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Personal emergency response systems

A
personal emergency response system (PERS) can provide peace of mind if the
person you care for lives alone. There are many factors to consider when
shopping for a device.

The
need for a personal call button.
Is your loved one at risk of a fall or heart attack? If so, you’ll
want 24/7 emergency help. Or are you looking for backup for nonemergency
situations: a car breakdown or home alone and not feeling safe?

Who
receives the alert?

  • A professional on duty 24/7.
    Push the button and a human being answers. By arrangement, the professional at
    the other end of the line has access to your loved one’s medical history. He or
    she also knows who to call and in what order.
  • An automated response. You choose among three possibilities: direct to 911 (your loved one may
    hesitate to push the button), direct to a prearranged contact person (who may
    or may not be available), trigger a phone tree of people to be automatically
    called (if no one answers, the system alerts 911).

Where
it works

  • Home use only. Good for the
    homebound. 
  • Home and
    away from home
    . Typically,
    these require a strong cell signal. If your loved one lives in a rural area,
    this type may not be a wise choice.

How easy is it
to use?

  • Charging frequency. Does the system
    require a regular habit of charging every night? Is that realistic?
  • Practice is required! It’s not at
    all intuitive to the person using the device for the first time or two. Ask for
    a trial run and practice regularly after the purchase.

How
ugly or obvious is it?
Looks are important! If your relative doesn’t like it, he or she
won’t wear it, and that defeats the purpose. Get your loved one’s thumbs up
before making a final decision.

Looking for a PERS solution?
As the Metro DC experts in family caregiving, we can help you evaluate what features you need. At Debra Levy Eldercare Associates, we understand your concerns. Give us a call at 301-593-5285. Let’s start the conversation.