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Old 12-06-2012, 10:06 AM   #16
arminnie
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Biggest problem - not wearing the necklace. Particularly if it is a man.

A better solution for us was a small cell phone that was always in his pocket. I lived with him so was home when he was showering which was the only time he did not have the cell.

You have to have a land line.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:20 AM   #17
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Please speak with your mother about whether she would use such a system. I assume most would, but, our experience was otherwise. We paid for a life alert subscription for three years and in that time, here were the results:

1. Grandmother fell and broke her arm, life alert was ignored and numerous phone calls were made to the doctor, family members, and taxi service to get her medical care.

2. Grandmother had allergic reaction to medication and needed immediate assistance; life alert was ignored and doctor's office was called, instead. They, of course, directed her to the emergency room. Taxi service was called.

3. Grandmother died, and grandfather did not use life alert to summon assistance. He called his brother, who called his son, who finally called 911. She was definitely already deceased at the time he found her, so the life alert system couldn't have done anything for her, but it could have saved my grandfather a LOT of additional stress.

In all three cases, life alert was not "forgotten"...it was simply unused, by choice. No real reason was given other than it was decided in every instance calling someone/somewhere else was a better decision. I disagree, of course, but it was clearly wasted money. Grandfather now lives alone, still has life alert, and I sincerely doubt he will ever push that button, no matter what!
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:26 AM   #18
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One caveat, they have to actually wear the thing. We got my dad one and maybe a year later we got a call from the hospital. He was fine but long story short I asked him where the heck the med alert necklace was and he said.."oh upstairs on the bed post".

Great dad, if the bed falls down the stairs it's all ready.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:59 AM   #19
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my 80 year old DF asked for one after he fell in the bathroom and could not move for 8 hours. He wears his necklace under his shirt. I was concerned that he would not wear it. Thankfully he has never had to push the button!
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:03 PM   #20
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For those concerned about their parent not wanting to wear the necklace, my MIL's system also came with a wrist unit she can wear like a watch under her shirt sleeve. That might be something to look into.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:35 PM   #21
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Yes, just from reading past threads, the downside of Life Alert is if the person does NOT wear it. Whether they forget to put it on, or that they feel it is an acknowledgement that they are old & frail and they aren't ready to face that, it won't be helpful to them if they aren't wearing it when they need it. It will be very expensive if it just sits in the box, drawer or on a table.

A previous poster her mentioned that she had found her mother in the floor. She had been lying there for 10 hours after she fell. She actually DID have the Life Alert around her neck. But, she didn't want to be a bother to anyone, so she waited till her DD showed up that afternoon.

Also, if they end up having a few false alarms in which the police or FD shows up and it causes lots of trouble & embarrassment, they might be reticent about pressing the button in a real emergency. Or worse, it is the one time the FD ignores the call and doesn't bother to call anyone on the ladder.

A cellphone & holder may be an easier way to ease someone into having a device on them at all times. Also, ALL cellphones, whether they are connected to a service or not will automatically call 911, if they power up, hold a charge and are operational. 911 is a separate frequency or something like that. Many battered women's shelters and elderly community centers collect old, used cellphone donations so they can and out old phone just so people can have a cellphone just for emergencies.

You can get old Tracfones/prepaid cellphones, or maybe scour garage sales for old cellphones, and leave them near power outlets, connected to their chargers so they are always powered up, and leave them in key spots around the house in each room your DM goes into. This way, if she falls and doesn't have a cellphone or Life Alert on her, she can crawl/drag herself to the nearest cellphone & call 911.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:16 AM   #22
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Quote:
You can get old Tracfones/prepaid cellphones, or maybe scour garage sales for old cellphones, and leave them near power outlets, connected to their chargers so they are always powered up, and leave them in key spots around the house in each room your DM goes into. This way, if she falls and doesn't have a cellphone or Life Alert on her, she can crawl/drag herself to the nearest cellphone & call 911.
The problem with this approach are the phones themselves. IME with my MIL, she simply could not remember the dialing sequence for her cell phone, and that issue would be exacerbated if there were several phone models.

The phone she had was a quite simple one, but she simply could not wrap her mind around remembering that you had to press the button with the green phone image on it before you dialed. (To make matters worse, she decided to call up and cancel the account without telling us: it was a prepaid with more than $1000 of accumulated credit on the account -- if she was INSISTENT on getting rid of it she could have given it back to us for one of our children to use; we were paying for it after all. Instead, all that money was lost.)

