12 Nov 2019 The Case for Wearing a PERS Device
At 97 years old, my mother is a lioness, but even lions cannot escape the vagaries of father time. And so, it was on a cold late October night, my mother arose from her bed to do what many elderly people do in the middle of the night and on her way fell to the floor. My father, having removed his hearing aids and sound asleep about 30 feet away, could not hear her calls for help and so she lay for the next four hours. Upon waking, my father called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital where they installed a pacemaker and determined that there was only a hairline fracture in her hip which did not require surgery.
My mother was lucky. Statistics show that the death rate rises exponentially as the time between the fall and the arrival of medical help increases. At four hours, she was clearly in danger. It was for situations like this that the PERS (Personal Emergency Response) devices were developed. Whether a device with a simple button push, or a device like our soon to be announced NudgeR with automatic fall detection, these devices are proven to save lives. Devices with automatic fall detection have the advantage that they work even if the person wearing it is unconscious, disoriented, frightened or physically unable to reach and press the button.
Despite all this great technology, the one fatal flaw in all these devices is that in order for them to provide these life saving features, they must be worn 24/7. A PERS device does no good sitting on top of the dresser. Studies have shown that after about 3 months, many of these devices are relegated to the drawer containing old watches. Reasons are varied ranging from vanity to comfort to having to constantly recharge the batteries. For seniors in Assisted Living facilities, the stigma of wearing a PERS device is less (all seniors in those facilities wear one so no one feels out of place) plus the staff is constantly on the lookout to assure the devices are worn. However, for seniors living on their own, there is no such monitoring. In those cases, our NudgeR can help with its ability to notify the caregiver that it is not being worn and with the long-lasting removable rechargeable batteries NudgeR doesn’t have to wait four to six hours for the batteries to be fully charged and to be functional again. It takes less than 30 seconds to change out the batteries. As easy as this is, it is still incumbent upon the caregiver to make sure the senior is wearing the device. The vanity excuses of “I’m not old so I don’t need one” or “I haven’t fallen so why do I need this?” don’t fly because, as we all know, even a lion ages.