Author Topic: R U There?  (Read 1757 times)

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oceanus

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R U There?
« on: February 09, 2013, 10:51:01 AM »
Do any of you have a relative, friend who lives alone and isn’t in touch with others daily?  Or maybe you are in that type situation yourself.

A friend was telling me that she worries about her aunt who, although not really isolated, isn’t in touch with people sometimes for days at a time.  The concern is that aunt could have a medical emergency and no one would know until too late.  (I know of a case where this happened with tragic results.)

Friend was telling me about something called “R U There?”, and there are similar services (I think one is called Telecare).  You sign up (usually a small monthly fee) and you get a phone call at a designated time every day (or evening) just checking to see if you are okay.  If you don’t answer after several tries, they call someone on your "in case of emergency” list (relative, neighbor) to check on you.  OTOH, if the subscriber is going to be out/busy at the designated check in time, they can call and check in beforehand.

Anyone ever heard of this, or know anyone who has such a service?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 11:01:14 AM »
I think it is a great idea, but I haven't seen the service.

We have a somewhat informal arrangement for my Dad.  My brother and I call regularly but he has fantastic next door neighbours who keep an eye on him.  The Mom used to be a SAHM and she would watch to see if she saw Dad's car go by during the day.  If she didn't, she'd take the dog for a walk and pop in.  The kids are teenagers now and the son helps my Dad out quite a bit.  It certainly puts our minds at ease to know they are there for him.
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Luci

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 11:06:08 AM »
I want to hear more about this!

Our 80 year old cousins lived in a retirement building - small apartments, meals in the dining room, nurses on call, housekeeping if needed. (Cost a fortune! Don't think we'll ever be able to afford that!)

They put up a flag every morning. Then someone would walk by every apartment to see if the signal was up. If not, help was called.

I would love that kind of service for me to live in my home, if I am alone, or Lucas is alone. I want to hear more about it. It sounds a lot like necklace-bracelet thing my dad had, only actually cheaper and more convenient.

I wouldn't mind doing that as a volunteer as long as I am able!

oceanus

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 11:19:00 AM »
The necklace/bracelet thing is only good if the person can reach the button.  In the case of heart attack, stroke, seizure, etc. they can't.

I'm going to do some research.  Quite awhile ago I saw an ad or something for a check-in service that cost in the range of $25/month.  (Friend says she will get it as a gift for her aunt if she can find such a service at a reasonable price.)  Also wondering is there is a trial period, contract, etc.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 11:21:20 AM by oceanus »

m2kbug

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 11:48:17 AM »
Seems a little bit "Big Brother" to me.  I think employing this type of service would rely entirely on the circumstances.  The introverted family member probably really doesn't need their every step and plan monitored.  I would not log onto a website or call some 1-800 service with my plans and I would be really annoyed if I had to answer the phone or log into a website every day just so I can go about living my daily life, and gawd forbid I went out of town for two days and now the sky is falling because I didn't pre-arrange this with 1-800-BIG-BROTHER.

On the other hand, if my personal circumstances put me in a position where I might not be able to get to a phone, or if my aging parents might not be able to get to a phone, an emergency alert type of program would be very useful, especially since I'm out of town from them and cannot drive by and check on them myself.  I think more useful is to wear a remote device to alert emergency services.  I have a house alarm with a remote control and a panic button I can use and keep this close to me at all times.  A medic alert device would useful as well if I needed it.  If the aunt is aging and could use such a service, I would pay for this, but I would not expect her to log into a website or call 1-800.

Are there no friends or family in the area to check up on her?


oceanus

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 11:51:56 AM »
Quote
Are there no friends or family in the area to check up on her?

Apparently not; thus the reason for concern.

Luci

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 12:01:07 PM »
Seems a little bit "Big Brother" to me.  I think employing this type of service would rely entirely on the circumstances.  The introverted family member probably really doesn't need their every step and plan monitored.  I would not log onto a website or call some 1-800 service with my plans and I would be really annoyed if I had to answer the phone or log into a website every day just so I can go about living my daily life, and gawd forbid I went out of town for two days and now the sky is falling because I didn't pre-arrange this with 1-800-BIG-BROTHER.

On the other hand, if my personal circumstances put me in a position where I might not be able to get to a phone, or if my aging parents might not be able to get to a phone, an emergency alert type of program would be very useful, especially since I'm out of town from them and cannot drive by and check on them myself.  I think more useful is to wear a remote device to alert emergency services.  I have a house alarm with a remote control and a panic button I can use and keep this close to me at all times.  A medic alert device would useful as well if I needed it.  If the aunt is aging and could use such a service, I would pay for this, but I would not expect her to log into a website or call 1-800.

