By Emily Curtis, Staff Writer
1990s, there have been a plethora of options on the market for
personal emergency response systems (PERS). Since there are so
many choices, the consumer can feel overwhelmed and make poor
decisions without realizing it.
What is PERS?
PERS offer a
choice for caregivers. Designed with primarily the elderly in
mind, PERS can link the individual in need with a monitoring
station to alert them of a problem in the home. In the case of
an elderly woman who falls, she may not be able to reach a phone
to notify her family. With a PERS, a simple button click can
link her with someone who can get an ambulance or notify a
family member almost immediately.
the National Center for Health Statistics, falls rank as the
leading cause of death for individuals age 65 and older, 32.7 in
every 100,000 persons. For this reason alone, a PERS often
provides peace of mind that their loved one is able to receive
help when they need it.
PERS is not
just for the homebound elderly person. According to the Centers
for Disease Control, there are an estimated 34 to 43 million
Americans living with a chronic disability. Caregivers, even if
they are not in the immediate area, can rely on PERS to help
them provide services to disabled family members.
Assessing the Need
deciding what type of PERS to utilize, families need to step
back and look at why they may need one. Senior Services of
Seattle/King County, Washington developed these questions to ask
when deciding whether or not a system can help in the household.
Are you in the home
Are you outside and need a
system like a necklace or a bracelet?
Do you go to a specific
Who is your emergency
Are you on a Medicaid
program that might pay for a system?
Is English your primary
Do you need medication
Do you have someone who
checks on you now?
Are you concerned about
falling or have fallen in the past?
will answering these questions determine whether or not a PERS
is needed. It can also help assess the type of PERS needed for
What’s on the
for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) brings together companies
(both non-profit and for-profit) to help create technological
advances to help the elderly. As technology advances at a rapid
rate, CAST helps keep a firm grip on the types of technology
developing and how it can benefit the elderly. Their vision is
to create “the foundation that will ensure technology solutions
attain their fullest potential to meet the needs of our aging
showcases many PERS products and can help with making the
decision concerning which system will be most effective in a
given household. Some of the products listed can be new to the
market, while others have been available for some time. When
deciding which products are needed, make sure you keep in mind
the issues addressed previously.