Medical Alert Systems Help Frail Parents and Their Caregivers

It’s hard to watch your parents age. Whether they have a chronic illness or just appear frail or weak, it’s difficult to know that your once strong and independent parents now seem so fragile. It’s hard to face the risks that may now threaten their health and safety, too.

In 2011, 2.4 million seniors were treated for fall injuries in the emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and these are just the ones who suffered injuries. Estimates show that one-third of people over age 65 fall each year, and many struggle with getting up on their own. A medical alert system can give you peace of mind while allowing your parents to remain more independent.

How Do Medical Alert Systems Work?

Medical alert systems have been around for over 40 years, but today’s systems include technologies that would have seemed otherworldly when the original systems were built. You can still get traditional, home-based systems that include a base unit and a simple pendant. When the button is pushed, the base unit acts as a speakerphone to contact a call center. From there, the trained operator can dispatch first responders — or even call you.

More modern devices, like Philips Lifeline GoSafe, work both inside the house and outside when your parent is on the go.3 These pendants feature a speaker and microphone built in and can contact the call center through a cellular network if your parent is not within range of the base unit at home. This is a good investment for an at-risk senior who continues to be active in the community or who frequently has appointments to attend.

If you are concerned that your parent could fall and be too upset or somehow unable to call for help, pendants with automatic fall detection are also available. These pendants automatically contact the call center when a possible fall is detected.

How Can Medical Alert Systems Benefit Caregivers?

It’s easy to become overprotective of a parent who appears frail or weak. At times it can seem like a never-ending battle to ensure he is safe. If your parent comes to live with you, you may feel compelled to check on her constantly, not wanting to leave her home alone. With a medical alert system, you will be able to go to work, run errands, and sleep more peacefully knowing that your loved one is never more than the push of a button from assistance.

If your parents are entering old age in their own home, these systems can help you worry less about their safety when you can’t be there. Medical alert systems can allow them to continue to live independently. Ultimately, not only can a medical alert device save your parents’ lives, but it can also reduce your worry and provide your parents with the confidence and safety they deserve.

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