The idea of a medical alert system seems like a good idea to the person suggesting it, but it may feel like an invasion of privacy to the elderly individual wearing it. The senior who’s faced with wearing a medical alert pendant may not want to consider that they are in need of that type of equipment because it forces them to face their fears of aging and mortality.
The medical alert system is a godsend for many as it provides a sense of independence and a feeling of security, an especially important feeling if they live alone. Whether they want to admit it, the senior in your life may feel a sense of apprehension at the idea of living alone, and this is more true if he or she has suffered a fall or is dealing with an ongoing health concern. For individuals living alone, a medical alert system provides a sense of security because they know if they are injured or fall ill when they are home alone, they can summon assistance at the push of a button.
The components of a medical alert system include a transmitter base unit that is placed in a central location in the home and the medical alert pendant or bracelet that your aging relative wears. The pendant can, and should be, worn 24 hours a day; the devices are waterproof which allows for wear in the tub or shower. If the wearer suffers a medical emergency, he or she needs only push the button on the pendant and a signal is sent to the base unit which then transmits a message to the medical alert monitoring center. Trained specialists at the center then provide assistance. The way the device works, in practice, is that once the individual presses the button and the monitoring center is alerted, there will be verbal communication between the center and your aging relative. The monitoring center specialist has access to the individuals’ medical records and emergency contact numbers. As a fail safe in the event of a power outage the base unit is equipped with a backup power system to ensure that the elderly individual remains protected.
When signing up for a home medical monitoring service, you will be asked to complete a health information intake form and will be asked about medications and current health condition and any disabilities. The individual being equipped with the system will also have an option to add preferences on who should be contacted in the event of a health crisis – family, doctors, specific healthcare providers, etc.
If the senior in your life balks at the idea of this constant monitoring, impress on them what they’re gaining – the ability to age in place, peace of mind in the event of a medical emergency and an overall feeling of security for those who live alone. For some individuals, wearing a medical alert pendant may mean they can delay having to move into an assisted living facility because this device may allow for more years of independence because it is a lifeline to emergency care.