Tag Archives: Medical emergency

‘Convincing’ Your Loved One To Use A Medical Alarm Device

Aging in place is one of the last bastions of independence for many seniors. If your aging loved ones have been determined to hold onto their independence in this way, you know that equipping them with a personal emergency response system can help them achieve this goal. Investing in a personal medical alarm device should be brought up to your loved ones in such a way as to let them know that using one of these devices isn’t taking away any independence, but is actually assisting them with their desire to age in place.

Many individuals will say they don’t want to wear a personal medical device because they believe it will mean they are “unfit” or “not healthy enough” to live alone. If you share with them that these devices are worn as a preventative measure in the event they suffer a medical emergency or a trip or fall (which is a very real and startling statistic for individuals aged 65 and older) they may see the benefit of wearing one.

How can you appeal to the emotional side of this conversation? Here are some tips:

  1. “It’s a fact of life, Mom and Dad, that people over the age of 65 are more likely to experience a trip or fall” as a way to let them know that if they have a personal medical alarm device, a simple push of the button will provide access to medical care and treatment and therefore they have a better chance at recovery.
  2. “We worry about you.” This statement could be especially true if your parent is widowed and lives alone. Even if both parents are still living, each of them can have a personal medical device and this will provide peace of mind for the family.
  3. “It’s for peace of mind.” If you let your aging loved ones know it’s as much for your peace of mind as it is for their health they may agree to the device as a way to not only allow them to remain independent in their own home, but as a way to provide you peace of mind. It’s a win-win.

If your loved ones are more logical than emotional, here are some logical arguments you can share with them for the importance of having a personal medical device in their home (and on their person):

  1. One out of three individuals aged 65 and older will fall in the home. The longer they lie there without receiving medical care, the more serious the medical complications could become. Being able to press a button to gain access to medical assistance could mean the difference between a positive outcome or a negative one from a fall.
  2. A personal medical device will allow you to age in place. These devices offer you the ability to remain independent while providing access to medical care if needed. In the event of a trip or fall or another medical emergency, you may not be able to reach a phone and with one of these devices, you won’t have to.
  3. If your parents do not want to move into an assisted living facility, you should stress to them that one of these devices may mean they won’t have to. A personal medical device can delay that move for years, or perhaps for the duration of their lives.

If you can explain the viability of a personal medical device and equate it to an insurance policy – it’s something you pay for and hope you never need to use, but you are grateful it’s there if the time arises that you need it – your loved ones may see the benefit.

Caring For Elderly Relatives Means Treating Them With Respect

As Baby Boomers watch their parents age and become dependent on them for care, it is a difficult time for all family members. Many seniors may not be fully aware they are losing their faculties and it may be hard for them to be cared for when they’ve spent their lives as the caregivers.
Caring for the elderly, especially when it’s your own parents is a stress inducer. When the roles are reversed and the children are now in the role of caregiver rather than the ones being cared for, it’s awkward for all parties involved. Parents or other aging loved ones may not be receptive to the new interference in their lives and help in managing their day-to-day activities. To make a smooth transition from care provider to care recipient, show your loved one love and treat them with respect, even though they may be tough to deal with or due to health or mental status they may act like children.

In some instances, friction arises when you’re trying to convince your parents that they either need you to come in and help with housekeeping, paying bills, cooking, or even going so far as to hire in home healthcare aides. The conversations need to be approached with care and need to focus on your desire to help relieve some of the burdens and anxieties. Tell your aging relatives, in a non confrontational way, that you’ve noticed some issues with their health; chances are, they’re aware of it but simply don’t want to admit it.

