Saturday, August 7, 2010

Aging Parent Safety: Taking Away the Car and the Keys--Maybe Not

Doors Unlocked
Burglar Alarm Off
Parents Happy
Children Concerned

Ninety-year-old Eloise always left one door unlocked. Easier for the paramedics to get in if she pushed the button on her alert pendant. The always-unlocked door worried her children but efforts to have Eloise change her ways were of no avail.

Eloise prided herself on hr independence and the fact that she had posted DNR signs in every visible location--should emergency personnel need to come to her home for something serious.

And then there was the peeping Tom. That frightened her and her 50-something year-old children. Nevertheless she was insistent--she couldn't work the burglar alarm, and needed to keep one door unlocked. The paramedics had been there before and no doubt would be there again.

What Do the Car and Car Keys Have to do With This?

If your parents are like mine were--and experienced the emergency vehicles, sirens etc. responding to their push of the burglar alarm company's button, they didn't want to go through it again unless they were dying. "The whole neighborhood was awakened. It was embarrassing."

Yet an acceptable alternative exists. Note the red panic button on the remote device that enables us to lock and unlock our car from afar. We've heard the awful noise pushing that panic button creates. What's better for frightening off a would-be intruder? (OK, I admit-- possibly an old person with "the shakes" pointing a loaded shot gun.)

Also a car in the driveway is a deterrent--signaling people of driving age are home. (One of our non-driving senior advisors has kept the car.) So taking the car away from non-driving parents may not be a good idea when we're trying to help them age well and give them protection. (Note: leaving the key may be unnecessary; the remote is necessary.)

Additionally, keeping the keys and remote in a place that's easy to reach from the bed at night and in an easy-to-get-to place (a pocket) when out of the home, makes the panic button a great asset for fending off bad people--at home, in parking lots--anywhere near the car.
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