“Staying Put” – Part II

“We’re all going to be older.”  “Aging is inevitable.”  “How did I get to be this old?  I guess we start thinking more about these statements once we get into our 60’s.  Many of us thought about it when we took care of our aging parents who started needing help when they were in their mid to late 70’s and older.  If that happened to you, as it did me, it got me to thinking about how my husband and I were going to handle things as we moved into those years?  How long can we be independent?  In other words, thinking about this topic isn’t just for our aging parents – it’s for us too.  It’s never too early to think ahead.

As you read in the previous article called “Staying Put or Heading Out,” there are many things we can do to make our home safe.  This article will briefly describe some technologies that are available to keep us safe in other ways.

If you live alone, or are married and caring for an ill spouse, safety and security are important, since you do not have friends or family with you on a 24 hour basis.  Falling (e.g., slip in the bath tub, trip on a rug) has been shown to occur more frequently as we age.  In addition, medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure can also cause problems.  This is where technology comes in.

Medical Alert Systems can be set up as a stationary console with a microphone, or a transmitter worn as a bracelet or pendant.   As newer systems come out, they become even more advanced.  Since land lines are becoming a thing of the past, look for systems that work with wireless phones as well.  It’s highly likely that you are already aware of these types of medical alert devices; however, the device won’t work unless it’s worn.  Interestingly enough, there are some devices available that will actually deliver a voice message to the user if the user forgets to wear it.  I’ll never forget the story my Mother told me about her friend who refused to use a walker because said she didn’t need it; when really it was because she didn’t want to appear old.  My Mom said, “Pride goeth before the fall.”   Pretty succinct I’d say.  I think you could apply this statement to the wearing of these medical alert devices.

Medication Management systems have been found to be highly beneficial to those who have a difficult time remembering to take their medications on time and in the right dosage.  These systems are filled up by the caregiver or a medical professional and set up to remind the senior to take the medication.  (e.g., buzzer sounds and the dosage rotates into place in the tray)  Another advantage is when the system is hooked up to a phone line, and if the medication is not taken within a certain amount of time, the company’s care phone center is notified and they will try to contact the senior or the person who fills the Medication tray each week.

Daily Telephone Check-in is available for a fee to those seniors who are living alone without any one checking on them once a day.  Some refer to this as “telephone reassurance.”  The senior receives a call once a day.  This service can also be combined with an emergency medical alert service as well.

Take the time to click on the various links identified previously, to see some examples of what’s available.  Many companies offer multiple types of electronic monitoring services:  medical alerts, medication reminders, and daily vital signs to name a few.  The fee base varies with respect to the type and number of services you may want for yourself or someone you are caring for.

Consider this information as an introduction to the “high-tech” world for keeping seniors of all ages safer, especially when those seniors are living independently in their own homes or apartments.   It’s never too early to become informed so be on the lookout for more articles on this topic in the future.  Thanks for taking the time…..

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”  Unknown