If your aging relatives have suffered health issues, you need to work with them on age-proofing their home to address potential any slip or fall issues. Whether your parents are aware of it, individuals over the age of 65 are more likely than any other segment of the population to suffer a slip or fall accident which can lead to a permanent disability or even death. If they are determined to age in place, they will need to make modifications to their home and its design to make it more senior-friendly. You will want to do a thorough inspection of the home and check for any potential slip or fall hazards such as:

  • Loose or slippery carpets
  • Electrical cords in walkways
  • Items in cupboards that are too high to reach without having to climb on a step stool

Added safety measures include:

  • Equipping the bathroom with non slip carpets, hand grips and even a seat for ease in showering
  • Installing a home medical emergency monitoring system. These are great for aging individuals as they are equipped with a waterproof medical alert pendant and if they slip or fall or suffer another health emergency, at the push of a button help will be alerted and emergency medical personnel dispatched if needed. The use of home medical emergency monitoring systems allows many elderly to stay home for much longer and offers all parties peace of mind

Make your relatives a part of the solution when helping them age in their own home. Don’t simply come in, take over and make wholesale changes to their home and their lifestyle. Bear in mind, they are accustomed to being the caregiver and if treated with respect, they will be receptive to the changes you’re implementing and will be more likely to ask for help in the future.

Emergency Senior Care Checklist

When dealing with aging parents, there are many items to take into consideration related to their health and safety. You hope you will never need to make use of an emergency checklist, but it’s a lifesaver and provides peace of mind in the event you ever do. Health emergencies are a fact of life and will arise at some point and the issues can be exacerbated by the number of medications they take, the number of doctors they see and the degree of chronic illnesses they suffer.

There are many things you can do to help alleviate some of the stress and one of those items is to equip your aging relatives’ home with a medical alert device from LifeFone. With this home medical monitoring device you can rest assured that when an emergency arises, your relatives will be cared for. When setting up a home medical alert system you will provide the carrier with information and a complete medical profile so the provider is knowledgeable about your parent’s health conditions which will then be relayed to the medical emergency responders.

The following is a list of information you should keep in a convenient location in the event of an emergency:

  • A list of all medications being taken, where they are and what they’re being taken for. Make certain this list is updated when changes are made. This is also a great list for your parents to keep with them when they go to the doctor’s office.
  • Names, phone numbers and specialties of the doctors your parents see
  • Copies of medical insurance cards, Medicare cards, prescription plans and all identification numbers
  • Social security numbers and even copies of your parent’s driver’s license
  • Legal documents including: power of attorney, health care proxy and written documents on your parent’s wishes as they relate to resuscitation orders
  • Financial information such as bank account numbers, names of financial advisors and insurance policies
  • Names and phone numbers of individuals to be contacted in the event of an emergency – along with their relationship to them
  • Contact information for clergy

Because you may be putting sensitive financial information and other information that could lead to identity theft, consider putting the paperwork in a fireproof, locking safe in an easy-to-reach location. Additionally, make a copy of all the information and give it to a trusted friend or relative to hold onto as well.  

Winter and Cold Weather Precautions for Seniors

Cold winter temperatures are as harmful as summer heat waves when it comes to the health of senior citizens. As a caregiver, you may worry what will happen to your parents in the event of a winter storm that knocks out electricity and when snow makes the roads impossible to drive on. If your parents or senior loved ones have
their home equipped with a Lifefone medical alarm system, once the power goes out, the battery backup kicks in and customer service is contacted. Having a home medical alarm system offers you and your loved ones peace of mind, regardless of the weather and distance between you.

Here are some items to check at your elderly loved one’s home to make certain they are taking care
of themselves once the frigid winter months kick in.

