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According to the website, learnNOTtofall.com, about one third of the elder population over the age of 65 falls each year, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age. At 80 years, over half of seniors fall annually.
As alarming as these numbers are, the documented statistics fall short of the actual number since many incidents go unreported by seniors and unrecognized by family members or caregivers.
Falls account for 25 percent of all hospital admissions and 40 percent of nursing home admissions. Of this group, 40 percent do not return to independent living and 25 percent die within a year.
The danger of falls to seniors is becoming so great that preventing falls has become a national priority.
It all sounds pretty scary, but there is a bright side related to this issue: Getting immediate help after an immobilizing fall improves the chance of survival by 80% and increases the likelihood of a return to independent living.
And that help is available, affordable and currently offered by Muenster Memorial Hospital Home Care.
MMH Home Care has partnered with Philips Lifeline, the number one medical alert system in the United States and through that partnership is able to offer the latest in personal emergency response at reduced rates to those who desire the service.
Diana Stockard, LVN, serves as coordinator for the Lifeline Program at MMH, and she has seen steady growth in the program since its inception.
“We currently have 20-plus subscribers,” Diana noted, “with plenty of room for growth.” Diana emphasized that you do not have to be a patient of MMH Home Care to subscribe to the service.
The Lifeline system is commonly referred to as the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” button. It works through a base unit connected through land line or wireless phone, along with a pendant that is worn by the subscriber as a necklace or on a wristband.
If the subscriber has a fall, or needs any type of emergency assistance, the button is pressed and an alarm is activated in the Lifeline center, where calls are made to responders - persons that the subscriber has designated to be called. It could be a family member, neighbor or friend, who will come to the subscriber’s aid, assess the situation and respond accordingly.
“It could be as simple as helping someone up from a minor fall or sitting with someone through a dizzy spell,” noted Diana. “Or it could be communicating with the Lifeline operator to send additional help, such as an ambulance.”
Regardless, getting help to the subscriber as quickly as possible is the number one goal.
More than three-quarters of all falls take place either inside or in close proximity to the home, where a medical alert system can be of immediate assistance.
“The best thing about Lifeline is that they have improved their technology and kept pace with the times in the 40-plus years since they were founded,” said Diana. “They now offer automatic fall detection technology that instantly calls for help if someone is down, and the latest innovation is GPS-based, allowing active adults to go where they want to go and still enjoy the benefit of personal emergency response.”
MMH Home Care, the only personal emergency response provider in Cooke and Montague counties with a local representative, will match you to the unit that is right for you, install, and maintain your Lifeline unit. Prices range from $25 per month and up, depending on the optionsyou choose.
Lifeline provides access to emergency assistance 24 hours a day/365 days a year and gives subscribers and their caregivers the best gift of all – peace of mind.
For more information on Lifeline, go to www.lifelinesystems.com or call MMH Home Care, (940) 759-2262.