November 28, 2017

            Maintaining an active and independent lifestyle is a goal for many older adults.  Unfortunately, declining health, decreased hearing and vision, balance disorders, and rist of falling all threaten to limit one’s level of independence.  In addition to health concerns, there are safety concerns, especially for those who live alone.

            Thankfully, devices exist today that provide people with a greater opportunity to maintain a level of independence even as their health and lifestyle change.

Medical Alarms

Personal emergency response services, such as Life Alert , Medical AlertLifeStation, etc., respond to any health or safety concern.  Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, subscribers simply press a waterproof button that they wear at all times.  These systems offer medical, as well as intrusion emergency response.  They also offer features for cell phones.  On a regular cell phone the number can be programed into contacts or, for a smart phone, an App can be downloaded to make a quick and easy call for assistance..  Many emergency alert systems even include GPS for quick location if you are away from home.

Alarm Clocks

Waking up on time for an appointment doesn’t seem like a big deal unless you know you are unable to hear the alarm.  We don’t recommend to our patients with hearing aids that they wear them to sleep due to an increased possibility of loss or damage to the instruments.  Alarm clocks are available that will vibrate a pillow or flash a strobe light.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors generate so much noise that even thoses with significant hearing loss are likely to hear them.  It is imperative that the smoke/carbon monoxide alarm is loud enough to awaken or alert the hearing impaired.  In addition to amplified alarms, there are also alarms that will flash a lamp, flash a strobe light, or vibrate a pillow.

Hearing Aids

Relying on others to interpret what your doctor said may be risky.  Good hearing is critical for maintaining an independent lifestyle.  For those living alone, good hearing is invaluable.  The excuse that you live alone, and there is nothing to hear would be true were it not for criminals who prey on the vulnerable.  You need to be able to hear if a window breaks or there is an unusual sound outside.

Declining health issues creep up on us gradually and we may not be aware of the extent of our limitations.  Assistive devices aid you in maintaining your independence longer.