Elderly Help


 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
So my sister and I have a dilemma. Our 95 yo dad is still in his own home. The last 2 or 3 years have seen him deteriorate pretty badly re to physical ability. He has a caretaker part time 3 days a week, and we don't want to take him out of his home. We know doing so would result in him just giving up and then planning a funeral within weeks. So we are in process of looking for additional in home help together with his current caretaker so she can help us make a solid decision and someone she can work with and fully coordinate with.
My sister also wants him to have a device with a push button he wears. I believe they connect to either a central call center or the 911 center. There is now a huge number of companies offering such things.
So putting the "ask" out there. Has anyone recently looked into service devices like this? Were you able to make a decision as to what if anything to buy? We really need to do something fast
 

ChuckO

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Don't have any advice, just wishing you the best. Lost my parents 7 years ago next month for my mom, 5 years ago in May for my dad. Lost my sisters to cancer before that, and my brother to Viet Nam. End of life is not an easy time
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Sorry Larry, both of my parents are gone too. My Mom lived with my sister and her husband for her last twelve years. I would go over to Pittsburgh as often as I could, it was never enough. Mom would put in orders for what she wanted me to make, lamb was the most requested!
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Wish I could give some advice Larry. I never had that situation come up. My Mon died of a massive stroke at the age of 39, I was 12 at the time. My Dad died suddenly from a heart attack when I was in my early 30's.
Hopefully someone can give you some ideas from experience. Wishing you the best of luck finding what you need to help your dad.
 

MarkB

New member
Hello Larry -

I was in a similar situation and ended up going with a basic landline model from Bay Alarm Medical with one necklace. My mother did need to use it once at 5am after a fall and it worked as advertised. They also let you test it for peace of mind.

When I did research it seems they all use the same call center model and heck some might even use the same call center. That is what led me to believe that paying more for the same service doesn't make it better.

I can imagine what you and your family are going through and wish you all the best.
 
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Brian_D

TVWBB Pro
Try looking into local outreach centers/social workers. I contacted a local senior center about getting food delivered to my parents during the height of the pandemic. They did phone interviews/assessments with both of my parents, set up a food delivery & got a life-alert setup for my mom. She had a watch that she could push a button in case of an emergency & talk to emergency services with.
 

timothy

TVWBB Olympian
Try looking into local outreach centers/social workers. I contacted a local senior center about getting food delivered to my parents during the height of the pandemic. They did phone interviews/assessments with both of my parents, set up a food delivery & got a life-alert setup for my mom. She had a watch that she could push a button in case of an emergency & talk to emergency services with.
This^^ is what we had for my Mom.
Even in our state :rolleyes: cost was next to nothing.
 

Brian_D

TVWBB Pro
So my sister and I have a dilemma. Our 95 yo dad is still in his own home. The last 2 or 3 years have seen him deteriorate pretty badly re to physical ability. He has a caretaker part time 3 days a week, and we don't want to take him out of his home. We know doing so would result in him just giving up and then planning a funeral within weeks. So we are in process of looking for additional in home help together with his current caretaker so she can help us make a solid decision and someone she can work with and fully coordinate with.
My sister also wants him to have a device with a push button he wears. I believe they connect to either a central call center or the 911 center. There is now a huge number of companies offering such things.
So putting the "ask" out there. Has anyone recently looked into service devices like this? Were you able to make a decision as to what if anything to buy? We really need to do something fast
If I may ask, how were you able to get a caretaker to come to your dad's home? Everything that I've found is insanely expensive!
My mom /needed used the life alert several times within the last year. The last day she was home, she fell down in the morning, used her life-alert, paramedics took her to the hospital. Hospital said she was fine & sent her home. She fell again that afternoon, this time cracking her knee. Had to use life-alert again. She had to stay off her feet for 2 months & has since lost all ability to walk. Her insurance gave me just days to find a home for her. My dad checked out mentally through the whole process & my sister went awol. She wouldn't even get her immunization so she could go see our mom, for several months. So the entire burden & guilt of having to put mom in a home is all mine. Despite the guilt, I don't have to worry about her - she's safe.
Meanwhile, my dad who is 83 is home alone, refuses to wear the life alert (refused getting a hearing aid in the past - it's got to be a pride thing) & is in cognitive decline. Their house is on an acre of property that he can no longer take care of. He is belligerent with his neighbors & I'm afraid of what they'll do if he keeps it up. I've tried broaching the subject of selling the house - get something smaller or an apartment & use the $$ for home care, that way they can still be together. He absolutely refuses.
My sister finally comes out of the wood work (for the holidays) - with a fake covid card no less, visits my mom in the old folks home & is blowing sweet nothings in both our parents ears. "You don't need to be in here. I can take care of you". Reality is, my sister can't take care of herself, getting out of bed after noon most days, hasn't had a job in years. Not to mention that she lives over an hour away - at best.
This whole situation has divided our family in a terrible way.
I'm glad you and your sister are in agreement.
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
We have used the Bay Alarm Medical "Medical Alert System with GPS" for $30/mo. We used the optional "fall" feature that auto-calls for help when it senses a fall.

