Gerontology practicum

I will not soon forget that Saturday morning, September 26th. I got a phone call from a friend of my mom's saying she had not been able to reach her. I went over to check up on her, and there she was...on the floor. She had not fallen, but her legs had simply given out on her and she had crumpled to the floor. She had no strength to get to the phone, and so she had slept there all night. Her fever was high, her strength was low, and we immediately got her to the hospital. I cannot imagine how frightened she must have been, wondering when we might stop by. We only live twenty steps apart, but Mom has made it very clear that hovering is not an option. She did, however, have some time to think as she was on the floor, and we have changed a few things at her house.

Step one was:

Response Link is an emergency response system that is either worn as a pendant around the neck or like a watch on the wrist. If the client falls or is unable to get the help that he/she needs, all they need to do is push the red button and the Response Link operator will answer and talk with the client. They can get information from the client and respond accordingly. If Mom had had a button to push when she collapsed in September, she could have asked them to call us and we would have come running. It is not an automatic call to 911. If so, I think my mom would hesitate to ever push the button. Instead, Response Link knows to call us, at home and on our cell phones, before calling 911.

I will never again chuckle at the "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" commercials (although the "Help, I'm talking and I can't shut up!" t-shirts still make me (and Mom) laugh.) I am thrilled to know that if Mom falls, if Mom is all alone and can't get the help she needs, she will push a button and someone will get her help. What a relief.

Step two was:

Part of the package we received from Response Link was a Vial of Life sticker and form. The sticker is on her door, alerting any 911 responders to the location of her medical information. Her form (blank shown below) is in a plastic bag on her refrigerator door. I am so glad to know that the information will be available whether I am there or not.

Is there anyone in your life who could benefit from Response Link? Don't wait. Go ahead and get it now. It would be nice to know someone could learn from our experience rather than having to experience it first hand. It is not something I would recommend to anyone, ever!


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