Are there no friends or family in the area to check up on her?

Your second paragraph indicates that you understand the system and the need, but as pointed out by a previous poster, sometimes one can't reach the remote, even if it is on a necklace or bracelet. My dad couldn't if he didn't realize he was having a stroke (as I did and was willing to get help) and didn't press it before the paralysis set in, or if he was knocked unconscious. At least not answering a call a few hours later might save his life.

It's pretty scary in the senior years with multiple health problems.

RE: calling an 800 number to notify of travel: we do that 3 times a year to all three credit card companies when we travel. No biggie. A habit we can continue. Anyway, if our kids take us, they can do it for us!

Firecat

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2013, 12:24:53 PM »
Is the aunt in the US? If I recall correctly, postal carriers here in the US are trained to look for signs of people in distress (mail piling up when usually it's brought in promptly, etc.) and to engage help if needed. Not that your friend's aunt should rely on that, I just thought it was interesting.

I think the service you describes sounds like a really good idea for people who may be elderly, but who want to maintain their independence. It sounds like it would be worth bringing up to the aunt as something that will give her relatives peace of mind, but not be too intrusive.

m2kbug

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2013, 12:37:01 PM »

On the other hand, if my personal circumstances put me in a position where I might not be able to get to a phone, or if my aging parents might not be able to get to a phone, an emergency alert type of program would be very useful, especially since I'm out of town from them and cannot drive by and check on them myself.  I think more useful is to wear a remote device to alert emergency services.  I have a house alarm with a remote control and a panic button I can use and keep this close to me at all times.  A medic alert device would useful as well if I needed it.  If the aunt is aging and could use such a service, I would pay for this, but I would not expect her to log into a website or call 1-800.

Are there no friends or family in the area to check up on her?

Your second paragraph indicates that you understand the system and the need, but as pointed out by a previous poster, sometimes one can't reach the remote, even if it is on a necklace or bracelet. My dad couldn't if he didn't realize he was having a stroke (as I did and was willing to get help) and didn't press it before the paralysis set in, or if he was knocked unconscious. At least not answering a call a few hours later might save his life.

It's pretty scary in the senior years with multiple health problems.

RE: calling an 800 number to notify of travel: we do that 3 times a year to all three credit card companies when we travel. No biggie. A habit we can continue. Anyway, if our kids take us, they can do it for us!

I completely agree.  My grandparents lived in a retirement community with nursing on staff.  If they didn't answer the phone, a simple phone call to RetirementLand had someone knocking on the door or even "breaking in."  Not everyone has this luxury or service available, and my parents are not living in this type of community, so what do I do if they are at a point in life where we need a daily check-in, in person?  I realize a panic button isn't always the best resource.  What I read from the OP's post is that this aunt is largely introverted and functional but aging, so no contact could be detrimental, but is also very normal...what to do?  How to go about care for her?  If she is functional, this type of service is intrusive.  If she is aging and could use a "check in" type of program, I think this type of service could be very useful, but I would not expect her to log into a website or call 1-800 with every plan.

Jocelyn

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2013, 01:25:02 PM »
Seems a little bit "Big Brother" to me.  I think employing this type of service would rely entirely on the circumstances.  The introverted family member probably really doesn't need their every step and plan monitored.  I would not log onto a website or call some 1-800 service with my plans and I would be really annoyed if I had to answer the phone or log into a website every day just so I can go about living my daily life, and gawd forbid I went out of town for two days and now the sky is falling because I didn't pre-arrange this with 1-800-BIG-BROTHER.
My parents are in their 90s. We actually had to pull them out of an assisted living facility because mom became too afraid that the nurses would not come and help her if she called for them. Now my sister lives with them, and she's much better.
I remember how when I was in my 20s, the 'I've fallen and I can't get up' commercials were hilarious. I'm not elderly yet, but I can see it from here.  ::) A couple of weeks ago, I injured my foot, and I really thought twice about going to the basement to do laundry, because what if my foot gave out and I fell down the stairs? Unlocking the front door and taking my cell phone with me resolved that anxiety, but it does concern me about what might happen after I retire, and there's no co-workers to notice if I don't show up for work. A lot of us live in fairly anonymous neighborhoods where we don't know our neighbors schedules, or aren't there to notice if someone leaves for work or not.
Just saying that for elderly people, it may not feel like Big Brother to have a cheerful voice call every morning while you're working the crossword puzzle over coffee, and inquire how you're doing.  A lot of fearful situations- falls, home invasion, sickness- become less fearful if you know that help will arrive by 9:30 if you don't answer at 9. Yes, it would be great if family members would call- but if you don't live locally, what do you do if Aunt Emma doesn't answer? Will the cops take it seriously if you call them and tell them she doesn't answer her phone and you want a welfare check done- or will they take it more seriously if a professional service is calling, especially if it has workers that can be sent out, and they're calling from the house and saying they can't get a response? While Mom and Dad were living by themselves, we relied on Meals on Wheels to report if they got there and no one answered...but a driver in a hurry who assumed that they were just in the bathroom could bring that system to a halt. Mom and Dad loved their MoW drivers, and looked forward to seeing George on Thursday. :) They really liked to have a few minutes conversation with someone else during the day.

