Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Aging Parents: Alert Pendants/Bracelets Reviewed and Researched--Part 1

Good News! My 97-year-old mother-in-law should return home soon, after sustaining a broken hip from a fall in late-September.  Surgery and rehab are successful.  She's in the final stages of strengthening the leg that couldn't be weight-bearing until everything healed.  She will go home with a cane and walker...and an alert pendant.
She needs (for practical reasons) and we need (for peace of mind) an alert pendant, which up until now she thought she had no need for.  The doctor says only 3% of people her age make such a good recovery, and it has been hard work.  She understandably doesn't want a repeat of the falling and crawling.
Two octogenarians and I gathered information about the following companies, aided by contributions to "the cause" from older friends.  Below are companies rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. Clearly our list is not all inclusive, but gives you a start.
First, repeating from an earlier post: 9 Things to Consider When Deciding on an Alert Pendant. 
1. Cost
2. If there's a trial period
3. Cancellation/return policy: 
read the fine print.  Among other things, it seems some people have signed a 3-year contract without realizing it can't be broken, short of death.
4. Ease of installation
5. The range (will the button work if I fall in the laundry room?)
6. If a hearing aid is compromised due to a fall, can the fall victim hear the monitor's voice?
7. How--and how often--the "alert" pendant is tested
8. Whether the alert/alarm signal goes directly to a trained person, is outsourced, or goes to a central place then redirected to a trained person.
9.  Portability.  If going to Florida, for example, is it easy to take along?
Now, a partial list of companies. For detailed information on each, go to my new site: http://helpparentsagewell.com where the layout works better.
American Medical Alarms: (800-542-0438)   www.americanmedicalalarms.com
Lifeline (1-800-797-4191) www.lifelinesys.com (a Philips product) 
Life Station (1-866-220-0942) www.lifestation.com.
If you have 3 minutes, click this link:http://www.telecareaware.com/index.php/which-pendant-for-aunt.html  and click the "Call for Help" link within this link. You'll become more informed and--equally important--see how confusing the names are because many are so similar.   

List of companies concludes on Saturday. The details for each company will be posted on my new site, in the same way I'm posting them  today.  Clearly a lot of thought should go into the purchase of an alert system.  The implications for helping parents age well are great, especially for those who live alone. 

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article, medical alarm systems are a great way to help keep seniors safe. Thank you for sharing.