Caregivers seek help and support from family, friends and local services to make sure all areas are covered for the emotional and physical safety of aging loved ones. Educating caregivers about what is available for in-home care is the most effective way to help keep loved ones in their homes living as independently and as safely as possible. It is imperative for caregivers to plan because one fall could put that independence in jeopardy. Far too often, action is taken after an accident has already happened.
Adult children are finding themselves in this new role of caregiver more often. They are usually aware of the common areas of the home and safety items that need to be addressed (i.e., proper lighting, clear walkways around the home, removal of clutter especially from the hallways and stairs, grab bars in bathrooms, non-slip strips for the tub/shower, placing night lights in the bedroom and bathroom, etc.). The home will still need a more in-depth assessment in order to make sure even the simplest daily activities are safe and accessible.
Smart technology will make aging in place a more viable option for an increasing number of seniors. Most caregivers today are familiar and comfortable with smart technology and this type of “connected independence” will allow caregivers to feel confident that their loved ones can continue living safely at home. This connected independence offers peace of mind that their loved ones will have easy access to assistance when needed.
The most basic question remains: How does someone get help if they fall?
Having the ability to summon help as soon as there is an emergency means timely medical attention that can save a life and allows for shorter recovery times at the hospital. People who get help within the so-called “golden hour” after an incident typically get to return home instead of going into a rehab facility or worse. The longer time goes by without help, the more serious the situation becomes.
PERS devices are the most under-utilized piece of technology available today. People always believe that they don’t need a device yet. This is like saying a person doesn’t need car insurance because they haven’t had an accident. The flaw with this line of thinking is you can’t get car insurance after an accident any more than you can push a button you don’t have when lying on the floor. To truly age in place, the home must be modified and prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Medical alarms have changed with improvements in technology, adding new and enhanced features. PERS devices aren’t only for just the home any longer; they now also serve younger and more active seniors with mobile PERS (mPERS). Choosing the right emergency response system depends on several factors: If someone lives at home alone but is usually with someone when out and about doing errands, etc., then the traditional home-based PERS unit makes sense.
Individuals who lead active lives outside the home should consider an mPERS unit that offers GPS. This way they can press the button and speak directly into their pendant to a specialist who will be able to confirm where they are even if they are not able to communicate. Most PERS units now have fall detection as an option.
The system someone chooses is not as important as making sure that they get one.
After all, when someone goes to the hospital, what’s the first thing the nurse gives you?
A button in case you need help.
The senior population is America’s fastest-growing demographic, and the latest census forecasts the 65+ population doubling by the year 2050. (Read WHY here.) In anticipation of this, New York City’s Department for the Aging released an “Aging in Place Guide”, which outlines ways to make housing safer so that aging Americans may live at home for longer.
In a letter to readers of the guide (which was published in 2016), Mayor Bill DiBlasio writes, “Thousands of older individuals choose to “age in place,” remaining in the homes and neighborhoods they have helped build and contributed to all their lives. This guide offers a wide range of recommendations for renovations and improvements that will protect the safety of older tenants and improve the quality of life for all residents.”
The guide includes tips on making all types of housing options safer for aging adults. From floor to ceiling, and everything in between, the NYC Department for the Aging covered all the major points.
Here are a few of the highlights:
› For surfaces requiring floor wax, use a product that produces a non-glossy surface
TIP: Install Indirect Lighting
› Aim lights at a ceiling or wall surface to avoid direct eye exposure to light sources
› Use two or more fixtures to avoid shadows; for example, use wall fixtures or sconces
on each side of a bathroom mirror
› Under-cabinet and task lighting can also reduce shadows
TIP: Choose the Right Hardware
› Install lever-type hardware on all exterior and interior doors. Lever-type hardware is easier to use than round knobs or handles, especially for people with arthritis
› For doors that require locks, use lever hardware that can be operated by an electronic card, requiring only a single motion with one hand to unlock and open the door
› If a traditional key is used, provide extra lighting or color contrast to make the keyhole
TIP: Use Alert Devices
› In addition to building systems, residents may wear medical alert devices
› Building owners may be able to purchase an alert system at a group rate
› Medical alert devices without GPS capabilities may result in false alarms; for example, the fire department may arrive at a resident’s apartment if she signals the device while away from home
Our Personal Emergency Response Systems are easy-to-use, affordable, and they can connect users with emergency help with just the push of a button. Browse our product catalog for pricing and options, and call our team to learn more about getting your loved ones connected with an Alert Sentry system.
To call for help, users simply push the easy-to-find button and are immediately connected via two-way communication to Alert Sentry’s US-based Call Center. For added support and security, a text message is also sent out to the user’s predetermined contacts to notify them that their loved one or client has issued a call for help. The cutting-edge audio capabilities on the new iSAFE units are clear, loud, and allow users to speak with Alert Sentry’s trained Call Center operators with ease and clarity.
- GPS Location sends the user’s location directly to the monitoring center
- Connectivity to a nationwide 3G wireless network keeping users safe in all 50 states
- Extended battery life of up to 72 hours
- Crystal clear audio quality
iSAFE Plus includes all of the above, plus:
- The ability to Locate Loved One (LLO) by checking the unit’s location
- Fall detection capabilities, which place an automatic call to the Call Center if the device’s motion sensors detect a fall
- A Geo-Fencing feature which notifies loved ones or caregivers if the user travels outside their pre-programmed “safe zone”
- A ring on request feature to help users find their responders should they be misplaced
Alert Sentry’s iSAFE and iSAFE Plus are available for purchase at http://alertsentry.com.
