Aging is a natural part of life, but if you’re like most children, you probably hate to see your parents growing old. Though some people remain active and healthy as they near their golden years, others suffer from medical conditions that can make it difficult for them to live on their own. Before you start researching assisted living communities and retirement homes though, you should find out how this plans can benefit your loved one.
What’s Is It All About?
Life Alert is so effective that its plans and products actually help prevent a catastrophe from occurring every 11 minutes. A catastrophe can include users who hit an emergency button or used a base unit while stuck home alone after falling, hearing a robbery outside or even passing out. The packages available include different features that will protect your parent from injuries and other potential problems.
“Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” is the catchphrase that made this company a household name. Commercials showed an older woman trying to make her way around a room before falling and realizing that she could not get back on her feet without help. Those ads showed how she could use one of the Life Alert buttons to call for help during an emergency.
Even if you cannot give up your life to move back home to care for your parents, you can still ensure that someone will take care of them. The company offers plans and packagess that will work for your parent and anyone else living in that home. You may even find a system that is just right for an elderly friend or another family member.
Avoid the Retirement Home
Many older people hate the idea of moving into a retirement home. They think of it in terms of their families and loved ones putting them out to pasture. You may even find that your loved one gives up on life and passes away at a much earlier age.
With this plan, you can give them the freedom of living on their own with the security of knowing that they are safe and sound. A study done by the company found that those who used its system moved into retirement communities up to six years later than those who did not have those packagess. Once you learn more about the systems and products available, you may feel confident in purchasing a plan for your parent or loved one.
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Get One?
As the child of an elderly person, you may wonder whether your parent needs a medical alert system when you notice that person aging. While not all older people need these plans, there are some clear signs that might indicate the time is now.
One sign is that your parent suffers from medical conditions that can slowly worsen with time like diabetes. Diabetes can cause neuropathy that leads to numbness in the extremities, but it can also cause stomach cramps, loss of vision and unconsciousness. Having a medical alert system on hand gives your parent the chance to call for help before their health problems worsen.
Though some children remain close to home and visit their parents every day or a few times a week, others live in other cities or states and see their parents less often. If you live a significant distance away from your parents, you can invest in this plan to give yourself peace of mind. You’ll know that your parent can contact a helpful operator to get help during a medical emergency.
If you parent frequently suffers from slips and falls, you definitely need one of these systems. As the human body ages, the bones naturally weaken. During a slip while climbing in and out of the tub, your parent can dislocate a hip or shoulder, hit his or her head and pass out or suffer a major sprain that causes inflammation and such great pain that your mom or dad cannot get up.
The company offers specific products designed for use all around the home, and some of these products are either waterproof or water-resistant to ensure that water from the bathroom won’t keep your parent from calling for help. There are also products designed for more active users that let them take that help with them while on the go.
The standard plan that the company offered in its early days is the same package that people buy today. More than 34,000 satisfied customers went online since 2008 to share the positive experiences that they had, and this figure does not even include those who purchased a plan before the website began accepting testimonials. This plan features two simple units that are so easy to use that your parent will never have a problem calling for assistance.
One of those units is an emergency pendant, which looks like a small electronic device with a large button in the center. Life Alert provides users with a strap that looks similar to those found on wristwatches for those who want to wear the unit on their wrists. If your loved one has some mobility issues, you might suggest that he or she use the included cord to wear the emergency pendant around the neck instead.
The location of the button is especially important because it makes calling for help easier and more convenient. Even if your parent falls down and breaks a bone, he or she can call for help with just a push of that button. It has a built-in speaker for communicating with an operator and letting the operator know exactly what happened.
Though the emergency pendant does have a battery inside, the plan guarantees that the battery will last for seven years and that you will never need to charge it. As the pendant is fully waterproof, you can let your parent take a long bath, hop in the shower or even play outside in the sprinkler with your kids. This design ensures that the button will keep working after exposure to water.