 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Damn, Brian that is a whole peck of trouble. Re the caretaker. Back while my mother was still alive my dad was doing fine and until she was about 85 or so she could handle things. But, she was diagnosed with Louis Body Dementia (some may recall my rant on using aluminum during cooking/storage due to the neurologist pointing out metal deposits in her brain). Dad was still doing OK helping her but as she got worse he could not. My late sister had a client who's mother had passed away. and had this woman. She was looking for work and we felt she was a great fit. She's actually been almost like a family member for the last 10+ years now. But she is also committed to another client as well for 3 days a week. So since my mother passed, dad's retained her beginning with 2 days a week and now she's at 3. But he is getting to where he needs round the clock care. My remaining sister and I are trying to take the bull by the horns. My brother has had a hard on for our dad for years and we don't quite know why. But another story. We have installed WYZE cams in 4 locations for him. 3 in the house, one in the garage. Because he recently took a tumble and could not get up. So we peek in on him occasionally. They're not in any place that would compromise his "dignity". Only in his TV room, the kitchen and main hallway.
This recent bladder cancer surgery has really taken a toll on him. Sadly I place the blame on our awful health care profit driven health care system here. We firmly believe had they held him for a couple days rather than kicking his butt out he would have fared much better.
Our brother is all against anything we can do to make him as safe and comfortable in his own house. Insisting his house go on the market immediately and he gets thrown into a care facility. We know he'd be DOA in 2 weeks if this happened. So it's in our boat. Anyway I got a lot on my plate along with my sister to do what we can
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
We have used the Bay Alarm Medical "Medical Alert System with GPS" for $30/mo. We used the optional "fall" feature that auto-calls for help when it senses a fall.

Thank you Chris. Just sent the info to my sister. Definitely good to have recommendations from folks I know
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
For several years my mother had a system from Alert One. It's a pure rental system. You don't have to buy any equipment. With the "I've fallen and I can't get up" one you see advertised on TV you had to buy the equipment and then pay a monthly service fee. The Alert One system hooked up through the regular phone line. My brother paid for it so I'm not sure on the price, but I think it was about $30/month. Mom then somehow got a system through her Medicare Advantage plan that was from Philips. This system was nice in that it used the cell phone system and had battery backup so it would still work when the phone was down and the power was out. Unfortunately, that benefit came to an end and she had to return the system. She now has one from a different company. It's basically the same as the Alert One system.

I would caution on all these systems that, while they do work, it's not quite like on the TV ads that give the impression of pushing the button and someone instantly coming on the line. With the current system it seems to take about a minute and a half after pushing the button before someone comes on the line. For some reason it takes the unit quite a while to decide it wants to actually make the call. Then you hear it dialing, then more waiting while the call is connecting. I will say the people who answer are obviously trained to deal with older people who may be confused. They are incredibly patient and kind.

