Medical Alert/Alarm

Tropical_MuseFebruary 26, 2005

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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I'm not current in the available products in that area but had a similar situation with my mother so I can certainly relate.

If there were some way to put an alarm in several spots in the room-- on her chair, the bathroom, her walker, the bedside which she could press to alert you, she would have the ability to get to you. It would certainly be better, of course, if she had it on her person.

Have you tried asking the (many & experienced) folks in the kitchen table forum?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 11:42AM
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I am rather unusual regarding the care of the elderly. I feel that just because they are old and weak doesn't mean they don't have the right to make their own decisions as long as they are mentally well. I think you should abide by her wishes.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 12:40PM
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I agree that if she doesn't want to, she won't use it. Does she agree that she falls sometimes? In my mom's case, it resulted in a cracked pelvis. Twice. Agony. I had to move in with her for 1 1/4 year before she was mobile enough to move in with us.

Does she use seat belts in the car? They are not so bad are they?

The "alarm" device shouldn't have to contact a medical service to come to the house if you set it up right. It can call you on your phones. They are just an answering service, really.

You can get simple doorbells in the hardware store that will ring or buzz you anywhere you choose--Little buttons that can be located in several places in the room.

I think you have the right to insist that if you are going to be the responsible person for her, that you require these to be available for her to use if needed. It's your decision, not hers.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 1:14PM
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My old uncle had a warning system where he could push a button on a wrist band or necklace, which was connected to a box connected to his phone.

If he got into trouble, pushed the button, the box rang a central office through its connection to his telephone.

Not sure whether office staff person could speak to him, but in any case, they had a list of persons to telephone and one of them would come to check on him.

I'm not sure what the radius was that the warning button would connect to its box, but think it was hundreds of feet (which would cover him when he visited the barn to care for his cattle) to possibly a quarter of a mile.

Cost about $25. to install, about $25. - 30./mo. maintenance.

After his death we returned the equipment to the sponsoring office.

I have a feeling that something like that might be acceptable to your (stubborn) Gran.

I find that, just in my mid-70s, I'm becoming slightly stubborn, myself. Not that such may have been a characteristic throughout my life, of course!

Hope you find a system that works for you.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 8:23PM
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Hi, I am new to this forum and am looking for some information regarding this medical alarm you talk about. When I search online there are so many medical alarm companies that the information gets overwhelming. Who do I trust? Are they reputable? Are there any that you would trust or reccomend. If I come accross anything that looks good , I'll let you know. My father has fallen many times this year and just a few days ago he laid on the floor for 2 hours before I stopped over to see him and noticed him lying next to the phone. He crawled over to it but wasnt able to reach it and call me. Thankfully, he was only bruised. I sat down with him and we had a talk. He has agreed to wear a medical alarm, so now I am looking for the best one out here. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 4:12PM
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Quite frequently when older people get into trouble, they are on the floor and in a substantial proportion of occasions can't get up.

A telephone that's fastened to the wall four feet off of the floor might as well not be there.

It's a good idea I think for older folks to have a phone on a table, etc. in frequently used areas rather than on the wall.

If they can't get off the floor - if they can get to the phone cord, they can pull the phone off of the table.

joyful guy

P.S. Tropical Muse: For your Grandma who won't have alarm systems ...

... would she be interested in a pistol ... that shoots blanks?

Or maybe a stick like a broomstick tha's long enough that she could thump your floor with the other end, even is she's stuck on the floor?

What would she say if you ran that idea by her for size?

Sometimes one can achieve more with some humour than in coming at the issue with the depth of seriousness.

Just a thought.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 2:53PM
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Thanks joyfulguy, I took your advice and moved the phone to a table so that he can reach the cord. This seems like a good solution for now until I get a medical alarm.

I have been looking around more and doing some research and I think I've come across a respectable medical alarm company. I like the honesty that their director shows on the home page. He comes straight out and answers some serious questions which no other company I've researched addressed. The site is I am going to order in the next few days. Let me know what you think.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 2:51PM
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Hindsight being 20/20, my mom wouldn't agree to an alarm service either. I should have given her the remote to my truck ... she could have worn it around her neck, hit the horn key.....

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 3:49AM
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Hi Natacha,

I am interested that your heading does not allow for us to go to your page to learn about you, as is usual here.

As for helping improve the quality of life of my parents, they left this dimension of living in 1942 and 1986, so it gets a bit difficult for folks here to influence that much now, directly. Some say that our prayers can influence their lifestyle in the situation which they inhabit currently, others doubt that possibility.

The major medical alert system for emergencies in use here is based in a local residential and medical complex mainly for long-term care folks and seniors. I do not remember its name.

I referred in an earlier post on this thread how it works. The person for whom there is some concern wears a necklace or wristband with a push-button which can be pushed in case of trouble, to have their telephone ring the phone at a care centre which is staffed 24 hours, 365 days. The staff have a list of several numbers to call when such a phone call comes in. It is possible to choose a service where the person at the care centre can speak to the person of concern, I understand, which allows for more flexibility. The wearer sends a message once per month at a pre-selected time, to test the system. One of the major problems is that the button may be pushed inadvertently, which gets the caregiver(s) upset ... and she or he hastens to the home of the person of concern, to be greeted on arrival with surprise: everything is O.K. - whatès all the fuss about (my new keyboard does not do question marks ... or apostrophes or quotation marks, either).

Each of the folks who are on call needs to have a key (or know where to find a hidden one near the subjectès home ... or expect some broken windows or doors!).

It cost about $30.00 to set up, plus about $30.00 monthly for service, about four or five years ago. The base unit at the phone and the push-button are on loan, to be returned at theend of the contract period.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:56AM
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I found some good sound information here. Thank you so much for sharing this. I really enjoyed this read.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 6:04PM
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I am 74 and keep my cell on me all the time. Even on the night stand when I go to bed.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 5:41PM
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The major concern here seems to be a family member who gets up at night. How about a baby monitor? This will broadcast any call for help. Volume can be adjusted to miss the usual sounds of walking about and turning in bed. No installation, no contract.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:12PM
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There are a lot of good ideas and alternatives here, so you can choose what best meets your needs now, and to give you ideas for future modifications.

The one thing I'd strongly advise--if you do use one of these alert systems where someone in a call center handles the emergency--calling the police, ambulance, etc.... INVESTIGATE where that call center is. One of the largest personal alarm systems used to have their call center a few miles from my house. Some years ago, in the interest of saving $$$, they changed that to a location in a 3rd world country. Do you feel comfortable trusting someone who lives halfway around the world, who is making a sub-par wage, who probably speaks English as a second language to handle a life or death emergency for your loved one?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:06PM
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