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Q: Are home "life lines" worth the cost? ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Are home "life lines" worth the cost?
Category: Family and Home > Seniors
Asked by: mcvic-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 16 Dec 2005 19:22 PST
Expires: 15 Jan 2006 19:22 PST
Question ID: 606720
Are fee based "life lines" worth the money?  Is there additional value
to a life line over a conventional 911 service, which basically is
free?  I am wondering if this is a service my 80 year old mother
needs...or if 911 is enough.  Her health is okay, rather typical for
her age...
Subject: Re: Are home "life lines" worth the cost?
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 16 Dec 2005 20:20 PST
Rated:3 out of 5 stars

I'll speak from bitter experience. It really depends on mobility.
If your mother can walk, and doesn't have any conditions that are
likely to realistically impede her ability to reach a phone in 
time of crisis, she could be okay.

I worked (from his house) for an 87 year old man who ran a 
business from home. He was using a walker at that time, and
managed to get around, though slowly, on his own. Over the
course of a weekend when I wasn't working, he fell somehow,
and may have hit his head in the process (he never regained
the mental clarity to disclose what happened accurately).

He didn't have the upper-body strength to get to his feet
and use his walker. For some reason, he was unable to get
to the phone on the nightstand in his bedroom (I think
maybe the walker was in the way). He pulled himself into
the den where there was an alternate phone, but the guy
who was staying in his house (who was gone all weekend)
had, unbeknownst to him, unplugged that phone to plug in
his computer modem. He dragged himself to the kitchen
next, but was unable to reach the wallphone there, as it
was too high.

When I found him at the beginning of the next week, he
was butted up against his living room wall. When I asked
him about his orientation, he said he thought he was 
up against his front door, hoping to make noise if 
someone came to the door.

Needless to say, he was disoriented, dehydrated, and
weak. After about a week's recuperation in the hospital,
he returned home, but was never able to use the walker
again. He was also convinced that his answering machine
did not look familiar and didn't belong to him (probably
because he was viewing it from a different angle than
he'd ever seen before, from his wheelchair.

He remained wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life,
and his mental status continued to gradually deteriorate,
along with his physical strength.

Sadly, this could have been prevented, since a family
member had arranged to have a life line service installed
about a month earlier, but after about a week of tolerating
this unfamiliar and "bothersome" technology, he'd had the
system removed.

If there is any chance that your mother might at some
point be susceptible to a fall which would limit her
ability to reach a phone, due to a condition which 
makes this a possibility, or due to unsteadiness,
and if she keeps her door locked and does not have
visitors on a daily basis, a life line can be of great
value. One of the main benefits is the one-button
notifier which can be worn around the neck or on the

Obviously, it will only work if she's willing to learn
about the system, wear the notifier and use it.

Please do not rate this answer until you are satisfied that  
the answer cannot be improved upon by way of a dialog  
established through the "Request for Clarification" process. 

mcvic-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Are home "life lines" worth the cost?
From: steph53-ga on 16 Dec 2005 20:37 PST

Sorry to hear about this....

As my own father has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer, I,too, am
very concerned....he lives with his C/L wife , who has bone cancer,
and times are very tough, to say the least...

I sincerley hope the "honey man" is stll alive and "kicking"....

Subject: Re: Are home "life lines" worth the cost?
From: mikomoro-ga on 16 Dec 2005 22:18 PST
Sadly, your mother's health is likely to deteriorate with age and
older people who live alone are at risk of suffering incapacitating
accidents where they are unable to reach a telephone. You should hope
that a 'life line' remains redundant but it will give you peace of
mind if you can afford the cost.
Subject: Re: Are home "life lines" worth the cost?
From: owain-ga on 18 Dec 2005 13:43 PST
My local council provides an emergency care service for 1 (less than
USD 2) per week. They provide telephone support to the patient and
despatch an emergency care assistant, or call out a neighbour or
relative, as required. Such an organisation will provide care and
involvement with a patient which the emergency services will not; in
some cases they will make a reassurance call to the patient every day,
or the system will automatically call in an alert if the patient
remains stationery for more than a set duration.

Subject: Re: Are home "life lines" worth the cost?
From: amber00-ga on 07 Feb 2006 08:01 PST
You could also get your relative a cordless phone to carry about with
her. Then she could summon help from any room, or even the garden.
they usually have a range of about 200 feet.

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