"Life Alert" or Other Emergency Notification Solution For Oldsters?
May 16, 2017 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Mom's getting wobbly, so we're worrying about the "I've fallen and I can't get up!" scenario. Is Life Alert indeed the best solution?

FWIW, she does have wifi. Lives in an apartment building in Queens.

One issue is how responders would get through her multiple door locks. I suppose my siblings or I would need to be notified and drive over. But that's still way better than not knowing there's a problem, obviously.
posted by Quisp Lover to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
"my siblings or I would need to be notified and drive over"

Just to clarify, we all live >1.5 hours away.
posted by Quisp Lover at 9:38 AM on May 16, 2017

I work for a company that treats alarms from similar medical devices.

Usually the customer file contains information about how to get into the building, who may hold a key, security or janitors on site, etcetera. We only give this information out to ambulance services, never to anyone else. The client can decide in what order people should be called: sometimes it's relatives first, then ambulance; sometimes ambulance first, then relatives, if any; sometimes a reliable neighbour or local security can go on the list. We also have information about the person's age, conditions, medications, attending doctor and anything else the ambulance people may need.

That said, there's no 100% certain way of getting through a locked door if the person inside is unconscious or has fallen in such a way they can't get to the door. But it's reasonably effective.

(Before you ask: something like 95% of the calls are false alarms. "I just put the thing down on the table!" "Mrs. Smith, the device records sudden movements, so that dropping it on the table registered as a fall." "Ohhh...!")
posted by zadcat at 9:45 AM on May 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Not to shill, but Amazon's Alexa just updated to include the abilities to ask her to make calls to people who have the Alexa app on their phone (she could have the actual Echo device, but you wouldn't have to, just the app) so she could make a call and speak to you even if she weren't able to move. Just one more way technology may be helpful? Also, my mama LOVES her Echo, and would not be too thrilled with having an "old lady necklace" (her words) but is excited about the Echo's new capability, leading to better compliance.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:58 AM on May 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

For my dad, we went with AlertOne on the recommendation of my mom, a hospice worker.

Ultimately the best solution is the one that will be worn. A lot of people push back, like my dad, and it ultimately did nothing to help him when he fell, because he wasn't wearing it. Hopefully your mom will be less "feisty" or "fiercely independent" and more prone to humoring you.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:10 AM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

They get through the multiple door locks by you providing a key safe like the kind that realtors use, it hangs from the doorknob. When the system is triggered the operator gives the combo to the first responders. We had life alert btw.
posted by fixedgear at 12:20 PM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Does she have neighbors or a competent building super? I'm in an apartment building in Manhattan, and the woman in the apartment next to mine is in a precarious state of health where 'fallen and can't get up' is something that's happened a couple of times. After one or two incidents, she gave copies of her keys to me and a few other people in the building in case someone needs to be let into her apartment.

This depends on it being the kind of building where she has neighbors she trusts with her keys, that don't mind being involved a bit, but that's a possibility.
posted by LizardBreath at 12:34 PM on May 16, 2017

My grandma has this. She has both a key safe thing attached outside of her door with a code that the company can give out to emergency responders in case of emergency (luckily none yet!) She also has the ability to press a different button (different from the "fall" sensor) that calls a neighbor if she's in a pickle and can't get to the phone (this has been used more often), and that neighbor has a key as well.
posted by rainbowbrite at 4:01 PM on May 16, 2017

rainbowbrite, any idea which company offers this two button solution?
posted by Quisp Lover at 8:03 AM on May 18, 2017

« Older Dating someone lovely, but is previous behaviour a...   |   Full-time artist who also works as a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.