Just In Case: Support for Aging in Place

Johnny and Sarah chose to age in place in the same town as their daughter.  The active couple enjoys spending time together at home but also have their own hobbies in the community.  After Johnny fell one day while Sarah was out, they began looking for “just in case” support. The simple solution for Johnny and Sarah was a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS).  This technology typically includes a base unit and a pendant.  With a push of the button, a call center responds and/or 9-1-1 is dispatched.

When considering purchasing a PERS, here are some questions you may want to ask:

  1. What kind of technology do I need?  With today’s products, there are landline, cellular, and digital options available.
  2. Who answers the call?  Is it a call center representative or is there an automated connection to 9-1-1 or another emergency response provider?
  3. Do I get to select who will respond once I request help? Some call centers will not automatically dispatch 9-1-1.  They will allow you to create a phone tree so that neighbors or family can be contacted.
  4. What are the costs involved?  Be sure to ask about any monitoring, programming, and activation fees.  Sometimes, a product that seems affordable has the cost offset by higher fees.
  5. Is there battery backup in case of power outage?  Typically, most PERS will have this option, but rates of backup time vary.
  6. What kind of customer service do they offer?  Does the company have representatives who are trained to address any issues or will you utilize an automated service system?    Consider which works best for you.

Clearly, many options are available on the market today for personal emergency response.  Taking the time to ask a few questions will help you find a system that is just right for your needs and offer you peace of mind.