“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
We all remember that famous line from the 80s TV ad, meant to teach us the value of medical alert devices for seniors. Those early products served an important purpose from a safety standpoint; but those on the market today serve much broader needs and a lot more gracefully, thanks in part to wireless technology, which allows them to work anywhere (not just inside the home). Many current products will issue an alert simply based on a sudden movement on the wearer’s part, with no push on a button – an important feature if the wearer is incapacitated or unconscious.
If you or someone you love are living independently and concerned about having immediate access to outside help, you may already be looking at investing in what are now referred to as PERS, or Personal Emergency Response Systems. We’ve researched a range of products and have found some worth looking into:
— The LifeFone PERS offers discreet, waterproof pendants with removable belt or pocket clips and a range of up to 1,000 feet in any direction. Users can upgrade to sensors that detect falls on their own, and can also purchase large “HELP” buttons that can be placed in problem areas like bathrooms or stairways. Active customer service reps are available 24/7 via phone or email, and customers can answer their phones by simply pressing the button on their pendant – a nice non-emergency feature. LifeFone also offers smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring, and has service options that connect to both landline and cellular devices. You can find more information on their website.
— Medical Guardian is similar to LifeFone, offering sleek and waterproof pendants that can also be upgraded to detect falls on their own, and operating at a 1,300-foot range. They manufacture both in-home systems (linked to landline or cellular) and GPS-enabled units that can function outside the home. While Medical Guardian pendants can’t detect smoke or carbon monoxide, its consoles do have heat sensors that can notify emergency services in case of fire. 24/7 on-call staff members are 911-certified and can dispatch an ambulance directly to your home. Head to the company’s website for more information.
— The GreatCall Responder system, which works in conjunction with the 5-Star Urgent Response Service, is a wireless, GPS-friendly PERS device that users can attach to a keychain, purse or backpack. With a press on the responder button, users are connected to emergency-certified response agents who can pinpoint their location, dispatch 911 emergency assistance, conference in family or friends, and even provide access to a nurse if needed. Clients can also use their pendant to contact 911 directly. Go to their website to learn more.
— If you want your PERS to give you the latest weather report, there’s a product for that too. The Grand Care system connects to any dedicated internet source and communicates with sensors placed throughout the user’s home to detect a range of activity – a door opening off-hours, a disruption in medication dispersion, any sudden noises or movements. Designated caregivers and family members get customized alerts via phone, text message, or email, and can log onto the company website to send messages and monitor activity 24/7. User networks can also use the system for photo sharing, messaging, home entertainment packages – even music and gaming. Interactive touch and non-TV models are also available; read more on their website.