One advertising campaign that has impacted our society is summarized in the exclamation, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” What image does that sentence call to mind? An elderly woman, alone in her home and frightened by a sudden need for emergency services. Falls can happen to any of us, but the elderly, especially those with conditions that affect their mobility, are particularly vulnerable. In recent years, many new products have hit the market that aim to improve upon the original emergency call-button model, worn on the wrist or on a necklace. The basic premise is that a user would have to press the button in order to get a response from the necessary authorities. Wearing a medical alert device can provide significant peace of mind to the user and to their loved ones who are not able to be in the home with them at all times.
But what happens if an accident has occurred and the button has not been pressed? Users may have fallen and been rendered unconscious or immobilized and therefore do not press their button. This is the concern which fall detection systems aim to address. As with many products, not all fall detection systems are the same. They vary based on the equipment provided, fees associated, and additional services offered such as GPS location services.
One of the most recognized products is Philips Lifeline. They have enhanced their product by adding a fall detection system called AutoAlert. Their service includes a communicator, personal help button, and 24/7 access to their response center. There are monthly services associated with this which starts at $44.95. For more information on Philips Lifeline, visit http://www.lifelinesys.com/content/lifeline-products/auto-alert.
Another available product is called Alert1. Their site at https://www.alert-1.com/content/fall-detection-technology/1390 claims that testing and research has shown it to be effective in differentiating between a fall and everyday movements. There are landline and wireless options available and a one-time activation fee of $35.00 applies. Payment plans range from $30.95 per month to $40.95 per month depending on whether payments are made annually, monthly, or quarterly.
MyHelp Emergency Response is another product which boasts no activation fee or long term commitment. The monthly cost is listed at $29.95 per month at http://www.assistedlivingtechnologies.com/emergency-response/27-mxd.html. One of their listed features is instant family notification if a fall is detected.
Other factors to consider when comparing these and the many other products on the market are the battery life and charging needs, resistance to water, and call-center specifics.
For information on other “wearable technology” for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, see our article here: http://weatherby-associates.com/blog/2015/04/10/wearable-technology-and-dementia.
At Weatherby & Associates, PC we care about your goals for aging in place safely and with access to medical attention. If you have questions about our practice, please contact us at 860-769-6938.