Worrying about the safety of an elderly parent is natural, especially if they live alone. The risk of them falling and being unable to access help is one of many huge concerns families face.
A medical alert system is a personal device that your elderly parent can wear, connecting them to professional help in the event of an emergency. You’ll get peace of mind from these systems, knowing they will be able to access help when required.
Read on to find out more about these lifesaving systems and decide whether they could benefit your family.
1. It improves the outcome of a fall
Medical alert systems were originally designed to tackle falls. Older people carry a greater risk of falling and in extreme cases cannot get themselves up, or call for help. For elderly people, over 50% of falls result in injuries, the most common being fractures.
Although an alert system can’t stop the wearer from falling, it can detect falls and contact response teams, even if the alert button isn’t pressed. This means if your parent falls and is injured, or simply doesn’t have the mobility to get back up, a medical professional will arrive as quickly as possible. Getting fast medical treatment after an injury shortens healing time and increases the chances of a full recovery.
2. It helps with maintaining independence
One of the main concerns that older people have is losing their independence. Health issues become more common with age, requiring extra considerations when it comes to everyday activities such as shopping, cleaning, and other household chores. If you have an older parent who lives alone or is limited by health concerns, you may already be getting more involved in their life.
Medical alert systems give both the wearer and their family the reassurance that help will arrive if an accident happens. This safety net allows the wearer to continue living in their own home, perform their personal chores, and control their own routines. You’ll be able to continue visiting your parent because you want to, not because you need to.
3. It can monitor health parameters
In this modern age of technology, falls aren’t the only thing that medical alert systems can detect. Depending on which service you choose, your parent’s device could monitor their blood pressure , heart rate, step count, and calorie expenditure. These measurements make the devices useful for a wide range of health conditions, such as alerting a wearer with chronic hypertension if their blood pressure spikes.
Monitoring step count and calorie expenditure also helps to give you an idea of whether your parent is getting out and about, and keeps you updated on their overall well-being. Some systems even include GPS tracking. This could be useful if your parent has a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s.
4. It enables increased physical activity
It’s common for people to reduce their exercise levels as they age due to aches, pains, and general physical decline. However, keeping active is beneficial for both mental and physical health. Gentle exercise can even increase mobility in patients with advanced dementia.
A medical alert system could help to increase your parent’s activity levels if they lack the confidence to get moving while no one is supervising them. Many modern portable alert systems operate anywhere without losing their connectivity, allowing the wearer to go for walks knowing that help is in reach if their health takes a turn for the worse.
If you want to buy a device that your parent could take outside, be sure of the specifications for exterior use before ordering. You can compare the best medical alert systems using our chart above and choose the service that fits you the most.
5. It can improve mental health
For many elderly people, a decline in overall health and loss of mobility causes feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and loss of freedom. This is easy to understand. Most of us would hesitate before cooking meals we love or going out to visit friends if there was a high chance that we could fall and be unable to move. What’s more, lots of elderly parents feel that they place a burden on their family by asking for help.
The confidence and self-reliance that medical alert systems give back to wearers have been proven to relieve anxiety and enhance overall quality of life. While we worry about the safety of our parents as they age, it can be easy to forget that they’re probably just as worried as we are. These devices improve mental health by relieving some of these concerns.
6. Alerts can be canceled
One of the more common reservations older people have about wearing a medical alert device is pressing the ‘alert’ button accidentally. Fortunately, most devices have a ‘cancel’ button which can be pressed if the device has been activated by mistake. Even if the wearer activates the device without realizing it and is connected with an operator at the emergency response center, they can simply tell the operator that it is a false alarm.
7. It’s popular
Medical alert systems often involve the wearer placing an easily visible device around their neck. This makes the ‘alert’ button easily accessible in an emergency, but also means that others can see it. Wearing these devices isn’t something to be embarrassed about.
While other health gadgets have come and gone over time, medical alert systems have steadily increased in popularity since launching in the 70s . It’s a simple, inexpensive measure that comes with benefits for both the wearer and their family. Seeing older people wearing a device while out and about is common and shouldn’t be a source of insecurity.
The health issues that come with aging can cause safety risks, loss of independence, and reduced mental well-being for our parents. You might be affected too, as the strain of checking in regularly and worrying about their safety can take its toll. By providing a simple, reliable way to access help at any time, medical alert systems are the answer to this problem.
These devices give your parent the confidence to contact you or a medic at any time, empowering them to continue living independently. Wearers can complete their daily activities without unnecessary worry, supporting their ability to age with confidence, while feeling safe and in control.