This year, Lifeline’s founding father, the inventor of medical alert systems, turns 90. Gerontologist Dr. Andrew Dibner first came up with idea for the Lifeline medical alert device when wondering what a senior would do if he or she needed help while alone. Since then, Lifeline has continued to innovate, was acquired by healthcare technology company Royal Philips, and has become focused not just on medical alert systems but on a number of resources to help our population age well.
We recently spoke with Dr. Dibner, who is a Lifeline customer himself, to get his insights on the company’s success and his role in it.
As you turn 90, and you look back on the life you’re living, what are you most proud of?
Aside from the pride I have in my family, children and grandchildren, with no doubt I am most proud of having devoted my life to promoting Lifeline Systems. Its development as a means for aging people to live independently and safer has grown tremendously through the efforts of the dedicated employees both before, and certainly after it was acquired by the diverse Philips Corporation.
Wearing my own Lifeline button makes me feel safer, particularly when I am at home alone.
How do you feel about Lifeline’s evolution from your initial idea?
It has been wonderful to see the continual embracing of new technology features, like fall detection and the inclusion of GPS to expand people’s access to help beyond their home location. The experience of Philips in all their health-promoting products has continued to amaze me. Philips Lifeline employees must be personally proud of what it does for helping both the aging persons and those who feel concerned about them.
How would you define your legacy?
It makes me happy that I have contributed in such a meaningful way, and also to be reducing the anxiety of the family and friends of people who use Lifeline.