Are Medical Alert Systems Good for Seniors with Memory Impairment?

Everyone wants to maintain their independence. When you're young and have parents with mobility or memory problems, you want to do everything you can to put them in a residential facility and make sure they get around-the-clock care. When you reach the same age and have the same issues, you do everything you can to fight them and continue living in your own home.

The bad news is that if you suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia, there will come a time when you need to make a difficult decision. The same applies if your wife or husband suffers from Alzheimer's or dementia.

The good news is that medical alert systems can help you maintain some of your independence and protect you while you continue to live in your home.

How You Can Benefit from a Medical Alert System

For someone who suffers from Alzheimer's or dementia, or has a partner or parent who suffers from Alzheimer's or dementia, medical alert systems are critical and offer the following benefits:

Medication Reminders

The best home medical devices come with built-in medication reminders and appointment reminders to ensure you don’t miss those key moments. If you live alone and find that you keep forgetting to take your meds, these features are essential. What's more is that you don't necessarily need to pay more to have them installed, as they come standard on some of the best systems out there.

Wearable Help Buttons

If you or a loved one lives alone and suffers from mobility problems, in addition to memory issues, a wearable help button is essential. The button connects to a base unit or mobile system and can be pressed to call for help following a fall or health crisis.

Many consumers avoid these devices because they connect to call centers and they are worried about false alerts. It's a genuine concern for someone who suffers from severe memory loss and confusion, and if that concerns you, simply opt for a device that connects to pre-programmed numbers, instead.

Rather than dialing a call center, the button can connect the wearer to a loved one or neighbor who can then assess if emergency medical assistance is required.

GPS Tracking Services

Over 60% of Alzheimer's and dementia patients will wander off at least once, and many of them do so multiple times. It's a serious concern if your loved one suffers from Alzheimer's or dementia and while GPS tracking services won't prevent them from leaving, they will allow you to track them once they are gone.

Patients with Alzheimer's disease are at risk of harm when they are alone outside of the house, and this risk increases every minute they are outside. 

Location tracking devices not only provide some peace of mind when they are inside, but they will also ensure you find them quickly and safely when they are outside.

Medical Alert Sensors and Automatic Fall Detection

You can install medical alert sensors next to the bed or doorway, allowing you to track when your memory-impaired loved ones are getting out of bed during the night and when they are leaving the home. It's often a much better alternative to using bars and/or other restrictive and potentially dangerous contraptions.

Automatic fall detection is also useful for people with Alzheimer's disease, as it will detect when they fall and are unable to press the help button, either because they become confused or because they are knocked unconscious.

How to Choose a Medical Alert Device

Most medical alert companies offer units and features tailored to seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia, including Bay Alarm, Medical Guardian, and Philips Lifeline. Check the monthly cost, compare home units to cellular units, and make sure you're getting all the features that you need and none that you don't need.