Medical alert systems are not new; they've been aiding the elderly and making it possible for them to live independently since the mid-70's.
A home medical alert system is a device with components that make aging in place a possibility. A home base monitoring device, a telephone jack and a medical alert pendant are all that are required to enhance the safety and security of your loved one. If your aging parent suffers a fall or other medical crisis, they need only press a button on the pendant that they wear 24/7. Once the button has been activated, the central monitoring representative contacts the user; if there is no response, emergency medical personnel are dispatched and calls are made to family members and other medical providers of the user’s choice.
A loss of independence is typically a top of mind worry for individuals as they age, but the installation of a home medical alert system brings with it the ability to age in place and provides peace of mind for both the user and his family members. Using a medical alert system can actually prolong the number of years your loved ones can live independently.
Consider these facts on the aging population put forth by the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- The older population (65+) numbered 40.4 million in 2010, an increase of 5.4 million or 15.3% since 2000
- Over one in every eight, or 13.1%, of the population is an older American
- Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.8 years (20.0 years for females and 17.3 years for males)
- Older women out-number older men at 23.0 million older women to 17.5 million older men
- About 29% (11.3 million) of non-institutionalized older persons live alone (8.1 million women, 3.2 million men).
- Almost half of older women (47%) age 75+ live alone
- The population 65 and over has increased from 35 million in 2000 to 40 million in 2010 (a 15% increase) and is projected to increase to 55 million in 2020 (a 36% increase for that decade)
- The 85+ aged population is projected to increase from 5.5 million in 2010 and then to 6.6 million in 2020 (19%) for that decade
When you consider that 60% of the visits to emergency rooms by individuals over the age of 65 are because of a fall accident that occurred in the home, it becomes more apparent that there is a need for individuals to be equipped with medical alert systems. If the senior in your life lives alone, he or she could suffer a medical emergency and be unable to summon help if he can’t make it to the telephone to call 9-1-1. The New England Journal of Medicine wrote that the “mortality rate is five times higher for individuals that lay incapacitated for 12 hours as compared to those that get immediate medical help.” The more quickly your loved one is found and treated the better the chance for recovery; the benefit of the medical alert system as a way to quickly summon assistance becomes more obvious, especially if there isn’t a caregiver that visits on a daily basis.