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Seniors and Emergency Location Devices

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A few decades ago television commercials advertised early medical alert devices with an iconic elderly person calling out, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.” More recently a revised version of the commercial aired on television. This dramatic retelling was more like something out of a horror film, showing life going on as normal while an elderly woman cried out for help from her place off screen.

The new version of the popular advertisement is spot on, because finding an elderly person long after they fell and were unable to right themselves is a horrible thing. It is something out of a caregiver’s most sinister nightmares. A fall for a senior could mean anything from scrapes and bruises to a broken hip, or something even worse.

One of the biggest problems with seniors and falls is that they have no way to call for help. A medial alert device can help with that, however because they are connected to 24-hour emergency services that monitor incoming calls. Usually in the form of jewelry, like a bracelet or necklace, the waterproof device connects through a home phone or wireless internet hotspot.

Does GPS matter? Yes, it certainly does! When a medical alert device is GPS-enabled, then it uses at least four different satellites to pinpoint the signal. This highly accurate system can find the location of the device with incredible accuracy. The military was using GPS technology as early as the 1960s, and civilians just two decades after that.

What about elderly people who wander out of the line of site from a GPS-enabled device? Social media networks like Facebook are frequently inundated with shared images of elderly people who have become lost. One person, for example, was a dementia patient who wandered into a wooded area. Thankfully he was found, but an alert device that worked off both GPS and cell phone towers would have helped in finding him more quickly.

As people grow older, the risk of falls increase. Because their skin is thinner, cuts and scrapes have a higher chance of becoming infected. Their bones are more brittle, and easier to become broken during a fall. The last thing anyone wants is to find out their loved one suffered a fall. It would add insult to injury to learn that the victim lay prone for any length of time without some way to call for help.

Sadly a fall can happen even if they employ the services of a caregiver. If the caregiver is providing aide to a fallen patient, then they can use the device to call for ambulatory care in the case of the fall resulting in serious medical issues. Although it is recommended that patients who suffer falls visit the emergency room regardless of their injuries.

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