Seniors urged to use medical alert systems

Visiting Angels joins LifeFone to educate public
July 22, 2013

Visiting Angels, a home care company serving southern Delaware, and LifeFone, a leading national provider of personal emergency response systems, have teamed up to help educate the community about the importance of using a medical alert system.

The statistics regarding falls in the senior population are frightening.

One in three people age 65 and older will have a serious fall each year. By the age of 80, more than half of seniors fall annually. Falls account for 25 percent of all hospital admissions and 40 percent of all nursing home admissions; 40 percent of those admitted do not return to independent living. Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among the elderly

A personal alert system is a push-button device that summons help. In the case of LifePhone, the device connects the wearer with live assistance, which immediately knows who and where the wearer is, has his or her history in front of them, and can call a loved one, a neighbor, police or an ambulance.

David Forman, president of Visiting Angels, said, “Nobody thinks they’re going to fall, yet emergency rooms in every hospital are filled with people who didn’t expect to be there that day. Based on fall statistics alone, every senior adult living alone or with someone who is unable to assist them if they fall should have a way of summoning help. Add to the equation all illnesses that may require immediate attention such as heart attack or stroke, and these devices become essential.”

George Wissing, director of Business Development for LifeFone, said, "Medical studies show that your chances of surviving a fall are six times greater if you get help within one hour. Also, immediate help increases the odds of your continuing to live independently.”

Wissing suggests three things to consider when choosing medical alert systems:

1. The right technology: High-tech doesn't always mean better. For a safety device to be effective, it should be small, light, simple and reliable; maintenance free (no batteries to change or charge); waterproof so it can be worn in the bath or shower; and always available in and around the home.

2. Monitored versus unmonitored systems: The goal of both services is to get family or emergency responders on the scene. But, there are limitations to a nonmonitored service. Will the high-tech pendant Mom is wearing work when it's needed most? Will Mom know which buttons to press when in a panic? If the pendant is big and bulky, will she even wear it? If 911 is dispatched, can responders get in the house without costly damage?

The solution to all these challenges is a monitored emergency service where the wearer presses one button for help and gets a friendly voice 24/7/365.  An attendant can call 911, fire department, police and family contacts.  Medical information, doctor's name and hospital of preference are on file.  The home can be accessed without damage by contact to key holder or via lock box.

3. Pricing and contract:  Service costing more than $29.95 per month is usually paying too much. The client should make sure he or she is not signing a long-term contract and should not prepay for the year unless there is a refund policy.

Forman says its local partnership with LifeFone is a natural extension of its home care services. The company provides caregivers to help seniors and disabled adults live independently in their own homes. They help with personal care, meal preparation, housekeeping, errands, transportation, shopping and companionship.

“LIfeFone is like having another angel watching over you or your loved one, when one of our own angels is not present,” Forman said.

LifeFone offers free delivery when a prospective client calls and mentions Visiting Angels, whether a client of the agency or not. Forman will also help clients with easy setup in the home at no charge. Call LifeFone at 877-330-7556 today. Be sure to mention Visiting Angels.

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