Also included is a signature main unit that Life Alert designed just for its customers. You’ll need to choose between connecting the unit to a land line or a cellular network. A cellular connection will make the unit work when the phone lines go down, but some homes have such poor cell phone reception that you’ll want to opt for a land line connection.
This signature unit has a power cord that plugs into a nearly outlet, but it also comes with a battery backup inside. If your parent loses power, you can rest assured that he or she can still contact an operator for up to 72 hours after the power fails. This unit will know when the power comes back on and will immediately begin charging the battery.
With this package, you can take advantage of two big benefits. The first is 24/7 monitoring that allows your parent to talk to a real person and get help anytime a problem arises. You will also appreciate that the emergency pendant works at a range of up to 800 feet, letting your parent call an operator from almost anywhere in the house.
When you call to talk about setting up a new system, the operator you talk to will help you decide on the best products as well as the type of plan you need. Answering basic questions about where your parent lives can help you decide between a land line and a cellular connection.
The products that come with this package have built-in speakers. If an operator cannot hear your parent, the operator will call 911 and send paramedics and others to the home. Your loved one can also use that speaker to let the operator know what happened and whether they need police, firefighters or paramedics.
Protection Against Home Invasions
One of the hardest parts about being the child of an elderly person is that you never know what happens when you’re not around. You might hear stories on the news about people preying on elderly victims and stealing their identities or even just stealing money from them. Though you can talk with your parents and give them tips on protecting themselves, you can also use the plan to protect them against home invasions.
The next time that you stop by for a visit, take the time to actually look around your parents’ home. Do you notice neighbors watching you carefully and stopping by for a chat? This might indicate that your parents have friends and neighbors who care about them and will look out for them.
Instead of seeing helpful and caring neighbors though, you might see unkempt homes and lots of teenagers running around the streets. Those teens may see your parents as victims that they can take advantage of and attempt to break in and steal. Make sure you look at the adults living nearby too.
A common problem that older people face is that their neighborhoods fall into disrepute over the years. While you probably loved growing up in that neighborhood and spending time with your friends, things can change over time. If your parents live in a community with a high crime rate, a Life Alert system can definitely help.
One feature that many people do not realize comes with this system is audio monitoring. Pressing the help button on the emergency pendant immediately contacts an operator in the office. This operator can talk with your parent and send police, but the operator can also hear everything that happens in the house and listen for activity that might indicate your parent needs help.
As this speaker broadcasts out too, operators can help prevent robberies. Your parent can tell the operator that a robber is in the house or trying to break in, and the operator will then speak clearly through the speaker and tell that person that police are on the way and that the operator will record everything that happens. This is often more than enough to scare off a prospective thief.
A built-in microphone inside the emergency pendant is so loud that some may even hear it from outside the home. The operator on the other end of the line will immediately contact the police department nearest your parent’s home and arrange for officers to come to the scene. Between those officers and the operator, your parents will be safe from robbers and vandals.
Is your parent more on the active side and the type who prefers doing as much as possible during the day instead of sitting at home and watching television? With this plan, you now have the chance to protect your loved one each time he or she steps outside. This small device looks similar to the emergency pendant but does not require a base or signature unit to work.
As a pendant button, it comes on a long cord that your parent can wear without worrying about the button getting in the way. It’s small enough that users can actually tuck it in their pockets or carry it in their purses. If your parent still drives, your mom or dad can put it in the glove box too.
Designed for use in police, fire and health emergency situations, this pendant features a large emergency button right in the center that even those with poor eyesight or limited mobility can see and touch. Its built-in speaker broadcasts a clear signal between your parent and an operator. The operator can ask questions to determine what your parent needs before calling the authorities.
The best benefit to this plan is that it has a built-in GPS tracker that operates in the same way as the GPS in your car or phone does. It will work in any city or region that has GSM cellular networks. This comes in handy during different situations like when someone with dementia wanders away from home or when your parent is in a car accident and cannot speak clearly.
