Medical Alert/Alarm

Tropical_MuseFebruary 27, 2005

I posted this in the retirement forum, but think this might be a more appropriate place to ask the same question regarding medical alerts. Which Alert System do you use, and why do you like it over the others?

My 92 y.o. grandmother has come to live with us, and while she is quite mobile (actually, that's the problem...) she has gotten a bit unsteady on her feet and has fallen twice this week. She has a walker that we keep by her bed, but doesn't think (or want) to use it when she gets up at night.

Her living quarters are downstairs, and at night when we're sleeping we can't hear her if she calls us. She is a very private person and has rejected any thoughts of a nursery monitior or open intercom system since she has the television on most of the night.

She has said she wouldn't use an alert system that requires a "service" come to the house if she pushes the button  she said she'd rather "lie on the floor for hours - someone would eventually find me in the morning." Aughhhhhhhh!!!

The ideal system would be one that would allow her to press a button on a wristband and a fairly loud alarm would sound in the upstairs bedroom and the kitchen.

Another thought would be one that directly dials our main house number (she has her own phone line) to get our attention.

I would appreciate any suggestions...When I dropped in to check on her the other night (around 3am) she had fallen and was down for "about 2 hours". Poor dear (very stubborn) Gram.



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She's 92 years old and this is what she wants. An alarm system would give YOU more peace of mind, but it would be a constant reminder to her that she is failing. She understands that she could lie on the floor until someone finds her and it doesn't matter to her. I quite understand how she feels. Be patient, in time she will probably come around to accepting what you want. Keep pushing her about it and she will just get more stubborn.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 10:34AM
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We purchased a wireless remote system that would have allowed Mom to push a botton beside her bed, on her unit, and then she could have told us she needed us.
Unfortunately, it was a little late, as she just didn't grasp the idea and didn't use it.
We, too, are upstairs, but can still hear her if she's in distress. We have an big ol' school bell beside her bed now, and it's giving her security knowing it's there. Even if she knocked it on the floor, we'd hear it.

So no fancy shmancy stuff for her, as even turing her tv on by remote seems to be difficult now. But I'm sure she'll be clanging that bell if she needs to summon us.

As for falling, naturally she wouldn't have this with her, and she, too, forgets to take her walker to her bathroom at night. I expect we'll hear her calling us, but if we don't, if she raises her voice, our BorderCollie will go ballistic.

Wish I could be more help...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 10:46AM
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Oh dear guys...We had the same problem with our MIL who recently passed on, and she didn't want one either. She fell several times but would always get her reacher and bang on something to let me know. We were upstairs also. we had a intercom, but it was in the family area of the room. They sure are stubborn arent they. Altho what I am thinking is if, they hurt theirselves, like a broken hip, or bang their head, and are bleeding, hours ,like that could mean a serious medical attention or death. I would...say either set your clock ,and perodically check on them through the night, or get it against their wishes. They might be glad YOU DID. They are so helpful, and even if they can't reach you if you are not home, then they call whatever neighbors or next of kin you give them of numbers. hope things work out well, caregiving is a 24 hr...on call business. Lots of Hugs...Gabby

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 11:57AM
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Have you tried putting it to her that it is to keep YOU from worrying, to give YOU peace of mind, so YOU can sleep easier, so that YOU can have more freedom, rather than it's for HER benefit. Sometimes us stubborn old folks hate to be a burden so much that we would do anything to make it easier on our children. Sometimes we can even be encouraged to do things we don't want to do. Good Luck with this!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 1:02PM
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The only caveat about these medic alert things is that they rely on the premise that the person is alert enough to summon help. If they fall and hit their heads, and knock themselves out, the alert system won't be of much good. Likewise, if they are not able to understand how to use it -- as with many folks who have dementia, they forget how to use things -- or don't understand when they are in NEED of help, it is not going to be of use. Just something to keep in mind. Probably the best thing to do is to periodically check on her.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 6:54PM
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My MIL who had a cordless telephone & remote for the tv would get confused & try to turn on tv/change chanels by pressing buttons on the cordless telephone!!.. Good thing our ph # was the only one she knew how to call otherwise long distance bills would of been outreageous..

Meg.. You might want to explain to grammy that if she thinks she's a pain now think about what would happen if she strokes out OR breaks something while waiting for someone to maybe find her.

The Nursing home had her walker set up RIGHT beside her bed & beside that was her commode but a chair could work also, this way she HAS to run or grab onto something as soon as her feet hit the floor. I wish ya luck!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 8:52PM
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Since my mother is in a "foster" home there is little control on my part regarding alarms & such. With her dementia she has had many falls(104#) & a visiting nurse suggested an alert type of alarm fastened to her when she tries to walk on her own. The owner/caregiver would not allow this as it would disturb the family & other tenants. I can understand this, but I had a disturbing phone conversation with my mother last evening. When my mother said goodbye & put down the phone at the dining table she said "I can't move, you have me blocked in" & the reply was not very nice. What this is all about is that they feel they have to lock her wheelchair(okay),but when I have "dropped in" there has been a thick phonebook behind her chair at the table so she can't move. She feels "stuck" & I'm not sure how to handle this.

Any suggestions...alarms or not?


    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 12:38PM
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I believe that constitutes a form of restraint. I know it might be done for her safety, but when my mother was in the nursing home, one of the nurses told me that the Jerry chair recliners are almost considered a restraint, because the patients usually cannot get up out of them on their own. I got the impression they had to use them cautiously, for fear of being fined by the state.

Is she in a group adult foster home, funded by Medicaid? You may want to make some discreet inquiries as to what constitutes restraints and so on.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 4:38PM
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lasershow: Thanks for the advice....have wondered about the "restraint" matter & will follow up on it. You're right on target with the AFH funded by Medicaid situation for Mom.
Appreciate your help.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 11:26PM
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actually, bells seem to work well for a lot of people- they're a sound that makes sense to folks- my dad's only 75, but with his 'selective hearing' he won't hear us yelling for him- but damn, he comes toddling whent he dinner bell rings three rooms away ;)

his mom was a night wanderer- which was fine until after the third or fourth stroke. we had to bell her like a cat- bells on the bed rails, bells on the walker, bells on the wheelchair- and, most important, a bigger, deeper bell on the outside of her bedroom door. pretty soon, we could tell what she was up to by noise alone-and by that time, she didn't really make the connection that SHE was making the bells chime- but she knew that if she shook the walker, someone would pop by.

a triangle or hand bell- or a belled bracelet might just do the trick- especially if you billed it as for YOUR sake-

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 4:09PM
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I would NEVER get a monitoring device that would require the wearer to have it around their wrist. If they should have a stroke....say on the left side of the brain and are wearing this device on their left wrist...they would NOT be able to press the button...I say get a device that is worn around the neck..either hand could grab it and press it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 4:47AM
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