By Sandra Fuson, Staff Writer
Itís the Safe Choice:
As the number of individuals
who are aging and choosing to remain in their homes (also known
as aging in place) increases, the likelihood of needing
assistance at some point also increases. According to the 2001
American Housing Survey, more than 21.8 million households have
someone who is at least 65 years of age or older. In addition,
46% of those households are made up of individuals who live
alone. Many of these houses are aging or are multi-story
buildings, including apartment complexes.
While it is a salute to
Americaís health care system that aging individuals are able to
live in their homes for longer, the question of being safe is
also an issue. Long distance caregivers especially worry what
will happen to their loved ones should an accident in the
household occur. With a PERS in place, this anxiety is lessened,
allowing more freedom of mobility and worry-free days.
For Those with Dementia:
Recognizing that not all
individuals are able to make the choice for themselves, the
Alzheimerís Association has developed a list of recommendations
for how to convince someone to wear a Safe Return ID that can be
easily customized to PERS devices. Many of todayís PERS devices
will signal if someone has wandered too far from home or if they
have fallen, without pushing any buttons or otherwise
interacting with the device. Many of these devices can be worn
as necklaces or bracelets and are unobtrusive on a daily basis.
Try these suggestions:
Give the device as a
Introduce it at several different points of the day until your
loved one establishes a comfort level with it.
Wear something similar
Ask your doctor to give it
to them. Sometimes a person in authority may have better luck
convincing them than you.
See if itís possible to
attach the device to a piece of clothing or the lining of a
sweater they wear every day.
The technology available
today makes almost any type of PERS device readily available in
the home. Finding a way to convince your loved one can be
challenging at times. If your loved one has a chronic illness or
lives without immediate support, a PERS system is an investment
that is well worth the money. The peace of mind and security
that come from knowing help is only a few minutes away is
Constance would agree. She
called and had a PERS system installed so that the next time she
needed assistance, the monitoring station would call the next
door neighbor with the key to her house to help her instead of
the local fire department. This decision proved easier and much
more cost-effective. She no longer felt embarrassed asking for
help and knew that if she needed help, she only needed to push a
button and help would be available within moments.