Monitoring services

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by svengandhi, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    We recently moved my elderly aunt to an apartment near me. I have hired an aide to be with her 9 - 5 weekdays. We had someone at nights but my aunt hated her so I fired her and she is now alone at night and on weekends. H and I stop by once a week or so at night and on weekends, we go by twice a day and have dinner with her once. She can't live in my house because she has always lived alone and my dogs and cat scare her and my house is too messy and noisy for her.

    I am looking into medical alert systems for her. She is ambulatory with a walker, can toilet and feed herself (but not cook anymore). Her memory is pretty good but she gets confused occasionally. The doctor says she has mild Alzheimer's but I am taking her to a neuro to confirm or deny. Amazingly, she is now directly across the street from a locally renowned Alzheimer's day care facility which I am checking out this week. If she qualifies, we will get free transportation. I am not sure how much it will cost or if her insurance will cover it but she has sufficient resources to pay something.

    My question after all this is does anyone have any recommendations for a particular service? I am in downstate NY but most of the ads say that they are nationwide in monitoring. I am looking for a 24/7 service that will notify the local police, fire or ambulance if needed and contact H or myself (H works in town so I would list him first). The prices range from $18 to $35 per month. She should be provided with either a necklace or a wrist watch type device.
  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Not sure what you will find in that price range. I used to install these units, and my grandfather had one so I have seen how they work from a professional and a personal standpoint. This is the product I installed. Lifeline ® - the trusted medical alert service provider. I think they are great, and the best part with lifeline is that you do not have to sign a contract. check the link out, and feel free to pm me with any questions. I think they run about $50 a month, maybe more it does vary by area.
  3. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I know that many alarm companies also offer medical alert services. Try ADT - we've had good luck with them
  4. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I checked both of those services and was quite annoyed to find no prices on the internet. I won't do business with a company that demands that you call it to get a quote. I feel that's a way to do a hard sell and especially when older people call they can be frightened into doing something. H reminded me, though, that his mom has a service that she is happy with for about $29/month. H is going to call and see if he can negotiate a deal.

    Signorina - I don't think we need medication monitoring. During the week, my aunt calls me in the morning and I wait on the phone while she takes her thyroid medications. When the aide arrives, she gives her the rest of her morning medications. She also gives her her medications for the night before she leaves. On weekends, I go over and give her the medications twice a day.
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I phrased that badly- sorry. My ADT service has a fire alert "panic" button, a police alert "panic" button, and a medical emergency alert "panic" button.

    There are often coupons online or in the paper for ADT
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Usually the alarm company ones, are on the control panel. That doesn't help if you're alone, and have a medical problem and can't get to the control panel - stoke, heart attack, fall...

    The medical-alert buttons that you wear around your neck, are better. If the person is even semi-conscious, they can push the button and know that help is on the way. In some areas, you push the button and they will phone... if you answer, they will talk to you and figure out what you need and send targetted help. But... if you don't answer, or if they can't speak to YOU (someone else answers and won't give you the phone), they send EMS.

    And yes, any older person living alone - or anyone with health issues living alone - should have one, in my opinion.
  7. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I hate to keep reposting and I promise I don't work for ADT!

    ADT offers personal remote medical alert buttons in both pendant and wristband versions. Additionally, you can buy remote keypads to place on a nightstand or in the bathroom. I think monitored smoke detectors are very important for seniors as well- sometimes a pot is forgotten on the stove or a smoke detector alarm is slept thru due to hearing loss. Just in my humble opinion. We got the system for my mom after my dad died.

    I think they often install the system for $100 (?) and monitoring is $30ish p month. But there are always deals in the paper or coupon mailers
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sig - We're on the same page... I didn't say ADT's wasn't this way... it was a warning about "in general". A medical-alert button doesn't do much good if it isn't ON the person.

