As a caregiver you've seen your parents' health fade a little bit every year. It could be something as simple as being more forgetful, or stumbling when she walks or maybe your father is dealing with an illness or one or both of them are recovering from a hospital stay. They're determined to remain in their own home and for the time being that might be an option.
The ability to age in place is a powerful motivator for many seniors as they are accustomed to being independent and taking care of the family and are not comfortable in the role of accepting care. Talk with them and discuss the possibility of equipping the home with a medical alert device and the two of them with medical alert pendants. These devices can save lives as well as providing peace of mind for both your parents and you, as the caregiver, for those times when they are home alone.
What should you look for in a medical alert device? Here are some items to take into consideration:
- The technology of the console itself. Look for a device that provides two-way voice communication.
- Make certain both the pendants and the consoles have been approved by the Underwriters Laboratories as Home Health Care Signaling Devices.
- Check into the range of protection the device offers. There are some systems that provide protection up to 300 feet from the console and others that provide coverage up to 1,500 feet from the console. Determine where the console will be placed then choose a range that will suit your needs. If your parents like to go out of doors, make sure the unit will still work when they are outside.
- The pendant should be waterproof and lightweight. You want your parents to be comfortable wearing the device and you want to know they are protected even if they are in the bathtub or shower.
- Look for pedants that do not need to have batteries to replace.
- Does the equipment come with a lifetime warranty? Will there be a cost if it needs to be replaced?
- What happens if the power goes out? Is there a battery back up in place and if so, for how many hours will your loved ones be protected?
- Does the service provider you're going to work with have a plan in place in the event of a power outage? At LifeFone, the emergency response center is notified if the power goes out and notifies loved ones. The base unit has a back-up battery that can last anywhere from 32-60 hours.
- Does the medical monitoring device provide a way to answer the telephone from the pendant? LifeFone, a phone call can be answered by simply pushing the button on the pendant and speaking into the speaker console (this can be done from across the room which means your parents won't have to rush to answer the telephone)
- Do you have to sign a contract with the provider of medical alert system or is it a month-to-month plan? We do not require a time commitment, which means you can cancel at any time and get a full refund for any unused, prepaid service.
These are some of the basic questions you will want to ask a potential medical device provider before making any kind of a purchasing decision.