Saturday, January 1, 2011

Aging Parents: Alert Pendants/Bracelets Reviewed and Researched-Part 2

Happy New Year!  It's happy for us.  My 97-year-old mother-in-law, R, is walking now, steadied/aided by a belt around her torso that the therapist controls to give her a feeling of security and stability. The hip has healed, her left leg can bear weight, and physical therapy is doing its job. R has walked for three days now; she says it's "hard work."  More progress updates in another post.
Soon R will be ordering an alert pendant. The information on these last 2 posts can help older alone-living parents, grandparents as well as R (before she goes home) make a selection. Since R thinks clearly, she wants to read the brochures before deciding (doesn't use a computer). So I've requested brochures. You, however, have these summaries and a head start, should your parent prefer a hard copy.
The list of companies continues...
  • Life Fone (888-678-0451) 30 years in business, it's the alert system of choice (after checking 3 companies) for a smart, older working wife who realized her husband couldn't physically help her if something happened.
    Range600 ft.
    Don't outsource, have own call center in New York, with trained people, quick response.
    TestingAsk older person to test 1-2x a month to stay familiar with system (yet they monitor also)  
    Battery life
    : 5 years (free replacement)
    Contacts5 people on list
    FinancialNo contract.  $24.95-$29.95 depending on number of prepaid months.
    Other stuffEasy to install; bracelet, pendant.
  • Medical Home Alert (800-800-1297) Good Housekeeping's "top pick" in 2005. CVS selected MHA as their exclusive provider of Medical Alert Systems in their 6000+ stores in 2007. A couple I've know many years, in their mid-80's, he still works, recently signed on for this system and is "completely satisfied."Rangeup to 600 feet from the base.Responsea "911-certified" person in their large state-of-the-art headquarters facility in New York answers within about 2-30 seconds. Remains on the line until help arrives.
    Testingthe self-testing mechanism automatically contacts the monitoring center every 28 days; but they recommend that once or twice a month the pendant-wearers also make contact so they feel connected.
    Battery lifeback-up battery continues to operate up to 36 hours if power outage; button lasts 5-7 years
    Contactsno limit to # of names on emergency list
    No contract. $29.95 a month; 1 month free if pay for a year in advance.
    Other stuffin business since 1977. Easy to assemble and disconnect system. Easily transportable. Pendant, wrist band, or belt clip. 2nd button may be free if requested.
Life Alert (800-360-0329), used and liked by several older people. One daughter says they are "very responsive, have wrist straps and pendants and my mother really likes them. She checks in every Monday to make sure everything is working. She prefers the wrist strap since the pendant goes off inadventently sometimes if you happen to press it (while sleeping, etc) ."
On the other hand, in October 2010 my octogenarian cousin phoned Life Alert. She wanted an alert system and her son's mother-in-law uses--and is satisfied with-- Life Alert.  My cousin reports the salesperson was aggressive: she said she couldn't order immediately--she wanted to speak with her children first; he responded something like "why do you need your children's permission?" and called her back at least three more times that day.  Life Alert also requires a 3-year contract. I add this link to regarding Life Alert provides another source of information.
We try our best to support our parents' independence; we do our best to help them age well. Yet with many competing medical alert companies and with such similar names, the decision becomes difficult.
The other night someone asked me if I get paid or take advertising for doing this blog.  The answer to both questions-NO.  Those of us who are counselors at heart, simply try to make things better for those we care about as well as for who are needy and come into our lives.  Aging parents and older people (add pets and animals) are in this category. May 2011 be a very good year for you and for those you care about.

Visit my other site: to see this laid out correctly.  Blogspot is not cooperating with a bulleted layout. Sorry.

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