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Do you have experience with a PERS, personal emergency system?

Posted by granjan (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 10, 07 at 12:49

My mother is 80 and live alone in a condo with a basement. The laundry is down there and she refuses to let us put a small stacked machine on the 1st floor.

She does have an irregular heartbeat for which she takes medication but is in basic good health. However she refuses to get/do any regular exercise and is becoming less mobile. Walking even a couple blocks is now tiring to her.

2 bachelor brothers live in the same small city but not geographically close. One is a disabled schizophrenic and the other is a lawyer with a rather eccentric personality. They do not live together but the lawyer brother does some care taking for both brother and mother. Mother sees one of them at least once a week but on an irregular basis. She has daily contact with a VERY active friend, when she is in town, but that friend often goes for family visits for weeks or a month at a time. During that time my mother is VERY isolated. (Mostly by her choice. She stills drives but finds outings exhausting.) She rarely sees her neighbors except in good weather and has no real relationship with them. They are all much younger.

We are condidering getting her a Lifeline type device. But they are expensive. If we can persuade her to wear it all the time do you think it's a good investment/expense? What experiences have you had with them?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Do you have experience with a PERS, personal emergency syste

Lifeline, thru the local hospital, should not be that expensive. Maybe $100 to install and $35 or $40 a month. Absolutely a good investment. I do personal counseling with senior clients who live alone, and getting Lifeline is the first order of business when I go in assess the person's home. And try again to get her laundry upstairs, or get someone in to help her with the laundry every week. Stairs like that are not a great thing for older people.


RE: Do you have experience with a PERS, personal emergency syste

Totally agree about the help,Check into a housekeeper maybe once a week?? Do laundry/scrub bathrooms, strip beds vaccum??

Lots of luck!! Been there, done this..

RE: Do you have experience with a PERS, personal emergency syste

Hi Grandjan,

My mom has had a Lifeline for the last 2 years. She fell once (and broke her sacrum),but did not use it (she would not want to bother anyone). Thank goodness, she got up.

Nevertheless, it has been a great comfort to me that she has it. She now lives with me and we transferred it here. I am not here all of the time. She was on a waiting list for lifeline. It costs $26 per month.

I'd get it. I would also try to get laundry upstairs. If not, does she have a cell/mobile phone that can be with her at all times?

Best! Adele

RE: Do you have experience with a PERS, personal emergency syste

I used to work for an agency that supplied in-home (nonmedical) assistance to elderly clients. Nearly always, the assistance was sought by the client's children and nearly always the client resisted saying "I'm fine; I don't need help: it's too expensive"

What often worked was when the children would say "Mom (or Dad", I'm setting this up for my own piece of mind. I'm asking you to give it a try. If, after a few months, you feel the same way, we can cancel the service".
And, nearly always, after a few months, the client loved having someone come over, visit, help with laundry, drive them to the doctor's office, or shopping....

I found that being lovingly firm was what worked best in getting elderly loved ones to accept assistance with daily tasks.

re: pers,

Forgot to add that the agency did offer the Lifeline PERS - The cost was about $35/mo - pretty inexpensive piece of mind.

My late MIL had a similar system. She did not like it because she would often set it off accidentally and the volume may have been to loud because she said she "didn't like people yelling at her in her own home". After about 6 months, she had it removed. Part of the key may be to reassure the person that setting it off accidentally is just "testing the unit"...
Also, there's no incresased cost even if it get used. It was a flat amount per month.

RE: Do you have experience with a PERS, personal emergency syste

My mother had it for at least four years. She got it in her mid-eighties and even though she was pretty mentally capable at the time, I believe it got used one time when she fell out of a chair. It did not get pushed at least a half-dozen other times when it should have been. She set hers off so many times by accident, she was paranoid about pressing it.

She had a hard time understanding that a family member would be contacted first before emergency personnel would be summoned and had great fears ambulance and police would come breaking down doors and let her little doggie out. As she aged and her mental capacity started to diminish her goal, it seemed was never to touch that awful button. She did, however, be very faithful about wearing it at all times, and it gave her some feeling of safety having it there. If she needed it just one time, it was worth the $35 she paid every month. But, just be sure that whomever you are trying to persuade to get one will actually use it.

RE: Do you have experience with a PERS, personal emergency syste

I'm just now seeing this having just recently found this forum. I'll just wade in my 2cents worth of comment. My siblings & I wanted Mama to get one of these last winter after she was quite ill with bronchitis. Apparently she just didn't want to have to deal with one more decision at the time. Earlier this year she got one; we are SO thankful she did.

When she became ill in mid-May all she had to do was push the button, state "I need help" & my brother was on his way! It's a comfort to all of us. She didn't have to struggle with a phone, and had she fallen (she did last fall; fortunatley I was in the house), she'd had help & not just lain there. Someone mentioned a cell phone. They are great! However, in the event of a fall, they'll very likely go flying!

A friend thot she was 'ok' carrying her cordless with her until she fell in the garage, & the phone was out of reach. I don't know what/if Mama paid for hook up fees, but it's less then 40 a month. That's not much for fast help and peace of mind.

I hope you can convince your parent to (1) get the service and (2) USE it if needed :-)

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