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Published On: Mon, Jul 11th, 2016

Medical alert systems: why to get it for your loved one

We all want to take care of our families to the best of our abilities.

But, what do you do if you are one of the “sandwich generation”?  You have young children at home, yet your parents are having medical issues.  

screenshot of video China health care workers

screenshot of video China health care workers

What if they require constant care or supervision? How do you do it all and feel good about your caretaking decisions?

It’s very difficult, even impossible at times, to care for all your family members and do it well.  The situation becomes more formidable if you live far away from your parents and they don’t wish to leave their home and move into an assisted living facility or some other similar living arrangement.  

If your elderly family member is returning home for recovery from surgery, stroke, or a heart attack, they may need ongoing care for a length of time that needs to be 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  

Perhaps they have a chronic illness, suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or are going through cancer treatment.  If the possibility of having home medical care for that 24 hour cycle doesn’t seem feasible, a medical alert system can be the answer to your dilemma.  

A home medical alert system can work in two different ways or in a combination of both.  

  • The first situation is to alert emergency medical personnel and family if your loved one has a fall or other medical emergency.  The person wears a device, usually as a piece of jewelry such as a pendant or bracelet and works in conjunction with an alert center with just a touch of a button.  

By depressing the “panic” button, it triggers a summons for help in a variety of situations in the form of assistance, medical or otherwise.  Some devices allow the wearer and responder to communicate, so that the correct and best assistance can be sent.  

Other, smaller systems just send an “alert” to which a dispatcher calls the user to request extra information about the nature of the emergency.  Some systems alert family or friends as well as medical personnel.

  • The second way a medical alert system works is by monitoring the wearer for personal situations that require further supervision.  Perhaps the senior citizen suffers from dementia and an alarm is activated when a main exit door is opened to prevent the person from wandering away from home.  

Others can be input into other home medical systems to send warnings of symptoms that require additional care for the initial medical situation such as diabetes, heart conditions, arthritis, breathing problems and more.  

This type of monitoring can result in different types of assistance to the sufferer.  A phone call to them or their family can usually precipitate a needed action to deal with the symptom and change the situation in a favorable direction.  

The most sophisticated systems can deal with both regular monitoring and emergency alerts.  It is important to determine what factors are necessary for the care of your loved one before purchasing a medical alert system.  

It is imperative to do your research and know the parameters and limitations of the system you are considering for purchase.  Regular costs, warranties, communication, commitment, service and other features must be evaluated for each individual and their needs.  

A medical alert system can save lives in case of fires, gas leaks, robbery, “wandering away” and falls.  The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that one-third of the population over 65 years old will have a fall.   

Interesting facts:

  • The Journal of American Medical Association goes further in stating that over 47% of seniors who have been injured were unable to regain their footing after an immobilizing fall.  
  • A medical alert system can make all the difference in post-injury care due to prompt treatment according to the Public Health department of Canada.  In these instances, a cell phone simply won’t work, for there are often instances where no signal can be acquired or the senior is too confused to use it properly in moments of distress.  
  • Even if your loved one is not seriously hurt, the British Medical Journal states that approximately 80% of the elderly population with a medical alert device will fail to activate it when needed.  Some don’t think they need assistance or they will simply wait for a family member to “check on them”.   Many simply “forget” to push the button.  

When you purchase your home medical alert system, make sure that your family member is familiar with the procedure and won’t ignore making a life-saving alert notification. It is better to err on the side of caution and call for help than to avoid it when needed.    

  • One of the most popular response systems tells us their subscribers have fewer hospital admissions than those who don’t use one.  Because of their quick response to emergencies, their users have shorter hospital stays.  
  • The bottom line is that a senior with medical issues or one that lives alone and far from family can benefit from actively using a medical alert system.  This can keep your loved ones living independently for a longer time says the New England Journal of Medicine.  

Manufacturers will always highlight the most eye-catching and profitable options of their systems.  Experts will accentuate the necessary features of each system and how it will work for different users and situations.  Lastly, consumer reviewers will point out the flaws and other negatives, such as poor construction or difficult usage of the product.  They will also emphasize the inner workings of the systems that are the most positive.  Customer reviews are significant for giving details that aren’t always evident until after you buy the product.  They can help you discern what functions are necessary and which are frivolous and costly.  

It is important to assess your loved one’s situation and get some medical advice from their main care provider or specialist, before you begin the task of searching for an perfect medical alert system.  Reviews Bee has done the research and offers the Top Ten Medical Alert Systems Reviews and the details needed for you to make an informed decision regarding the purchase of such a system.  

Author: Anna

 photo paffairs_sanfrancisco

photo paffairs_sanfrancisco

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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