Having a great medical alert system means you can get help quickly whenever you need it. However, as useful as medical monitoring services are, the less you have to use them, the better. Just as it's reassuring to know help is a button push away, it can give you just as much peace of mind to know you've done everything in your power to prepare for the worst to happen.
Nothing can prevent every potential problem, but that's no reason to take unnecessary risks and increase the chance of a trip to the hospital. Whether you're living at home alone or with a loved one who needs a medical alert device, you can take certain steps to lessen the risk of an emergency.
Reduce the risk of falling
We've discussed different strategies and tips on how to avoid a fall before. Thanks to Life Alert's commercials, many people associate medical alert systems with falls, and for good reason. Falls happen incredibly easily, and they often cause injuries that require emergency care. Many times when a senior falls, it means a one-way trip from home to the hospital, and then a move to an assisted living facility.
Reducing the risk of falls in your home can be as easy as keeping walkways free from clutter. It may also mean sending the pet cat or dog to live with another family member or keeping them in another room at night to prevent tripping over them in the dark.
Know the signs of common medical emergencies
Some of the most common medical emergencies for seniors are heart attacks and strokes. Most people know that chest pain is one sign of a heart attack, particularly pain in the left arm and side. What most people don't know is that the signs of a heart attack vary widely, particularly by gender. It's not unusual for a woman's only heart attack symptoms to be something seemingly innocent, such as numbness in the back or sudden fatigue.
Like heart attacks, strokes are a medical emergency that many people overlook. Symptoms like drooping on one side of the face, slurred speech, or moments of spacing out and forgetfulness might seem initially harmless. But the longer a stroke goes undetected, the more lasting damage it can cause. This damage might be permanent or severe enough to warrant a wheelchair, reducing your independence and increasing your risk for falls and other medical problems.
The faster you recognize a medical emergency, the sooner it can be treated. The sooner it gets treated, the less severe the damage will likely be.
Opt for fire and carbon monoxide detectors
Many medical monitoring services offer additional monitoring coverage for smoke and fire or carbon monoxide. Whether you add these features to medical monitoring or not, it's still a good preventative measure to have fire and CO detectors in your home.
Fires can start randomly and spread quickly, sometimes so fast that you or your family might not be able to get out in time. CO is typically odorless, and by the time you notice effects of CO poisoning, you might be too weak to make it to safety. Having detectors to alert you of problems before they get worse can decrease the damage to your property and yourself.
The fewer emergencies you have, the better. While not all emergencies will place you or your loved one out of the home or into dependence, all it takes is one bad accident to change everything. With the right mindset and precautions, you can potentially prevent that accident from happening.