either go the do-it-yourself route or pay a small monthly subscription fee for a monitoring service. For complete safety and protection, the best option is a 24-hour interactive personal medical response service. Although used mainly by senior citizens, this type of service is also ideal for people who live alone, are not very mobile, or are ill or disabled.
What Medical Alert Equipment is Available?
There is a wide variety of alarm equipment available that can be used for medical or other emergencies. Basic systems include a limited range pull cord alarm or battery operated body-worn alarms that activate a buzzer or flashing light. Retirement home residents or hospital patients can use a call system linked to a central point in the facility. More complex systems include a 24-hour monitoring service operating from a central control center.
Who Can Benefit From Medical Alert Devices?
Although we don’t like to admit it, getting older does bring extra challenges and risks. We are more prone to accidents, falls or medical emergencies. We are less confident and we get anxious very quickly. We are forgetful and are not always able to make quick decisions. We spend more time at home, and our homes are filled with hazards and obstacles that can cause falls, burns, cuts and electrical shocks. We often have health problems and are more susceptible to a heart attack or a stroke. In spite of this, we would like to stay in our homes among our treasured belongings and pets. We want to be near our friends and the thought of moving fills us with dread. Senior safety is critical. Medical alert devices can provide the solution. Both you and your family will benefit from some form of medical alert equipment. You will be safe and your family will be happy to know that you are being cared for.
Easy-to-Install Medical Alert Systems
The easy-to-install medical alert equipment forms the basis of a complete medical alert system. You connect the alarm unit or base station to the telephone and power supply. You wear a help button all the time, whether you are watching television, cooking in the kitchen, or doing some gardening. Put it on the bedside table when you go to bed so that you do not set it off while you are asleep. If you need help, press the button and an operator will respond immediately. The operator will find out what the problem is, how severe it is, check your medical history and notify relevant family members or emergency medical services.
How To Choose Medical Alert Equipment
There are a number of different systems available. Some are very basic, with a push button which results in a flashing light or a call back from an operator. Others are more complicated with a wide range of features from two-way speaker phones to automatic dialers. It is usually best to choose a very simple system. Some systems are connected to a relative or caregiver and others to a medical alert company. Check through the basic features for each system to see what optional features are available. Decide whether you need them and whether they will be easy to use.
Start With The Help Button
The help button is the basic element of the medical alarms equipment. You can choose to wear a help button either as a wristband, bracelet, pendant or belt clip. A waterproof push button is essential so that you can wear it in the shower or while you are washing your hands or the dishes. Most help buttons send a signal to a control center and an operator will call you back. Some pendants work like a cordless phone, so that you don’t have to get up to use or answer your standard telephone. Other pendants have a button to connect you directly to 911. Some devices send a text message to the mobile phone of a relative or caregiver.
Choosing The Medical Alert System
A rechargeable battery is a must in case of power outages. Is your eyesight failing so that you need Braille characters? Would a two-way speaker phone make things easier for you? How about an automatic dialer that can store emergency and family numbers and bypass an answering machine? A loud home alarm can warn others in the home or nearby about the emergency. Check the internet for a comparison chart of medical alert devices to help you decide.
Take It With You
Do you travel a lot or visit your family often? You will need protection at all times, not only when you are alone at home. The medical alarms equipment is portable so that you can take it with you wherever you go. It doesn’t matter how long you are away from home, you will still be safe. Unplug the equipment and take it with you. When you arrive, plug it in again and contact your monitoring service and tell them where you are. Choose a service that automatically advises a family member when you call for help.
Special Monitoring Features
The monitoring features offered by medical alert devices range from a basic call back response from a control point to comprehensive daily or hourly checks. Choose a personal medical alarm to meet your specific needs. Some monitoring systems are programmed to provide a daily safety or health check. Help buttons respond to specific situations. A medical alarm fall detector triggers a signal when a person falls and remains motionless. Another device sends a signal if the user is not wearing the push button. An inertia alarm triggers a signal if the wearer does not move for a specific period of time. Other sensors monitor vital signs and activate the alarm if things go wrong. A body-worn sensor can set off an alarm if the wearer gets out of bed or tends to wander out of a room or house. Some devices automatically unlock the door to enable emergency personnel to enter the home.
Prevent Emergencies Before They Happen
Even if you do plan to get medical alarms equipment, it is a good idea to try to prevent emergencies from happening in the first place. See what you can do to make your home a safe place to live. Search the internet to find a checklist of things to look at to ensure elder home safety. Some safety hazards may be hidden, others more obvious. Some of the things will be easy to fix or change. Take a walk through your property, room by room, checking each item that needs attention. If this seems rather a daunting task, ask family members or a home health care service to help you.
The main danger points in the home are linked to:
- lighting and light switches
- electrical cords and appliances
- stoves and heaters
- stairs and steps
- loose carpets and rugs
Prepare For Your Monitoring System
It is always difficult to remember things in a panic situation. Keep a list of important information in a prominent place, so that you can answer any questions the monitoring service operator may ask. Draw up a contact list of family members, doctors and specialists. Make a list of medical conditions, chronic ailments and prescribed and over- the-counter medications. Try to keep calm and remember that the person on the other end of the line is a trained professional and is used to handling all types of people and dealing with all types of emergencies. Leave your house keys with a neighbor or the company monitoring your medical alarms equipment so that emergency personnel can enter your house.
Subscribe to a service that will monitor your medical alert devices on a 24 hour basis. You and your husband can enjoy this stage of your lives in the safe and familiar surroundings of your own home knowing that help is at hand should you need it.