PERS is the Ideal Safety Companion for Single Seniors

PERS is the Ideal Safety Companion for Single Seniors

Some seniors are quite social and can’t imagine spending hours on end alone. Others prefer solitude and long for quiet time. For some, a house so quiet you can hear a pin drop is an almost frightening thing, and for others, it’s incredibly comforting.

Whichever way you feel, studies show that many seniors aged 60 and older spend more than half of their waking hours alone. A survey by Pew Research Center found that all elderly adults spend about seven hours each day on their own, and for those who live by themselves, that number shot up to 10 hours each day.

Breaking Down the Alone Time

The time spent alone increases as we age. To break down the hours a bit more:

·        People in their 60s spent 6 hours and 32 minutes of time alone

·        Those in their 70s spent an average of 7 hours and 28 minutes alone

·        Those in their 80s and beyond spent 7 hours and 47 minutes on their own

Why does alone time increase as a person gets older? The survey found that it is probably linked to marriage and cohabitation. About 64% of those in their 60s lived with a spouse or partner. Over time, however, that situation can change, perhaps with the death of a spouse or a choice to divorce. About 59% of those in their 70s live with someone, but that number drops to 36% for those 80 or older.

Women are also more likely to live alone than men. This might be due to the fact that women have longer life expectancies than men, and thus are more likely to outlive a male companion. Of those over the age of 60 who are widowed or otherwise in a situation where they live in their homes entirely by themselves, more than a third of them spent every hour of the day alone.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t include sleeping hours – only waking hours. That means that in many cases, the elderly are entirely alone around the clock.

To put that in perspective, those in their 40s and 50s spent just shy of five hours alone, and those who were younger than 40 spent only a little more than three hours by themselves, on average. It’s clear that as we age, spending time alone becomes much more common.1

The Impact of Accidents on Those Who Live Alone

And considering the other things that happen as we age, such as bones growing brittle, our memory slipping a bit, and an increased incidence of falling, all that time alone could become a serious concern. Most accidental injuries occur at home, either inside the house or on the property outside of it. The most common source of injury for seniors is falls, which affect the elderly by a disproportionate amount.

Fall protection for the elderly is vitally important. A medical alert system with fall detection is an excellent way to get help immediately – and when you fall down, time really is of the essence.

The Advantages of a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)

Imagine that you are living alone. You spend all of your hours in your quiet home. Perhaps sometimes you have a visitor – maybe a neighbor comes over for a chat, or a family member stops in to check on you. Perhaps you get phone calls from those who want to stay close but can’t come by to see you. You probably find all sorts of ways to keep yourself busy, from tending to a garden to reading good books to engaging in a wide variety of hobbies.

Though many of us love the idea of this kind of life, there are some pitfalls that can be tough to think about. Living alone means that if there is an accident or some sort of medical emergency, your life may be at greater risk than it would be if someone was there in the home with you. That’s a very good reason to consider a PERS, or medical alert system. These alarms for seniors come in pendant/necklace or wristband/bracelet styles and are very affordable yet provide 24/7 emergency monitoring service.

Consider these scenarios:

If you were to suffer chest pains that hit suddenly and felt debilitating, how easy would it be for you to get to the phone and dial for emergency services?

If you struggle with diabetes, you might face the prospect of hypoglycemia. This is when your blood sugar drops too low. Hypoglycemia can make you feel quite weak and disoriented, to a point where you might not be able to function properly. You know you need sugar to bring up your blood glucose levels, but you might not be able to get to the kitchen.

If you were to fall while you are home alone and suffer an injury, such as a broken hip or shoulder, getting up from the floor to reach the phone could be impossible. If you are living alone, waiting for help to arrive can make an already bad situation much worse. And the longer you are on the floor, the more likely you are to suffer the negative health consequences of what medical professionals call “the long lie.”

What is the Long Lie?

The general medical definition of a “long lie” is being on the floor for an hour or more after suffering a fall. And though falls are strongly associated with mobility issues and mortality, the dangers of a long lie take your potential complications to the next level. Those who lie on the floor for extended periods of time might experience dehydration, hypothermia, carpet burns, muscle and tissue damage, and pressure injuries (similar to bedsores). Pneumonia is a potential long-term concern. And those who fall down and remain on the floor for long periods of time can understandably develop a significant fear of falling.2

But the most dangerous aspect of the long lie is the delay in medical treatment. If you have an injury from the fall, the delay in getting help means you might suffer in pain for much longer. That’s bad enough if it’s a broken bone, but if you have a head injury, the situation might be even more critical. Quick treatment often means a better health outcome.

Having a personal emergency response system with fall detection can help alleviate the fear of the long lie. Fall detection alarms for seniors have built in sensors to detect falls and send automatic alerts to a monitoring center that a fall has occurred, so you don’t even have to press the button alarm for help.

The Dangers of Social Isolation

Though the concerns about accidents and emergencies while living alone can’t be understated, there are other points that make all that alone time a potential problem. Social isolation has been linked to difficulties with health outcomes. Those who live alone might not have someone to remind them to take their medications on time, to prompt them to stay active, to ensure they eat well, or to simply give them the conversation and companionship they need to stimulate their mind. Depression is also a potential problem if social isolation leads to feelings of loneliness, especially if a person has a chronic condition.3

But one of the biggest issues is the danger of being unable to reach out for help in the event of a serious medical emergency. You might be thinking: Wait.  I have a cell phone! While a mobile phone is absolutely essential for most of us these days, it doesn’t compare to an senior alert necklace or bracelet that can be worn around your neck or wrist and is on your body at all times. And cell phones can’t be taken into the shower with you like a panic button alarm can.

If you are one of the many elderly individuals living alone, now is the time to explore your options for an Alert1 Medical Alert System. A fall prevention button can be your constant companion when no one else is around, and thus give you peace of mind. With a medical alert wireless option, you never have to worry about who might be able to come help you in the event of emergency – a friendly safety professional is on stand by, around the clock, ready for any moment when you may need assistance. That’s invaluable peace of mind for any senior spending many hours each day alone.