Falling is scary enough, but falling alone in your house can be devastating. Most people don’t keep their phone on the floor, so waiting for help to arrive might take hours – or days.
Numerous companies provide medical alert systems – you can wear the alert device on your wrist or around your neck – and many senior or assisted-living lodges either supply them for free or for a small monthly charge. But if you live on your own you should consider engaging one of these services.
Investigate how much medical-alert companies charges and how they bill. They offer a variety of programs, starting at as little as $20 per month. Some of these require a yearlong contract. The services provided can range from a mere 911 alert to police, fire department, hospital and family notification. Check for AARP approval and reviews. And keep an eye out for the crucial factor of response time.
Some medical-alert companies have setup fees, but most don’t. The setup fee should be taken into consideration with the monthly fee. Also consider the travel factor. Does the medical alert work if you’re on the road or out of the country? Does it include a spousal monitor?
And here’s a big issue: is the medical-alert device waterproof? Many falls occur in the bath or shower. If your device isn’t waterproof, it’s useless. And know whether or not you’re getting 24/7 service. These questions should be part of your decision-making process. If you need help, you can always e-mail me.
And remember: your medical-alert device does you no good on the table or on your walker. You must wear it for it to make any sense!
Marla Luckhardt is a Discovery Bay resident and member of the East Contra Costa Senior Coalition. She works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. To contact her, e-mail email@example.com.