Life Alert will use its computer technology to track the exact coordinates of your loved one and send help, even if your parent cannot fully explain what happened or why they need help. This GPS technology can also help you track a parent with Alzheimer’s or dementia who frequently walks away from home. The company includes a battery with this mobile device that does not need charging but can last for up to 10 years.
Emergency Protection On the Go
Do you have an elderly parent or loved one who spends more time away from home than you would like? Retirement and community centers now offer a range of fun activities for the elderly like trips to Florida and Atlantic City, walking tours of historic neighborhoods and even fitness classes. With the Emergency Protection On the Go available from the company, you can now give your parents protection for all those times they are away from home.
This system works with all types of cell phones, including those older flip phones that so many elderly people love and the newer smartphones that many prefer. With older phones, your parent can add the company contact to the phone’s speed dial feature. Pressing that button will immediately call into the dispatch officer and let your parent talk to a helpful operator.
With smartphones, they offers an app that is compatible with both iPhone products and Android phones. This app is helpful because it makes it easier for your loved one to reach out and get in touch with an operator. Instead of trying to remember which button to press, your parent can open the app and automatically connect with an operator at the plan Center.
The trained operators working in that center will immediately assess the situation and determine whether your loved one can communicate as well as listen on the line for any background noises that might indicate something like a car jacking or robbery attempt. This operator will then contact the appropriate authorities in the area for assignment. They can even use a built-in GPS locator feature to determine where to send that help.
The HELP Button
Not all emergencies happen within 800 feet of the base unit, and not all emergencies leave your parent fully alert and able to find the emergency pendant. With the plan HELP button though, you can give your parents access to the operators working in the dispatch center from anywhere in the house. The company often recommends that you install at least one of these buttons, but you can opt for one or more buttons for each room.
This is a standalone button that works on its own without the signature unit. It looks like a large white button but has a large red circle in the center with the world “help” in the middle of it. Even if your parent has some vision problems, he or she can easily tap this button during an emergency.
Once pressed, this button contacts the Center and puts a qualified operator on the line. That operator will listen to what your parent says or use background noises and cues to determine what happened. Operators can then send police and rescue workers to the home and even let them know where in the home your loved one had an accident.
The waterproof design of the HELP button makes it great for use in the kitchen or bathroom, but you’ll find that you can actually hang it right on the wall of the shower. Its internal batteries last for up to a full decade and never need charging, making it a strong product for those who are a little forgetful.
Reasons to Choose This Company
Signing up for a medical alert system is something that you and your parents can do together to give all of you peace of mind. The odds are good that you heard about Life Alert in the past and wondered how it compared to other companies. Many customers switched from other packages to those offered by the company because they wanted the protection that this company offers.
In addition to preventing catastrophes, the company offers an online dispatch center that is available 24-hours a day and seven-days a week. Whether your parent hits the button at three in the morning, nine at night or in the middle of a busy holiday, operators will always be on hand to answer that call. The operators go through rigorous training to ensure that they can handle the most demanding calls and keep their cool at the same time.
While some companies have a limited number of operators working in their offices, the company guarantees that its office has up to twice as many operators working as any other company does. Your parent will never hit the button and listen in vain as no one answers the call. This plan promises that there will always be a trained and professional operator ready to handle each call.
Another benefit to this systems is that the company takes a medical history when starting new service and updates that history as long as your parent remains a customer. If your parent cannot speak, the operator can give the paramedics an updated medical history that includes all the medications that your loved one takes as well as any allergies he or she might have.
During emergency situations in which your parent can keep speaking and communicating, the operator will remain on the line for the duration of the call. The operator will only hang up when the paramedics arrive.
You’ll also appreciate that Life Alert will take the time to notify you of an emergency. The same operator who talks to your parent can contact you later and let you know what happened as well as where the paramedics took your parent. In some cases, another operator in the dispatch office can contact as the first operator remains in contact with your parent.