Back when she still had the phone and was still driving, she was supposed to be meeting us at a restaurant and did not show up. We called and called her, but got no answer. DH left the restaurant and went looking for her, and finally found her at another restaurant 5 miles away that had a name that started with the same letter of the alphabet. She had the phone with her and had heard it ring, but when he asked her why she hadn't answered, she replied that she couldn't remember how: it was that green phone button problem again.

Thankfully, she no longer drives. She is having TIA's and keeps randomly passing out and falling. One of these days she is going to die when she hits her head on the way down, and I'll tell you something: we have come to the conclusion that she wants it that way. Refusing to use devices that can summon help is sometimes a passive type of suicide wish.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:48 AM   #23
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Thank you again for the great suggestions. I went to Best Buy this past weekend and asked about security systems and all thy had were cameras...so I suppose I will need to get more info from the internet. There is also a 50+ Expo coming to my town soon with info for seniors. I think I will attend to see what info the senior agencies may have.

I like the idea of the bracelet system. I think my mother would wear it, but like others have mentioned, I would certainly discuss purchasing this system with her BEFORE actually getting it to make sure she would even use it. My mother never wants to be a bother to any of us girls and no matter how many times we tell her she is not a bother, she shrugs...ugh. So, with that info, she would wear it, but would she actually press the button if needed?-this is what we would need to discuss!

Again, thanks for the feedback!
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:14 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by MOREMICKEYFORME View Post
Thank you again for the great suggestions. I went to Best Buy this past weekend and asked about security systems and all thy had were cameras...so I suppose I will need to get more info from the internet. There is also a 50+ Expo coming to my town soon with info for seniors. I think I will attend to see what info the senior agencies may have.

I like the idea of the bracelet system. I think my mother would wear it, but like others have mentioned, I would certainly discuss purchasing this system with her BEFORE actually getting it to make sure she would even use it. My mother never wants to be a bother to any of us girls and no matter how many times we tell her she is not a bother, she shrugs...ugh. So, with that info, she would wear it, but would she actually press the button if needed?-this is what we would need to discuss!

Again, thanks for the feedback!
Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:02 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by NotUrsula View Post
The problem with this approach are the phones themselves. IME with my MIL, she simply could not remember the dialing sequence for her cell phone, and that issue would be exacerbated if there were several phone models.

The phone she had was a quite simple one, but she simply could not wrap her mind around remembering that you had to press the button with the green phone image on it before you dialed. (To make matters worse, she decided to call up and cancel the account without telling us: it was a prepaid with more than $1000 of accumulated credit on the account -- if she was INSISTENT on getting rid of it she could have given it back to us for one of our children to use; we were paying for it after all. Instead, all that money was lost.)

Back when she still had the phone and was still driving, she was supposed to be meeting us at a restaurant and did not show up. We called and called her, but got no answer. DH left the restaurant and went looking for her, and finally found her at another restaurant 5 miles away that had a name that started with the same letter of the alphabet. She had the phone with her and had heard it ring, but when he asked her why she hadn't answered, she replied that she couldn't remember how: it was that green phone button problem again.

Thankfully, she no longer drives. She is having TIA's and keeps randomly passing out and falling. One of these days she is going to die when she hits her head on the way down, and I'll tell you something: we have come to the conclusion that she wants it that way. Refusing to use devices that can summon help is sometimes a passive type of suicide wish.
I just wanted to chime in too about cell phones and my mil. We bought her a cell phone maybe two years ago. We got the most simple one we could find. Well after about a month she could just not use it (she does have dementia) and we returned it. It's interesting how much these life alerts cost. I had no idea. It may be something my dh's family needs to look into for his mom.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:37 AM   #26
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The cell phone is not the solution for my mom, she is very intimidated by new technology and wouldn't want to learn to press the green (on) button and then 9-1-1...I know it sounds silly, but it took her forever to use and understand her CORDLESS phone.

