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Steps to Safeguard Senior Health During Medical Alert Awareness Month
Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on August 7th, 2015

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Steps to Safeguard Senior Health During Medical Alert Awareness Month

Aging & Caregiving


August is Medical Alert Awareness Month! Is your aging loved one a candidate for a life-saving medical alert system? Here's what you need to know...

When a medical emergency occurs, will your aging loved one be able to communicate potentially life-saving medical information to first responders and other healthcare professionals? While August’s MedicAlert Awareness Month was established by the MedicAlert Foundation to make consumers aware of the specific benefits of the MedicAlert product, this annual observation also offers the ideal opportunity to assess your loved one’s medical alert needs.

Why Do Medical Alert Systems Matter?

From accidents and falls to strokes and heart attacks, prompt treatment can mean the difference between life and death. Medical alert systems offer invaluable assistance to seniors during times of great vulnerability, thanks to around-the-clock monitoring. With the push of a button, the appropriate help -- family member, ambulance, police or fire personnel -- can be alerted and dispatched within moments, along with key information, such as medical conditions, allergies, and medications.

One of the most beneficial elements of today’s medical alert systems are their ease of use. Worn around the neck or as a bracelet, they offer instant two-way communication. If your loved one becomes incapacitated, he won’t have to struggle to reach the phone, recall phone numbers, or shout for help. Some systems even offer advanced functionality designed to detect high-impact falls and automatically call for help if your aging loved one is unable to push the button himself.

Beyond Communication

Medical alert systems aren’t just communication devices, however. With the fear of falling as significant a threat to senior wellbeing as falls themselves, they're also invaluable tools for helping seniors enjoy new levels of confidence. Many older Americans experience loss of self-confidence and corresponding declines in physical activity. This can lead to decreases in both mobility and balance. Knowing that help will be available if and when it’s needed provides piece of mind for older adults and the people who love them.

Medical alert systems are also useful resources for helping seniors hold onto their independence. In addition to providing 24-hour monitoring, these systems may also perform a number of other functions, including everything from reminding seniors to take their medication to alerting emergency services if a fire, carbon monoxide, or security system alarm is triggered. Many devices are even built in with GPS -- making them particularly useful for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Does Your Aging Loved One Need a Medical Alert System?

While medical alert systems offer potential benefits to people of all ages, they’re of particular use to older adults. If your aging loved one lives by himself or spends hours alone at a time, has a serious medical condition, or physical challenges which require the use of a mobility aid (such as a cane, walker or wheelchair), he is a prime candidate for a medical alert system.

However, before making the investment, it’s important to determine whether your aging loved one would be willing to wear the device and/or use it when the time becomes necessary. After all, medical alert devices are only effective when they are used properly by the people they are designed to help.

Unfortunately, many people wait until mom or dad has already suffered a serious fall or other injury before investing in a medical alert system. This August, take a moment to safeguard your aging loved one’s health and wellness by considering whether it's time for a medical alert system.

Key Takeaways:

  • Medical alert systems help protect senior health while promoting peace of mind for both seniors and their families.
  • There are many different kinds of medical alert systems - do your research before committing to a device or plan.
  • Medical alert systems are also a useful way to help older adults maintain their dignity and independence.

About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.