  • Make certain the thermostat is set to at least 65 degrees to help prevent hypothermia. Many seniors will feel more comfortable with the temperature a bit higher, but it shouldn’t go below 65. Common signs of hypothermia include: drowsiness, slow or slurred speech, memory loss, uncontrolled shivering and sense of exhaustion.
  • If the home is not well-insulated, you may want to consider covering the windows with inexpensive plastic sheeting to keep the wind from blowing in. Also plastic sheets will still allow sun to filter in and keep the home warm.
  • The home should be equipped with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These should be checked monthly to make certain they’re in good working order and batteries should be changed at least twice a year and also as soon as they begin emitting a low battery warning.
  • If the senior adults have access to supplemental heating such as a generator or kerosene heater, make certain they understand exactly how to operate it and that the house must be properly ventilated at all times when it is operation.
  • Unless it is crucial, they should remain indoors when there is a storm brewing or when the temperatures hover at or below the freezing mark.
  • Ensure that your loved ones have cupboards full of food and that their medications are up to date and filled. Additionally, stock up on foods that can be eaten without having to be cooked in the event of a power outage.
  • Make certain your loved ones have access to additional blankets in an easily accessible location so they don’t have to climb to reach them when the temperatures drop.
  • Test their medical alarm system to make certain it is working properly and that they are diligent in wearing the emergency alert bracelet or pendant in the event of a slip or fall.
  • Make arrangements for a neighbor to come and check on your loved ones in the event you live too far away and can’t get to the home in the event of an emergency. Also, make arrangements to have the sidewalk shoveled and the driveway cleared so they don’t have to worry about the feeling of being  “trapped.”

 By following these precautions, using a common sense approach to leaving the house, navigating winter roads and employing the services of a home medical alarm system offers peace of mind for everyone involved.

Medical Alert System Helps in the Event of a Fall or Serious Medical Concern.

Falls can have serious consequences. About 10% to 15% of all falls in older people will result in some serious physical injury.  Fractures occur in 5% of all falls while fall-related injuries are reported to be the fifth most common cause of death in the elderly population and the most likely cause of accidental death. According toYaleUniversityMedicalSchool, the chances of surviving are six times greater if an individual who falls is found within an hour.

Facts about falls

  •  More than one third of adults 65 and older fall every year in the United States.
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  • Over 1.8 million people 65 and older each year are treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Continue reading

Medical Alert System Helps in the Event of a Fall or Serious Medical Concern.

Falls can have serious consequences. About 10% to 15% of all falls in older people will result in some serious physical injury.  Fractures occur in 5% of all falls while fall-related injuries are reported to be the fifth most common cause of death in the elderly population and the most likely cause of accidental death. According toYaleUniversityMedicalSchool, the chances of surviving are six times greater if an individual who falls is found within an hour.

Facts about falls

  •  More than one third of adults 65 and older fall every year in the United States.
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  • Over 1.8 million people 65 and older each year are treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Continue reading

Why LifeFone is Better Than a Cell Phone

When shopping for a medical alert system and researching various companies and their competition,  it is common to ask yourself: Would purchasing a cell phone be just as effective and cost efficient as purchasing a medical alert system?

The short answer is No. While cell phones provide an abundance of helpful uses i.e. when your car breaks down on the side of the road or when you need to call the police, cell phones are simply not as reliable when medical emergencies strike as medical alert systems are for three main reasons. The first important difference is we don’t always have our cell phones on us (most of the time we may not even know exactly where our cell phone is located until we hear that familiar muffled ring emerging
from deep inside the couch cushion). Secondly, cell phones run of out battery, and finally cell phones do not bring up your medical history, or preferred treatment facility instantaneously like a med alert system does.

While most people carry their cell phones with them religiously when they are running errands or visiting friends and relatives, the majority of cell phone users don’t carry their cell phones with them while they are at home. Instead, they typically place the phone on the counter and move about the house. If you or your loved one were to experience a fall and as a result were rendered immobile, how would you reach your cell phone? If you cannot get to your cell phone to call for help, it is of absolutely no use to you. However, medical alert systems are conveniently worn on the body in the form of a necklace or a wristband, so there is no need to worry if the system is within reach. When the wearer finds that he or she is harm’s way, they simply press a button and help is immediately dispatched.
There is no need to dial any numbers or provide detailed information like you would be required to do with a cell phone. Medical alert buttons provide a renewed peace of mind that a cell phone simply cannot offer.

