Is a personal emergency response system appropriate for a parent who travels?

3 answers | Last updated: Dec 06, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My dad is fragile, but he still gets out and about quite a bit, on daily excursions and even out of town. We're thinking about getting him a personal emergency response system (PERS). Will this help him when he's away from home?


Expert Answers

Karrie Scully-Johnston is a San Diego-based communication supervisor with American Medical Response (AMR), a national ambulance company, as well as the caregiver for her mom.

Unfortunately,PERS services are designed to work exclusively from home. When the PERS emergency button is pushed, the console automatically connects with the response center via the home telephone.

As yet, these devices don't work over wireless systems like cell phones. The advantage to this is that the service center instantly knows where the call is coming from -- your dad's address would pop up on the center's computer, as it would on a 911 system.

When your dad is out and about, there are a couple of alternatives to help him in an emergency. First, he should carry a cell phone, so he can call for help if he's able. (A cell phone won't pinpoint his location, however.)

Another helpful option is a MedicAlert bracelet personalized with a unique phone number. If your dad needs emergency assistance, the responders (paramedics, police, fire fighters) can call the number on his bracelet and immediately get detailed information about him, including his medical history, home address, and family contacts.

The nonprofit MedicAlert system works whether your father is at home or out of town. (It even works in many different countries.) However, it still depends on someone else to tell dispatchers where your dad is located if he can't do so himself. You can contact MedicAlert online or at 888-633-4298.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Check www.messagealertsystem.com I believe it will solve your problem.


Chipmonk answered...

This article is not up to date. I just purchased a system that is much like First Alert, except you can take it with you in the car. It operates via satallite. The name of the system is: MobileHelp Tel: 1-800-800-1710 If you decide to bring it in the car, you will need to purchase an adapter from Radio Shack. Good Luck