According to the National Federation of the Blind, more than three million adults aged over 65 reported having a vision disability in 2016. Furthermore, the census data report from that same year expects that number to double by 2050. The main cause of seniors' blindness is macular degeneration (AMD). However, other age-related eye diseases attack older adults all over the U.S. — glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts.
While most people need help one way or another when they get to a certain age, vision-impaired seniors have a higher risk of becoming dependent on third parties to perform daily tasks at home or run errands around the community. Fortunately, medical alert systems can increase the senior’s period of aging in place while easing the worry of their family members. These services provide immediate assistance when needed, ensuring that the older adult is in good hands at all times. There are some features to bear in mind when getting a medical alert system for your vision-impaired loved one, though.
Two-Way Voice GPS Pendant
The very first feature you should look for is a GPS pendant with two-way voice capabilities. Although most companies offer a fixed central station where seniors can speak with care agents from afar, it's advisable to get a mobile pendant that the user can reach for wherever they are.
Accidents happen everywhere, and for a blind person it might be more challenging to reach the central unit to ask for help. With a two-way voice pendant, seniors can ask for help from anywhere within a cellular network.
Furthermore, having a GPS tracker is fundamental for blind seniors who are still active in their communities. If an accident happens outdoors, the pendant user might not be able to understand where they are, making it hard for them to explain their location to their caregivers. With a GPS tracker, both the medical alert system team and family members always know the user’s location. This way, if an accident happens outside the house, they can send help right away.
Built-In Fall Detector
Vision-impaired people are more prone to fall than anybody else. Although there's always a process to ensure they can get around their house, all it takes is a misplaced chair to trip a vision-impaired senior. Fall detectors connect to the company's care agents automatically when the user falls. Moreover, if there’s no response, help is sent right away – something that can save their life.
It's important that the fall detector is built into on the pendant, though. Some companies offer their fall detectors in a separate device from the mobile help button. But if everything is in one piece of equipment, the elder will just have to remember the location of one device, decreasing the probability of losing the pendant.
There are various reasons you’d want to get a water-resistant pendant for your blind senior. First, it will work when there's more likely to be a fall: while showering or walking in the rain. Second, the user can keep the equipment with them at all times, lowering the chance of it being lost. For example, a vision-impaired senior who takes out their mobile help button when they take a bath may not be able to find it when they're getting out of the tub.
24/7 Monitoring Services
Accidents do happen at all times, so to be fully protected it's a must to subscribe to a company that offers a 24/7 monitoring team to ensure the senior can ask for help at any time. Not only is it necessary to have an around-the-clock service, but it must also work 365 days a year. Accidents don't take time off, so a care agent is needed at the other end of the line continuously.
This one is a no-brainer: big or textured numbers, color schemes, or even a talking keypad are essential. The reason you're thinking about getting a medical alert system is because of your loved one’s poor eyesight, so ensure that you get equipment that they can easily use. Every second counts in an emergency, so the senior can't waste any time trying to find the button to call for help.
A power outage can happen when we least expect it. It's therefore crucial that the medical alert service equipment's battery remains alive until the power comes back on. With a battery that lasts for at least 24 hours, everyone's mind can be at ease knowing that the user can ask for help even if there's no electricity.
Best Medical Alert Systems of 2020
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