Do you remember the first “Home Alone” movie? All the pranks involved in rigging the home to prevent intruders was comical, but to those seniors who do live alone, it’s no laughing matter. Many who live by themselves find the uncertainty of each moment frightening. Fortunately, there are simple solutions to deal with such fear. And, that is the purpose of my column today.
My association with senior citizens these past 25 years has enlightened me in many areas, and now that I am one of those very senior, senior citizens, the reality of what I write about becomes personal. I remember a lady my wife and I took to church who had a flag system in front of her home to signal neighbors that all was well. However, the system failed when she fell at an inappropriate time and was not able to change the flag. Instead, she spent more than 25 hours in the bath tub until her neighbors figured out something was wrong. She was lucky that she had alert neighbors. I recall another case where a lady, age 80 some, had bent over to pick a weed, fell and injured herself. She had to crawl across a driveway and into the garage to signal her husband that she needed help.
These situations could have been prevented if either person had been wearing a neck or wrist alert system. There are many offered across the United States. I am familiar with a system called Medical Alert, out of Allentown, Pennsylvania. You may be wondering why I am writing about a company in Pennsylvania when we live in Florida. Well, Medical Alert and other similar systems use GPS (and we all know about our car GPS), so they can function almost anywhere in the United States. And, at the prices they will quote to you, they are one of the best medical insurance policies you can buy. Think of these systems as another 911. We all know about 911 calls, I hope. If not, look for a future column on 911. Most importantly, be prepared if you live alone.
With a little advance planning, you can worry less about falling and getting help. Spending about $300 a year on an alert system makes sense to me. The neck pieces and bracelets look pretty good and sure are accessible if you need them. I know my bones would not appreciate a long crawl or a night on the floor. We may do financial planning, estate planning, and insurance planning, but how about a little safety planning? Call John Heiman at Medical Alert and tell him Joe Steckler said to call him for information on Medical Alert. You can reach John at Medical Alert at 800-720-1520. You will be amazed at how you can help yourself and live with some peace of mind about staying safe.