Brenda Lyle – Hometown News
Q: I live alone. What happens if I fall?
A: Every year, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey indicates 90% of seniors want to “age in place” — at home. The desire is at odds with another statistic, however: falls in the home are a leading cause of injury and death to people over the age of 65. So can seniors safely age in place? Technology, human caregivers, or a combination of both may provide the answer.
I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up
One familiar type of technology is the Personal Emergency Response System or “PERS”. These home medical alert systems were developed in Germany in the early 1970s. American versions of these devices have undergone numerous changes and continued to modernize. Today, you can wear your PERS as a pendant, a watch, or as a sensor-based system in your home. Numerous companies offer PERS, most with a base station compatible with the alert device of your choice. Users can contact an attendant with the push of a button on their device. Some systems can even automatically detect a fall!
There’s an App For That
Still in the research phase, telephone applications or “apps” are being developed for fall prevention. One such app provides personal feedback when balance is unstable, while another provides motivational support to perform exercises proven to aid fall reduction.
For many seniors, relying on a real human being is preferable to even the best technology. Depending on the need, a private duty caregiver or a Certified Care Manager can be hired from four to 24 hours a day. They can assess a senior’s safety inside the home and create care plans for their well-being. Care Managers are also available in case of emergency and keep family members informed.
While no method is foolproof, fall prevention and access to help can help seniors age in place more confidently. For information about PERS, in-home caregivers or care management, contact One Senior Place.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.