For adults with senior parents, the time eventually comes when you need to discuss important topics for their future and help make decisions about ongoing health, finances, living arrangements and personal safety.
As we age, our risk of experiencing frequent falls and medical emergencies also increases – which makes it even more important to have the conversation about getting an emergency alarm system with your senior mum or dad when they want to keep living in their own home for as long as possible.
Discussing the risk of falls, medical emergencies and the need for an emergency alarm system can sometimes be a sensitive subject, so we’ve outlined some points below which may help with your conversation:
- A personal alarm system doesn’t take away independence (which can sometimes be the assumption). In fact, it can give seniors the confidence and newfound freedom to do what they love by not worrying about how to signal for help
- A good way to think about a personal alarm is as an insurance on independence
- Nearly 1 in 3 older Australians have experienced a fall in the past 12 months. Of these, 1 in 5 required hospitalisation.
- If you have a condition like a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or dementia, this increases your falls risk even more so
- Falls can happen to anyone at any location but falls requiring hospitalisation are more common in older people and most likely to occur in the home
- Many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling which may cause a person to reduce their everyday physical activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker and this increases their chances of falling
When your senior parent can’t get up by themselves, they could be lying on the floor for hours without anyone knowing. And that’s a situation we want to prevent as much as possible.
If they can signal for help quickly via a personal alarm, this can reduce the impact of injury and possible time it takes for recovery and rehabilitation. It can also lessen the impact on their confidence and independence.
Top tips for communicating with your senior parents
MePACS has provided a reliable 24/7 monitored personal alarm service to Australian seniors for over 30 years that is responded to by trained professionals at any time of the day or night. When we receive a signal for help from our emergency alert systems, we stay on the line until we know help has arrived.
Making important decisions with your senior parents may be a difficult conversation, so we have some tips for helping them make the right choices for their independent future:
1. Talk as a family
Involve your siblings or extended family in the conversation, so that everyone is on the same page.
2. Ask open questions and reply thoughtfully
Asking if your senior parents have any concerns themselves before stating your own opinion ensures their goals are prioritised.
3. Avoid confrontation
Mention that the discussion needs to be had a few times before sitting down together with purpose.
4. Ask for expert help
When it comes to health or financial decisions, speaking to a professional is often the best way to start.
5. Be mindful of when to take a step back
Sometimes these conversations can escalate to an argument and cause extra stress for your loved one - be aware of when the discussion needs to stop for the time being.
Above all, your senior parents deserve freedom of choice – if you research your options beforehand, then it can be more efficient to come to an agreement rather than delay conversation until you have all the right information.
What is the best personal emergency alarm system for your senior parents?
It’s not necessarily about what the best emergency alarm system is on the market, but what is the most ideal for your senior parents’ lifestyle.
MePACS offer a monitored personal alarm service which is responded to by trained professionals 24/7. We hold our clients’ medical details on file so in the event of a fall or medical emergency, we will call a family member or Triple Zero depending on the incident. Because we triage the situation, we can relay this information to Triple Zero who can prioritise the call.
There are auto dialler alarms available too which send a text to pre-programmed numbers of family or friends, but this does rely on them being available the exact moment you need help. With MePACS, you are guaranteed to receive a fast response, so a monitored service is safer for your loved one.
A personal alarm system isn’t just for the frail and elderly anymore – it’s for your 60-year-old mum recovering after a major surgery, and your 75-year-old dad who likes to go for walks on his own but can be prone to falls. It’s for your mother-in-law who has bad asthma attacks at night and your step-dad who has a pacemaker and a heart condition.
If your senior mum or dad feel vulnerable and prefer to stay at home, then a MePACS Home Alarm is a convenient and lightweight choice of emergency alarm system. Worn around the neck or on the wrist, the small alarm pendant is waterproof and can even work out in your backyard (within 70 metres of speaker unit).
If your senior parents prefer an active lifestyle and are usually keeping active in their local community, then a MePACS Mobile Alarm can be their ultimate emergency alarm system for out and about. With GPS technology, automatic falls detection and two-way communication, they can feel safer and more confident to go out without having to worry about calling for help in a medical emergency.
MePACS also has a new personal alarm watch coming soon – register your interest today and we can let you know as soon as it’s available!
For more information, click any of the buttons above or call 1800 685 329
Be aware of falls risks for your senior parents in the home
Associate Professor Michele Callisaya, a researcher and physiotherapist at Peninsula Health, has worked with many patients who have suffered a fall in her career.
Physiotherapists work closely with occupational therapists and geriatricians to understand the complexity of factors that can cause falls for older adults and how to reduce them with appropriate treatment, safety measures and care in the home.
“It’s important to combine exercises with a professional assessment of the person’s home and how we can reduce environmental risk factors.”
Many older adults are still in the house they raised their families in, but sometimes they don’t have the right safety measures to help them live there safely and for as long as they can.
“Uneven and slippery surfaces are common risks around the kitchen and bathroom that are a major issue, as are loose rugs where catching your foot can lead to a fall,” says Callisaya.
“But home hazards can be reduced with the advice of an occupational therapist. They may recommend a rail to hold onto down the stairs or in the shower, securing mats to the floor so they don’t move, and installing brighter lighting down a hallway so you can see better at night.”
While Michele is a specialist in physiotherapy treatment for older people, she advises that balance can start to decline in our 40s and 50s. Starting balance exercises early can pave the way for a safer and more active lifestyle in the future. You can make an appointment directly with a physiotherapist or your doctor can refer you.
Emergency alert system reviews
Knowing more about emergency alarm systems and the features that are most suitable for your senior parents can help you both make the right decision.
MePACS has a TrustPilot rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 and almost 450 online reviews. We also have plenty of positive feedback from the carers of our clients, such as those below.