Medical alert device

Beth P. N.

Has anyone has any experience with these alert buttons? It's all new to me. Any information is appreciated. Thanks

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maifleur01

There are so many differing kinds that if you have one post the kind. If you are just wanting general information on them generally also say that.

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sushipup1

My experience, with both my mother and a friend, was with Phillips Lifeline which is offered by many local hospitals. A real person answers the phone, staffing isn't local but national, and all experiences were very positive. The service can be set up to call 911, or call a designated person. My 93 yr old friend checked in with the service every day. If you set up for 911, know that there may be a charge for that, not covered by Medicare. It was a friendly approachable service for seniors who needed the human touch. The service in my area was offered by the local hospitals, installed and billed by the volunteer auxiliary, but service is by the national company. Price was scaled by income.


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Beth P. N.

I have no previous experience with any of them


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maifleur01

Sushipup had good advice on something for you to check with your local hospital or even you insurance company to see if they will pay for a service and which ones.

There are many types but some only cover certain areas of the country so this is just general information. The ones I am familiar with how they work may only work within your house. Some will work only within a small radius about the size of an average yard. Others that are much more expensive can work in a broader area. Some will connect to a person others only send a signal that you have changed position. If you do not answer the telephone call saying you are fine they may send the police or in some areas a person from the company. Then a side service that some do is a daily check in. If you do not contact or answer if they call you the send someone. Each area has different companies that cover that area so what is available in my area may not be available in all. Decide what type of service of the ones I listed about is workable for you then contact the companies in your area. Ask about the type of services you want. Several of my friends who are still active have discontinued the services because they found they were too intrusive and/or they had someone calling them daily from the area.

I garden so wearing any that were checked out for me by concerned people will not work. I change positions too many times which for some services will send a signal that I need help. Some services will also check if the device has not moved for a while. I have an iPhone that has an emergency area that supposedly if you touch and press it will send a signal similar to 911 if you live in an area that it is active. My area is now active.

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sushipup1

A huge part of the consideration is the cognitive condition of the person. For someone who gets a big foggy, connecting to a real person can be a real help. For a more alert person, the more mechanical "just contact 911/designated person" only device may be fine.

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Beth P. N.
thank you both so much for all of your very helpful information! this gives me enough to start checking in my area and, with his insurance company.
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sushipup1

I have never heard of any of these devices being paid for by insurance companies.

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maifleur01

sushipup it was a medicare advertisement that I received that listed it as a new benefit. Not being interested I pitched it. Then it was on one of those robocalls of "new benefits you may be entitled to" things.

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sushipup1

Oh, something new! But some of the new devices are purchased and just alert 911 or designated person. The one that I know is not purchased, and did not require a large upfront cost, but instead had a monthly fee. That may be a difference in whether it is covered (appliance) or not (service.)


Just looked it up (Google is your friend) and here's the word.

https://medicare.com/coverage/does-medicare-cover-medical-alert-systems/

So, maybe it's covered by some Medicare Advantage plans. And we don't even know if the person the OP is talking about is on Medicare or not.

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maifleur01

Too little information and too wide of a variance of what is offered in different sections of the country to really give much help other than the basics. I hope they find something that will work for them or decide like several of my older friends it was not worth the money and aggravation for the types they had. The group are mostly in their 80's with a couple of 90's and late 70's. Most do water exercise and having to contact the provider before removing every time the exercised was just too much.

It probably was either an Advantage or Supplement plan as those are the ones that advertise.

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Beth P. N.
I really appreciate all of your comments! I have much more knowledge now than I did when I first posted the question. You have given me much food for thought and a basis for my preliminary search. I'm looking for my father who was very recently discharged from the hospital. His pulse rate dropped into the 20's. Very scary stuff! After extensive testing, they could find nothing wrong. During this episode, he was very weak and very confused. My sisters and I believe that a medical alert device would be the best thing, in case this happens again. I will look into what is available in my area and if there might be any insurance coverage.
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susanzone5 (NY)

Check with your local Office for the Aging. They referred us to CST Link to Life, with a local discount. It works well.

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maifleur01

Beyond the alert thing since he is having these episodes it is time to start looking at alternative housing. No one likes to do it but when you are not in the immediate need it will allow you to see what is available and at what price range and types of care to make the best decision for the both of you.

One thing that I was not aware of when I was looking at assisted living for my husband was there are weight and aid restrictions with assisted living. In this state and it is probably national if someone needs two people to assist siting and standing they are not eligible for assisted living. I think over 200 or 250 was the cutoff. Then there is the insurance thing. If it is an emergency placement for extended medical care some nursing homes will not accept all forms of health insurance for that period. This will vary from year to year so learn how to check the website of his insurance for the current information. If you have a POA, which you need, you have the legal right to sign on as if you are him.

Your local office on aging can help with all kinds of information including what is needed if your father does not have enough resources to provide for his own care. Go to the initial postings from several years ago and start reading the comments if you have time. They can provide some excellent suggestions both on things to do and things to watch for in his day to day activities which will provide incites on how he is feeling beyond what he tells you.

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colleenoz

Something else to consider is how the alerted person or paramedics called will enter the house if your father is inside and unable to unlock the doors. We had the kind of alert system sushipup describes for my late stepdad, who was prone to falling and being unable to get up, and lived alone after the death of my mother. We live over two hours away from the house he shared with Mom and we could not convince him to move into care (until eventually the doctor put his foot down, but that's another story).

We had to install a keysafe, which is a strong metal "box" which bolts onto an outside wall, and has a keypad on the front. When you press the code, it releases the cover and gives access to a house key. We had to tell the company the code number so they could give it to paramedics if they had to be called to attend.

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maifleur01

It may be different now but at one time those key safes had a universal code that could be used to open them similar to those "safes" that you find in hotels. Any realtor on here may be able to confirm this as the way I found out was when a key box was placed on a house we were looking for that the realtor we called did not know about. She used a code that she said was standard and had easy access to the box.

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