Although few of us want to move out of our beloved home, the risk of accidents when you live alone and suffer from a health condition makes this seem like the only solution to be safe. 

Luckily, there’s an affordable middle ground. Injured seniors can be ensured of prompt treatment if they have a medical alert system in place within their home, a device that aims “to keep someone as independent and vibrant as they can possibly be,” says Caroline Tapp-McDougall, Chair of Canada Cares. Studies have shown that there’s a 90 percent chance you can remain independent if you receive medical assistance within one hour following an emergency.

How medical alerts work​

Medical alert systems are easy to set up. Most have a base unit you plug in to an electrical outlet and a help button (pendant) that you wear. If you’re at risk, simply push the button and speak to a trained emergency medical personnel through a two-way voice communication. Some systems offer pendants that are water resistant, while others can monitor individuals when they are on vacation or are away from their home.   

Wide-ranging impact of falls

Medical alert systems can be a lifesaver when it comes to falls, which account for more than half of all injuries among older Canadians and a whopping 85 percent of injury-related hospitalizations. The complications resulting from a fall can be serious for seniors, points out Tapp-McDougall. A fall often “affects their social life, their ability to move, their ability to be mobile, and their ability to be independent.” 

“The more information and the more aware we are of people’s situation the better it is,” says Tapp-McDougall. “If you don’t know what’s happening you often don’t know how to treat properly.” 

 As well, a medical alert system can “empower a spouse” to care for a partner with dementia at home, says Dr. Atul Sunny Luthra, a geriatric psychiatrist specializing in dementia. Spouses who need extra support when dealing with their partner can use a medical alert system to contact emergency personnel, who have detailed medical information they can pass on. 

“The more information and the more aware we are of people’s situation the better it is,” says Tapp-McDougall. “If you don’t know what’s happening you often don’t know how to treat properly.” 

Medical alert systems are essential life-saving tools for aging individuals and those with medical concerns. Having this kind of direct access to trained medical professionals when an accident occurs allows you to feel safe as you grow old in your home.