I know the LifeAlerts are expensive (I think another poster mentioned $500/yr) but there are five daughters and when it is divided among us, it would be reasonable (thanks mom, for having so many kids )
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:09 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by LisaR View Post
We bought one for my MIL and it always worked when we tested it (which they tell you to do). My MIL, on the other hand, never, ever used it even though she fell multiple times. When we were searching for assisted living places, every one of them said the percentage of elderly patients that refuse to push the button is astronomically high because they are either embarrassed or they don't want to inconvenience anyone.
That sounds like my 97yo grandmother. She told us she wouldn't push the button no matter what. She also refused to use her walker because she thought people would laugh at her.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:45 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by MOREMICKEYFORME View Post
Thank you again for the great suggestions. I went to Best Buy this past weekend and asked about security systems and all thy had were cameras...so I suppose I will need to get more info from the internet. There is also a 50+ Expo coming to my town soon with info for seniors. I think I will attend to see what info the senior agencies may have.

I like the idea of the bracelet system. I think my mother would wear it, but like others have mentioned, I would certainly discuss purchasing this system with her BEFORE actually getting it to make sure she would even use it. My mother never wants to be a bother to any of us girls and no matter how many times we tell her she is not a bother, she shrugs...ugh. So, with that info, she would wear it, but would she actually press the button if needed?-this is what we would need to discuss!

Again, thanks for the feedback!
Speaking of cameras, there are systems for monitoring seniors at home that work by using cameras or sensors, though you sure won't find them at Best Buy. They are specialty systems and rather expensive, unless you are a tech geek, in which case it's possible to set up such a system yourself if you study up on it. To do it, the house will need internet and a computer onsite. (IME, wireless at the grandparents house is one of the best ways to get the grandkids to agree to go visit more often.)

They work by posting motion sensors or cameras on doorways in strategic places, and if no one passes through the frame during the day for a certain period of time, it sends a text message to you to let you know that there is no movement in the house, at which point you know to call to check in. There is software involved that lets you program in the residents' normal routines, such as what time they go into the bathroom to take medication each day, what time they normally watch a favorite TV show, etc. You can get fancier as well, with pressure mats in the bedroom or bathroom that can tell the difference if a person is standing on the mat or lying on it, and can send out a distress signal if anyone is lying on the mat.

One of the best things that you can do for an elderly person who doesn't want to use a distress button is to make sure (if at all possible) that their health insurance fully covers ambulance calls. A big reason why they don't want to use it is that they don't want to get charged a large fee for the use of an ambulance, and an ambulance always comes if you call 9-1-1.

Last edited by NotUrsula; 12-11-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:37 PM   #29
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My DGM has a "cheaper" version, it's a wrist one that calls my mom (her DD) first, then works its way down a list. DGM did NOT want one that called the home company or 911, but felt ok with one that called a relative. Now it does give my mom headaches because she has to remember to always have her phone with her and on, but if it means DGM will use it, it's all worthwhile.

There are no easy answers, unfortunately....

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Old 12-11-2012, 12:58 PM   #30
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I called LifeAlert for my mother. I just wanted the pricing info, but they made me give all my info - Phone number, names, addresses, etc. before they would give me any type of quote. Ok, no big deal. The price wasn't that bad, it was $99 for the unit, and then $19.99 per month after that, and as far as I could remember, that was it. I got the info from them, told then I would speak with my mother about it, and if she agreed to it, I would call them back, and hook it up. Well.... stubborn Mom way 150% against it!!! No way was she ever getting anything like that! Ok, fine. I only live about 5 minutes away, and stopped in every single day, usually 2-3 times getting her stuff, etc.

Life Alert was so horribly annoying!! They would call me at least once to twice a week, asking me to sign up. They were, for the most part, very elderly people who were calling, and they kept telling me their stories on how THEY themselves have it, and so do all their friends, and how its such a life saver, yada yada yada. Well, thats great, and I'm happy for them, however, I can't force my mother to get it. I would thank them, and tell them I'd call them, if my Mother decided to sign up.
After a few weeks of them calling 1-2 times a week, I got a little more abrasive with them. I asked them to stop calling. I said if we wanted the product, I have their number, and would call, but to PLEASE take me off their call list.
My mother sadly passed away this October in a hospital. They kept calling. Finally, I couldn't take anymore of their calls. I told them - "Shes dead. We have no need for it anymore! Please take us off your call list already!" FINALLY, they have stopped harassing us.

So if you want to go with them, make sure you mean it, because they will call and call till you do!
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