My aging Mom, who lives 800 miles away, prefers to live in her own home, and like many others who are aging in place, wants her independence despite several falls in the past year. I spoke with Mom on the phone last week and she described a recent fall in the Walgreens parking lot after she drove there to pick up a few items. While closing her car door, she fell backwards, her head hit the pavement and she bruised her tailbone. Two people helped her to her feet, she went into Walgreens, shopped, and drove home. She was lucky this time; no broken bones. She is worried about whether she will be able to continue living independently as she wishes.
My Mom is 83, lives alone and does not wear a monitored emergency alert device nor does she own a cell phone. No one in the family has the legal right to assist her; that right falls to a former employer and friend of hers (her decision). Feeling helpless, I prayed for guidance on how to aid her while also not upsetting her. I decided on purchasing some items to help her daily: two suction cup grab bars for her shower/bath area, an adjustable hand bed rail, and a call button alarm system from Amazon. They will be delivered directly to her home this week. I believe the alarm system, if she chooses to use it, could be useful if she falls at home or has an emergency. The alarm should be loud enough to alert a neighbor. While I wish I could afford the monthly fee associated with a 24/7 monitored emergency alarm system, I think the call button alarm system could help with alerting neighbors in the near future.
Technology designers have really embraced the problems seniors face when they want to age in place. This is a great article which describes some of the latest and greatest aging in place technology if you can afford them:
Choosing the right technology to assist aging in place
By Matthew Campbell, McKnight’s Senior Living
March 2, 2017
“Older adults increasingly want to age in place, and many of them live alone.
If living unassisted, however, older adults are at risk for falls in and out of their residences, which can lead to injuries. A senior is treated for a fall in the emergency department in the U.S. every 13 seconds, according to a study from Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. Fear can prevent older adults from confidently living active lifestyles.
Simple technology, however, can discreetly monitor and assist seniors to help ensure their safety and health. Devices such as wearable mobile personal safety technology, or mPERS, and connected tech such as motion sensors, allow older adults to feel safe and never really alone.”