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A special thanks to Chris Tyler with At Home 2 Stay. You can call him at 402.510.5626.
People prefer to live at home where it's familiar, comfortable, and affordable. At Home Access Solutions, we can help families modify the physical environment to make it as safe and easy to use as possible, but we recognize that may not be everything that is needed for some situations.
Any person can fall or get sick, but someone who is either older, isolated, or both is at greater risk for serious consequences. For instance, take a look at these grim CDC statistics about the consequences of a senior falling and remaining on the ground without help.
- If a senior falls and remains on the floor more than four to five hours, he/she could spend up to 18 days in a hospital or rehab facility.
- If a senior remains on the floor overnight after a fall, he/she could spend up to 30 days in a hospital or rehab facility.
(Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Having someone close by just in case they are needed is a solution, but not always practical for families who provide care for older loved ones. Frankly, many seniors I know, prefer their privacy and routine and don’t want to include a person watching over them.
Terrific technology such as personal emergency response systems exist which a person can use to notify others in an emergency, but they must be willing and able to “push the button”. Recently a long distance caregiver told me that she couldn’t persuade her mother to use an emergency response system because her mother didn’t want an ambulance pulling up outside her door. We can, from our own perspective, argue that embarrassment in front of the neighbors would be the least of our worries in the case of a fall, but it was a significant obstacle this person gave to her daughter the caregiver. Among the overwhelming numbers of people who have used personal emergency response systems successfully to call for help and to minimize the problems following a fall or sudden illness at home, we do hear about the cases where people haven’t been alert enough or physically capable of operating the emergency button. In these cases additional monitoring might have been a good addition to the emergency response system.
There is also the problem of detecting gradual changes in abilities or behavior that can eventually lead up to serious issues, before they get out of hand. Many long distance caregivers rely on phone conversations and occasional visits and aren’t able to see the small warning signs until a true emergency has arisen. There are small daily tasks like remembering medications at the right time, getting enough to eat when there aren’t other people around to enjoy preparing meals for, etc. that a person living alone might start to miss. Long distance caregivers wouldn’t see these changes until the situation has become noticeable or critical. This is another situation where monitoring technology may be useful.
Monitoring systems have been around a long time. I have several clients who tell me about their old-fashioned, informal method of monitoring is to make sure someone knows that they have gotten up for another day. They open their blinds and watch for their neighbor to open their blinds. If the blinds don’t go up, the designated family member is called. Having a network is great, but now there is technology that is significantly more reliable and more sensitive to small changes that having your neighbor watch for you to open your blinds. We’ve interviewed Chris Taylor from Home2Stay in this video and we encourage you to research all of the emerging long distance monitoring that will make it possible for people to stay at home where they are in familiar, economical, and SAFE surroundings.