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Personal Emergency Response System:
Caregiver Stories
By Hilary Gibson, Staff Writer
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A Loved One Eases Her Caregiver’s Worries

I am a 73 year-old woman who lives alone. I suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and I have a history of falls. I thought as long as I was seeing my doctor regularly and taking all of my medication like I’m supposed to, that’s this was all I needed to do in order to stay on top of things. My son and his wife live 30 miles away, and I know all of my neighbors, yet I’ve been reluctant to depend on anyone to help me with my problems, since I feel I can manage just fine on my own. My son had addressed his concerns about my safety with me. I assured him that I was fine on my own. He said that it was great that I felt fine with it, but that this didn’t stop his constant worrying about all the “what ifs.” He talked me into having a PERS installed in my home, and said that he would pay for the monthly monitoring. I had only had the unit for a few months when it helped me out during a terrible situation. I got quite dizzy one day, along with being shaky and light-headed. I made my way into my living room, using the walls for support. Feeling very weak, I tried to make it to the couch so that I could rest. Unfortunately, I never made it, because I tripped on a rug and fell to the floor. I landed hard on my left leg, and severe pain began to immediately. I was unable to get to my feet, nor could I crawl to the phone.

It was then that I remembered I was wearing my “help” button pendant around my neck. From just pressing the button, I began to calm down, and my panic subsided. A few minutes later, EMTs arrived to my home and took my to the nearest hospital. I truly feel this device saved my life. Without it, I may have gone into shock, passed out, and it would have been hours before neighbors or relatives realized I wasn’t answering my phone or door.

Never Too Old For Help

Although I’m in my early 50’s, I decided to get a PERS in my home because I have MS. Most of the time, I have no problem and am able to handle anything, however, there are times where I have problems with my balance. One day, I took a bad fall. It wasn’t due to my MS, but the fall resulted in me being knocked out. I was unconscious for about 20 minutes, and when I awoke, there was a substantial amount of blood where I’d hit my head when landing on the floor. I pressed the button on the pendant that I wear all the time, and the person living the closest to me on my contact list was at my home within two minutes, and an ambulance arrived only a minute later. Having the PERS has given me a sense of security to stay in my own home, and to remain independent.

Ringing In A New Year

Last New Year’s Eve, my 88 year-old mother fell while trying to get up from her bed and go to the toilet with the use of her walker. She lives alone in an apartment, so no one was really around, especially on a holiday. She tried to get herself up by leveraging herself with her walker, but this didn’t work since she was in severe pain in several places, especially in her leg. She finally pressed the “help” button to her PERS, and in just a few minutes, someone from her contact list was there to help her up. Being extremely independent and headstrong, my mother refused to go to the emergency room, saying that she knew her own mind and body, and that both told her to just get back in bed, rest, and she’d be fine. When she tried to leave her bed again a few hours later, she really was unable to move, and she now noticed swelling coming from the leg that was in so much pain. She also had intense burning in her bladder. She pressed the “help” button once again, and this time she asked for paramedics to be sent to her apartment. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with a fractured leg, a bladder infection, and was also exhibiting classic signs of diabetes. She could have easily died, but her “help” button did exactly what it was intended to do, both times, and during a holiday!

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