So here’s the deal: medical alert systems only work if the person using it has the panic button on them when they have their accident.
For example, my grandmother would have been the perfect person to have a medical alert system. She lived alone until she was 96 in a three story house in Washington DC. Fiercely independent, she didn’t want to have anyone checking in on her and refused to have anyone come in to look after her. In the end, the reason she had to move out of her house was that she fell on the stairs and broke her hip. She lay on the landing for 12 hours or something like that until a friend stopped by for lunch the next day and called for help when my grandmother didn’t answer the door.
BUT, she was also NOT the perfect person.
That’s because she was a cranky old lady who would have rebelled at the idea of having to wear an ugly pendant around, and though she might have done it grudgingly, she probably would not have picked it up from the bedside table when she got up out of the bed on the night when she tripped and fell.
It would have taken significant “training” to get her to use her medical alert button. Knowing what we know now, it would have been worth doing. But I’m not sure anyone in the family would have persevered and gotten her to see that this was a good idea for her own health and safety.
You’ll have to do your own assessment of your elderly relative to figure out whether they are the type of person who will take to their new system with enthusiasm or with reluctance.
I think it’s worthwhile trying a system to see whether the person will take to it.
One thing to keep in mind is that (as I’ll cover in detail later), the different systems work in distinctly different way. Some call special 24-hour monitoring centers and others dial your relatives. You’ve probably noticed that a lot of older people don’t like “bothering” other people when they have a health concern. Some elderly people will feel more comfortable bothering strangers in a monitoring center, and others will feel more comfortable bothering their own children and friends.
Next step: Why activity level matters