oceanus

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2013, 03:44:50 PM »
Is the aunt in the US? If I recall correctly, postal carriers here in the US are trained to look for signs of people in distress (mail piling up when usually it's brought in promptly, etc.) and to engage help if needed. Not that your friend's aunt should rely on that, I just thought it was interesting.

I think the service you describes sounds like a really good idea for people who may be elderly, but who want to maintain their independence. It sounds like it would be worth bringing up to the aunt as something that will give her relatives peace of mind, but not be too intrusive.

Yes, friend's aunt is in the US and I think in her late 50s.

Re:  bolded, not only for elderly, but for people who aren’t in touch with others on a regular (at least daily) basis.

I mentioned in my first post a case I heard about – it was a woman in her 40s, lived alone, no family in the same city but spoke to them weekly.  She took a few days off work, had arranged to meet with friends and when she didn’t show (which was unusual) and they couldn’t reach her they went to her apartment, no answer, called police, somehow obtained entry, and discovered she had fallen and hit her head getting out of the shower.  They called 911 but it was too late.

While most people are in touch with someone regularly, that’s not always the case.  In the case of a bad fall or some of the other examples (heart attack, stroke, etc.) – also certain home invasions - the person isn’t able to press a button on a necklace or bracelet.

So, it’s not just an issue with elderly people.


@Jocelyn - lots of very good points in your post.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 03:53:52 PM by oceanus »

MayHug

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2013, 04:27:08 PM »
Maybe something similar to the wake up call my job uses. It costs around $15-$20 a month. You can set up your own schedule. Some people we call every day /same time, others are variable.  Some callers prefer automation, some prefer to actually speak to someone.

If anyone wants more info, please feel free to pm me.

magicdomino

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2013, 05:52:03 PM »
A friend and I were talking about doing an informal version of this, since we are both single women living alone.  We would send an email each day.  If one didn't get the email, one would call.  If by the end of the day, there still wasn't any contact, the concerned person could drive over and check (we have keys to each other's homes).  It lasted only a couple of days before we both got busy and forgot, but it's an idea.

oogyda

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2013, 05:54:40 PM »
Is the aunt in the US? If I recall correctly, postal carriers here in the US are trained to look for signs of people in distress (mail piling up when usually it's brought in promptly, etc.) and to engage help if needed. Not that your friend's aunt should rely on that, I just thought it was interesting.

I think the service you describes sounds like a really good idea for people who may be elderly, but who want to maintain their independence. It sounds like it would be worth bringing up to the aunt as something that will give her relatives peace of mind, but not be too intrusive.

U.S. Postal carriers are only *required* to report anything if the mail has not been removed from the box for 30 days.  In our old neighborhood,  our carrier had put a sticker in our elderly neighbor's box that said "elderly. Lives alone". He would have reported something amiss, but they don't have to.
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Sharnita

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Re: R U There?
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2013, 06:03:13 PM »
I think letter carriers are especially on the look out when somebody is elderly but somebody might go on a trip or be in the hospital unexpectedly so for the first few days they might not see it as reason for alarm.

I think it can be tricky.  I live alone but am usually in contact with at least a couple people every day.  However, I had a family member (and know others who had the same experience) who lived alone and went a long time without contacting any family.  It was intentional - making sure there was no one person to answer to or check in with.  I think  there is a certain segment of society who like the idea of living like that.  It might seem lonely or frightening to us but for them is seems to offer freedom. The one drawback is that if there is an emergency (illness or injury) nobody realizes it.