If you’re still in search of unique Mother’s Day gifts, try thinking outside the box. Instead of the usual flowers, jewelry, or clothes, this year you should consider giving your aging mom something that can quite literally save her life, like Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS). Granted it might sound like an unusual gift for Mother’s Day, but here’s why you should give it some serious thought.
Why PERS Are Important
The one thing that makes PERS one of the most unique Mother’s Day gifts is their ability to help ensure the health and safety of your aging mom. The fact of the matter is our population, particularly the baby boomer generation, is getting older—at least 12% of the population is now over 60 years old, and by 2020, the percentage of people in this age bracket around the world is expected to increase twofold. As this generation gets older, they’re also living longer, which means that in addition to aging baby boomers, there’s also the older segment of the population who are 85 and older.
Despite getting older, many senior adults, possibly like your aging mom, want to continue living an independent lifestyle without relying on other people to help with day-to-day tasks. This concept of “aging in place” is becoming increasingly common, but it increases the chances of medical emergencies and accidents, since no one is there to help—PERS ensure that older adults are able to get help when they need it, even if there isn’t anybody physically there.
A lot of older children worry about aging parents who live on their own, but equipping parents with a personal emergency response system, such as medical alert systems for seniors with fall detection, can alleviate some of that stress and concern. It’s also an effective way to help provide long-distance care for your aging mom and dad.
What Exactly Are PERS?
You’re more likely to opt for these unique Mother’s Day gifts once you have a better understanding of what they are and how they work. Personal emergency response systems are devices that have a button that connects directly with an emergency response center. When the individual needs help, they can press this button and it sends a radio signal to a console connected to their phone, which then automatically dials out for help to pre-selected emergency phone numbers. (When selecting a personal emergency response system, look for one that can dial out even when the phone is in-use or off the hook and that has a two-way voice system.)
Many PERS, especially elderly medical alert systems, also come equipped with fall detection features. For instance, if your aging mom accidentally slips and is unable to get up or call for help, the device will pick it up and trigger its fall alert system.
The other thing that PERS do is help to minimize visits to the emergency room. When an elderly person has a health or medical emergency, elderly medical alert systems will immediately alert care providers, who will come straight to where the patient is. This cuts down on response time, thereby reducing the risk of complications that can lead to lengthy waiting times in ER, prolonged hospital stays, excess pain and discomfort, and even death.
PERS can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,500; however, some companies also offer rental and leasing options. There will also be a monthly monitoring fee, usually no more than $50 a month, which can be billed to you. Flowers might be a cheaper Mother’s Day gift, but when it comes to your aging mom’s health and safety, the investment in PERS is worth it in the long run.
More Benefits of PERS
A personal emergency response system does more than just provide fall detection or a fall alert system. Depending on the specific device, it can also help to monitor blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels, muscle function, heartbeat, and overall cardiac function, among other health factors.
Another interesting feature that a lot of PERS now have, particularly wearable elderly medical alert systems, is GPS tracking. This is especially useful for parents who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. GPS tracking enables you to monitor your aging mom’s movements throughout the day and will allow you to locate her should she be unreachable or “missing in action” for long, unplanned periods of time.
Other Types of Elderly Medical Alert Systems to Consider for Mother’s Day
These types of devices are constantly evolving, so finding the perfect one for Mother’s Day might take a bit of research. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most useful elderly medical alert systems and devices:
• Smartphones: This is the most useful (and most affordable) way to take advantage of PERS and elderly medical alert systems, because smartphones can easily be enabled with health monitoring apps, and most smartphones have some sort of GPS or location tracking. They’re also useful for connecting with your aging mom’s PERS, so that you can stay on top of what’s going on.
• Wearable wristbands and smartwatches: These types of wearable technology come with a long list of possible features, including GPS tracking, one-touch emergency calls and speed dial, fall detection, motion detection, heart rate monitoring, and medication reminders.
• Clothing: One company has developed “smart textiles” that can be worn on the body like ordinary clothing, but have built-in technology that can measure various physiological responses, like heart rate and cardiovascular activity.
• Shoe insoles: A couple of companies are building PERS into shoe insoles. Some of the features include tracking technology, measurement of motion, rehabilitation, and even the ability to set up safe zones for older patients who need to be monitored.
• Sensors: Unobtrusive monitors are installed discreetly around the home so that you can keep on loved ones who live alone. Some versions also provide medication reminders and other useful features to promote safe and healthy living.