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Emergency help buttons are useful

The idea of aging in place means that older adults can live in their own homes and communities. However, you need the right tools. Help with aging in place can take many forms, from family caregivers, to nutrition services, to home care workers that can assist with daily chores and activities. One of the easiest ways to help individuals age in place is with a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) also known as a medical alert device.

Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) are electronic devices, which enable individuals to call for help in the event of an emergency. The system has a “help” button; that is waterproof and wireless, usually a pendant worn around the neck or bracelet on the wrist. When help is needed, the person pushes the help button. Within minutes, you are connected to a person that can assist you. That “push” on the help button sends an alarm signal that goes to the monitoring company then you can speak to an operator and describe what you need, and whom you want to be contacted to come and help you.

Many companies make and market PERS or medical alert systems. Do your homework! Not all of these are created equal. Some only connect you to 911, some charge installation and monthly fees, some make you buy the equipment outright, and some have contracts that cannot be broken easily. Be wary of telemarketers who call you offering a free emergency response device as these may be scams. Even ads in the paper can be misleading, when they tell you there are no monthly bills ever. Read the fine print and ask a trusted source before you buy this type of product so you do not end up wasting your money. If you need help in learning about the differences in companies that offer a PERS or medical alert devices- NY Connects is standing by to answer your questions. Call NY Connects at 716- 753-4582. NY Connects can tell you about a number of different companies and monitoring programs and the differences between them. There are many ways to pay for PERS services. Medicaid, some Medicare advantage plans, Veterans services or the OFA home care program have benefits that cover the cost- you must qualify for assistance in those programs first. Some people, who do not qualify or may not want to wait, can choose to pay privately for the PERS services. The Office for Aging Services has a private pay program called Chautauqua Monitoring. You can pay month to month-no contacts! You do not have to pay for the equipment! Just a low monthly rental/monitoring service rate.

We are happy to have Connect America as our help button provider. Connect America notes, “Now more than ever, it’s important for seniors and vulnerable populations to be connected to care that is not only efficient but affordable and enhances their preferred lifestyle, whether at home or elsewhere. Connect America’s PERS provides continuous monitoring and simple emergency response for those living independently. The simple push of a button instantly connects users with a response coordinator who assesses the situation and sends assistance. This timely response can make all the difference in an emergency. We are proud to be the nation’s largest provider of PERS. Our highly dependable systems and services keep individuals safe and independent, wherever life may take them.”

Having an emergency alarm help button can give you peace of mind and your friends and family! They know the button is with you and you can use it. It is waterproof and can go into the bathroom when you do! There are many types, some only work in your home and some have a GPS function that works anywhere you go. It is important to know what the device can do and how far it can go. You should also know what you need to do to maintain it-keep plugged in to the phone line, electric outlet or on a charger.

So if you have questions about personal emergency response systems, call NY Connects. This service is confidential and free. Call us on the phone or E-mail: ccnyc@chqgov.com NY Connects is brought to you by a partnership with Chautauqua County Office for the Aging and the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.

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