    Good idea on the monitored smoke, too - we have it and we're not "old" LOL... it means that if a fire were to start when we are OUT, the call goes in automatically... and if we're home and don't hear it, help is on its way. Either way, its a good thing to have.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If at all possible, be sure that carbon monoxide monitoring is included. My great aunt resisted moving out of her home and honestly, for her it was because she was overly frugal. Some may laugh at ME saying someone is overly frugal, but GA took it to dangerous lengths including putting paper towels over the burners on the stove so the pilot light warmth would dry them and she could re-use them. One the last visit my mother made (we live several hundred miles away so mom couldn't visit often) we discovered she was also doing this with her depends - AFTER she cut them into smaller pieces so they were not "wasteful". EEEUUUWW is one of the things we had to say about that.

    She was found to have high levels of carbon monoxide by a caregiver who stopped in shortly after that last trip. GA had bright red lips, was disoriented, had a headache and caregiver didn't know it was carbon monoxide but felt odd after being in the home a while. She called 911 and apparently they survived because CO is heavy and it sunk to the basement (Thank God!)

    Anyway, the more the dementia took over, the more bizarre "reuse" of items appeared and these set up many unsafe situations. GA did have monitoring put in after the CO scare and it was a huge relief for my mom and aunt. She fought them about it because the "wasteful" fees, but they are WELL worth the money.

    You should also look into meal programs for seniors. My aunt had meals delivered once a week - each one was prepared with heating instructions and was well balanced and varied so that it was healthy. The service worked with her doctor and was able to accommodate ANY dietary needs from low sodium to easy to chew to gluten-free, casein-free and even vegan. A doctor's orders for the type of diet was required and the service contacted the doctor every month by fax to verify that there were no changes. It might sound odd to think of the dietician contacting the dr each month, but things can change rapidly with elderly people and often dietary issues/needs can get lost in the shuffle during a dr appointment, esp if medications have to be discussed. This way the family/caregiver didn't have to get orders to change the diet from the dr and send them to the dietician. Taking that middleman out made changes easier and kept some of the elderly from "adjusting" things themselves and ending up creating real problems.

    I don't know if you have thought about assisted living centers, but they can be wonderful. Back in the 80s my Grandma was convinced to move into one in her area in FL. Gpa died a couple of years before and she wasn't caring for herself well. Her friends helped, and there were services to help, but she just was really isolated in her home. We are certain that the move to assisted living added years to her life and made those years happy, healthy, socially involved years. I have AWESOME memories of the times I went to visit her there. I had my own little studio apartment and it was a LOT of fun. She could have as much or as little involvement with others as she wanted, they had LOTS of activities and classes going on, they took all sorts of trips, etc... I will NEVER forget the night we went out for chinese food. Little old men and women can be quite bawdy, and we laughed so hard. Then at the checkout they had boxes of x-rated fortune cookies for sale. After we went back to the center, we were all talking in my Gma's sitting room (she had a separate bedroom and sitting room/kitchen at the time) and they made me go stand in the hall while they opened the x-rated fortune cookies!!! I stayed in the hall because it was cool to hear them laughing so hard. I really got to see people in that stage of life as people, not just as "old", which has let ME approach aging far more positively than most people I know.

    If assisted living isn't right for her, that is OK. Just be sure that there are lots of opportunities to be with other poeple. So often we think of how important it is for kids to have social experiences but we don't so much think of that at the other end of our lives. The alzheimer's day facility might be a great thing for her. If she doesn't need their services, it might be interesting to her to volunteer there. No matter what the problems, keeping your brain active will keep it working. Did you know that some alzheimers and seniors centers here strongly suggest using Nintendo Ds with BrainAge and other thinking/drawing type games? It helps keep the brain working and in some cases can work with other treatments to bring back some functions at least for a while. I stopped to drop some stuff off at a local nursing home and was surprised to see several of the residents playing on Nintendo DS systems. Just a thought.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Maybe you could ask the care facility that's across the street from her what types of services they recommend? Does your aunt bathe herself, or is she helped by the aid? I would be very nervous about her showering alone, but it sounds as though she is doing fairly well for now. It's good that you are helping to take care of her.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You also might see if there is an Elder Care office in Dept of Human Scvcs or something similar and if they ahve any suggestions.

    Will she use a cell phone? You can get ones designed for older people and on most of them you can set them to call 911 easily. I think there is a model with a help button that calls 911.. A few mos ago I did some research on this for my mom because she needed a new cell phone but the little buttons make her crazy.