Cell phones also have a tendency to run out of battery. When your cell phone needs to be charged it is not located on your body and you are probably away from the charging port. Medical alert pendants do not need to be recharged and are always readily available. They also have a backup battery for when the power goes out.

Additionally, when you use your cell phone to call for medical help you are the one responsible for
providing your medical history, preferred treatment facility, and contacting your loved ones. With a med alert system this is not the case. When struck with a medical emergency, people are very rarely completely alert and in tune with their surroundings. Medical alert services take the additional stress out of a hectic situation by storing all the information you need. The moment the signal from your medical alert system is received at the LifeFone Emergency Response Center, your personal profile is displayed on their computer. Each user customized profile allows the LifeFone response team to access their specific needs, including their detailed medical history, their current medications and allergies, the physicians and facility they want to be taken to and the family members and neighbors they want alerted in the event of a medical emergency.  If you are an independent senior living alone, there is simply no safer alternative to a medical alert system. The benefits you get with a medical alert system far outweigh those of a cell phone.

When danger strikes, you and your loved one want to feel at ease knowing that help is available at the touch of a button. There are no numbers to dial or medical information to remember, which make your medical emergency that much easier to cope with.  While cell phones provide immeasurable help in countless situations, there simply is no substitute for a medical alert pendant that is always charged, worn on the body, and supplied with all necessary information when needed.

The Decision that Saved Mary Ellen. By: Melissa Wise, RN

“Is this a medical emergency?”

The LifeFone operator was responding to a 2:17 am alert from 74-year old Mary Ellen Rhine. A few minutes before, Mary Ellen had stepped out of bed to get get a drink of water, and slipped on a stray sock that had been left on her bedroom floor.  She landed hard on her shoulder and then realized that her leg was also hurt.

Moving was going to be difficult, if not impossible. Through the pain, she pressed her pendant button to alert her medical alert service LifeFone to the problem. From a speaker attached to her wall she could hear the reply.”This is the LifeFone operator.  Are you hurt?” Continue reading

Long-Distance Caregiving

The life of a caregiver can be very stressful, constantly worrying about your loved ones well-being while doing your best to live your own life. While being a direct caregiver has its own stressors long distance care giving can be just as much if not more stressful. It’s really rare that immediate family members live in the same place these days so long-distance care giving is very common.  Being unable to be with your loved one because of distance can magnify the stress that goes along with care giving because you may feel helpless and unable to fully assist and care for your loved one and will more than likely worry about them more often. Long-distance care giving might seem like an impossible feat but you can do it! Take some of these proper steps to ease your stresses and be able to better care for you long-distance loved one.

  1. Have a plan- The first thing you must go about doing is developing a plan of action. Decide how often you will be able to be there, if at all. Establish who will be able to assist your loved one in your stead when necessary, such as a neighbor or family friend close by. Decide what your plan of action will be in case of an emergency such as a fall of serious health issues. Continue reading

Long-Distance Caregiving

The life of a caregiver can be very stressful, constantly worrying about your loved ones well-being while doing your best to live your own life. While being a direct caregiver has its own stressors long distance care giving can be just as much if not more stressful. It’s really rare that immediate family members live in the same place these days so long-distance care giving is very common.  Being unable to be with your loved one because of distance can magnify the stress that goes along with care giving because you may feel helpless and unable to fully assist and care for your loved one and will more than likely worry about them more often. Long-distance care giving might seem like an impossible feat but you can do it! Take some of these proper steps to ease your stresses and be able to better care for you long-distance loved one.

  1. Have a plan- The first thing you must go about doing is developing a plan of action. Decide how often you will be able to be there, if at all. Establish who will be able to assist your loved one in your stead when necessary, such as a neighbor or family friend close by. Decide what your plan of action will be in case of an emergency such as a fall of serious health issues. Continue reading