ABOUT ALERT SENTRY
Since its 2003 founding, Alert Sentry has focused on keeping people safe both at home and on the go. Alert Sentry offers a complete line of Personal Emergency Response Systems including the market’s most advanced MPERS; the iSAFE and the iSAFE Plus. Alert Sentry offers the best systems at the most affordable prices.
Alert Sentry operates through a nationwide dealer network. Authorized dealers provide their customers with the full line of Alert Sentry PERS and MPERS devices while receiving full support and customer service from the Alert Sentry team. To learn more about our constantly expanding dealer network, contact our headquarters.
Would you be surprised to hear that falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among Americans aged 65 and older? Here are some astounding statistics to help drive that point home:
- 27,000: the number of older Americans who died in 2014 because of falls
- 8 MILLION: Number of emergency department visits for fall-related injuries among the older population
- 7: Percentage of the 65+ American population who reported falling in 2014
- $31 BILLION: The amount that falls among older Americans cost Medicare in 2014.
These startling numbers were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, as the agency urged doctors, caregivers, and the American public to have conversations with their older friends and relatives to help prevent falls.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden was quoted in a news release as saying, “Older adult falls are increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence. Health care providers can make fall prevention a routine part of care in their practice, and older adults can take steps to protect themselves.”
Things like increased exercise, removing trip hazards in your home, and having your eyes checked are all positive changes that can help prevent falls in the home.
While there are steps one can take to help mitigate falls, they are a danger that will never fully be prohibited for an older person, especially one living alone. One of the most effective methods is using a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) like Alert Sentry, to ensure that if a fall does occur, that person will receive swift medical attention.
Alert Sentry even offers an on-the-go mobile PERS device with automatic fall detection. This means that the user doesn’t even have to press the button if the device detects their fall; help will automatically be called without them ever having to lift a finger.
Every second of every day, an older American falls. Not only do these falls inflict (often serious and even deadly) injuries, but they also cost billions in medical bills. It’s a burden on our aging American population and one that can at the very least be mitigated with the use of a PERS.
A 2016 Pew Research Center analysis found that from 1990 to 2014, the share of older adults living alone declined by 3%, to 26% Americans, and the population share of women over the age of 65 living alone decreased, as well.
Because of women’s higher life expectancy, they are still the majority of U.S. adults ages 65 and older – in 2014 that age group included 25.9 million women, compared with 20.3 million men. According to the Administration on Aging, 37% of women in this age bracket live by themselves. However, due to the fact that men’s life expectancy has risen more quickly than women’s in recent decades, this gender gap in seniors living alone is decreasing.
Despite the narrowing of the gender gap in older adults living alone, men actually remain about half as likely as women to live alone today.
There is also a sharp decline in older women and men living in group homes or nursing homes; in 1990, 27% of women ages 85+ lived in nursing homes, yet today that number is just 13%. This aligns with the AARP “Healthy @ Home” study, which found that nine in ten adults ages 65+ wanted to continue living at home for as long as possible. Older Americans are remaining healthier and doing more to ensure that they can live at home longer. One of the groundbreaking new technologies that is helping our ageing population remain at home is the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). With the click of a button, users are connected with someone who can help assess the situation and send the necessary help. Whether it be a fall, an illness, or any other personal emergency, PERS (Like our three different models) are there to ensure that users are assisted immediately.
To learn more about Alert Sentry’s products and pricing, visit our website.
This month, it seemed that the world was absolutely consumed by “Pokemon Go,” a new mobile app that allows users to compete in an augmented reality to catch “Pokemon” animated characters in the real world… through their smartphones (Here’s a beginner’s guide to the game). Pokemon Go is yet another example of the power and reach of modern technology, and a reminder that Americans (seemingly) can’t go anywhere without their smartphones. Younger Americans, that is!
Research shows that while 86% of 18 through 29-year-olds own smartphones, but that percentages dips dramatically as the age bracket increases; Only 30% of people ages 65+ own smartphones.
While mobile phones are still quite popular with the 65+ age bracket, landlines still reign supreme with 80% reporting that they still have a landline at home.
A previous Pew Research study found that seniors are more hesitant to adopt new technologies because of the barriers they face when adopting them, including medical conditions that make it difficult for older Americans to use certain devices and skepticism about the benefits of technology. Most of all, it seems to be a lack of digital literacy that deters seniors from new technologies.
What does this mean for ageing Americans? Mobile phones certainly are not a necessity for older adults, but they can provide an immense sense of security for both elderly folks and their families. Living alone at any age has its dangers and downsides, but those dangers only increase with age, as health wanes and bodies and minds are no longer at the peak of performance.
That’s where Personal Emergency Response Systems come in; with just the click of a button, users are connected to an operator who will get them the help they need. We even offer technology that can help detect a fall, making a response time even faster for users. Rather than having to locate one’s mobile device or landline and dial a telephone number, Alert Sentry users can be connected with a first-responder with just one click of a button.
Whether you or a loved one lives at home alone, there are steps you can take to improve safety – and provide peace-of-mind – that an accident can be assessed and treated quickly and easily.