Helping Seniors Stay Independent
If you have an aging loved one who is still living on their own, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about a wearable medical alert system. Remember that awful commercial “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”? There are so many services out there it’s hard to figure out what’s the best and most cost-effective solution. As a daily money manager who’s worked with both seniors and busy families, I’ve learned some tips that can help you navigate this important decision.
For some of my senior clients, they are all too happy to agree to a medical alert system. Why? Because it means they can keep their independence while living in their home. For others, it symbolizes a turning point in the aging process that they simply don’t want to face. When faced with opposition, consider these points:
- Peace of Mind, not Helplessness — everyone is susceptible to the effects of aging. Falls or other health emergencies can have dire consequences. Gently review the situation and let your senior loved one come to the conclusion that it’s about peace of mind for them and you. The reality is that a medical alert system can mean more time living safely in their home independently.
- Embarrassed to Speak with Strangers about Health Issues — often it’s easier to speak with someone who knows you well. As we age, there are times where we need help with very personal activities of daily living. This can be very embarrassing for seniors, deterring them from asking for help when they most need it.
Here’s a very real and recent example. A friend’s elderly neighbor who lives alone recently fell after a shower; she became dizzy and fell in her bedroom. The good news — she had a medical alert charm around her neck. The bad news — she was naked and too embarrassed to push the button. As a result, she ended up lying on the floor all day. The house was locked up with the windows closed, no air conditioning running during one of the hottest days of summer. When help finally arrived, she was so dehydrated she had to be hospitalized.
- Affordable & Easy to Use — Most medical alert pendants are lightweight, waterproof and easy to use. Set-up can take less than 15 minutes and monitoring professionals are on hand to answer questions. The average cost of an alert and monitoring is much less than in-home care services or nursing home expenses.
- Landline or Mobile – with the advancement and adoption of cellular technology, many homes don’t have landlines anymore. Obviously, a service tied to a landline isn’t movable, which can be a drawback if you want to take the equipment with you.
- Fall Detection – this is an option that adds to your monthly fee. For loved ones who fall frequently or have dementia, this feature may be worth the extra expense.
- Wellness Check-ins or Medication Reminders — making sure everything is ok once a day can provide huge peace of mind. Missing medication doses is a common problem with the elderly.
When we needed a system for my aging father, my sister found GreatCall, a medical alert system that had GPS in a pendant. Since he lived 20-minutes from town, we wanted a solution that alerted us whenever Dad left the house. We could see on a map where he was at any given time. That was the right system for our needs, but there are many services available. For comparison of medical alert systems, Consumer Reports and Senior Safety Reviews provide handy guides with pricing and features.
As Bette Davis said “getting old ain’t for sissies.” A medical alert system can make the aging process easier for everyone. Of course, a medical alert system isn’t right for every situation. Do your homework and use common sense to find the right solution for your situation.
Ask For Help
Our lives – especially when we care for seniors — can be complicated. Know when you need help. Fiscally Fit has a trained staff of professionals that ease the burden of getting and staying financially organized. Call me to set up a complimentary 30-minute consultation.