Accidental activation can be an issue. My mother has accidentally pushed the button she wears around her neck a number of times. Her hearing isn't so good so if she's in another room she might not hear them come on the line. We've had one accidental activation where the fire department showed up. So far we haven't been charged for that. Alert One had a call list they would attempt to contact before calling the fire department. That can help with false alarms. We had one of her neighbors on the call list so he could try to check on her.

Of the three systems we've had, the Philips one was the nicest, but it was also the most expensive by a wide margin. I think it was almost $50/month with the system they'd sent us. They had other options but they were all more expensive than Alert One and the one she has now. (Sorry, don't recall the name.)
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Yeah the hearing thing is going to be an issue. Dad is profoundly deaf even with hearing aids. There is something wrong with his aids (he either won't say what or doesn't know), they're out of warranty as well. So he's not having them repaired. They "work" so that if you talk loudly enough at him he "understands". But for example with his phone he uses it on speaker setting and has the volume up to hemorrhage levels and yet still holds it to his ear! Even though I am quite hard of hearing when he carries on a phone convo I can hear his phone all the way out his driveway near the street. So I worry how on earth he's going to hear the little speaker in a pendant or wrist band type device. He is a challenge LOL. Sadly he's still got his marbles but you would not know it because if you try to converse in anything approaching normal tones he answers completely wrong, or looks at you like you have 3 heads. But if you shout loud enough at him he's fine. Though I know his neighbors hear every bit of his conversations even through closed windows!
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Chris after much research. Many web sites and many phone calls just hung up with my sister. We're going for the Bay Alarm system you recommended. Seems to be very highly rated, people seem responsive (though the CSR I spoke to earlier seemed a little "laid back"). We're also going to get a security key safe on the house. From this company https://www.knoxbox.com/ and as a side note cannot say enough good things about the local (Arlington Heights IL Fire Dept and their Lt. Alecson. Explained everything so well and due to lead time from the company even offered to install a loaner tomorrow while we wait for our order to get made and shipped.
So it's been a really full day. So now in a bit I am going to make a batch of pasta with Argentine wild caught shrimp, garlic some Chili de Arbol and broccoli for dinner tonight. Old Italian peasant food learned from our mom. Plus it cooks fast with easy to get things and is fairly cheap to make. :D
Anyway to all appreciate the help. Sister and I are at least on the way to making dad more secure, safer and hopefully feel a little better.
 

DanHoo

TVWBB Diamond Member
@LMichaels sounds like a good choice.

Late to reply. my Mom has ADT Medical Alert Plus. It uses cellular to connect vs the (poor and unreliable) home phone.


Sounds similar to the one you went with.

I suggest after you get it, inquire about things the service can / will do for your Dad, besides an E911 call.

We are learning about things that are not directly advertised, but the local call center has contacts to help with.

Someone suggested asking around at the local outreach centers for some "insider tips".
 
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C Lewis

TVWBB Pro
Larry, I have nothing to add regarding devices, but would like to offer an applause, a salute, a bow, a hug, and a handshake to your Dad and your family. 95 years is a true celebration, and I wish you all of the good fortune available for his care, and will keep him, you, and yours in my prayers.

Charlie
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Larry, I have nothing to add regarding devices, but would like to offer an applause, a salute, a bow, a hug, and a handshake to your Dad and your family. 95 years is a true celebration, and I wish you all of the good fortune available for his care, and will keep him, you, and yours in my prayers.

Charlie
Thanks Charlie. Just saw him yesterday afternoon. Had to bring him a big box of Tide laundry powder from Costco. (BTW has anyone noticed how much that stuff smells like rotten apples?) I had that box in my closed car in the garage (which I keep the window cracked on BTW) and I walked out to my garage yesterday and thinking WTH smells like rotting apples? Looked all over the garage, then opened the car door. BAM like a freight train accident. Rotting apples. Took me a while to figure out it was the Tide in the back.
Anyway I digress. I also asked him what he'd like for supper. "Ribs" was the answer. So boom! Ribs it was. Stopped at Thuringer on way there. Results were great as always.
We had a nice visit. But, his piss and vinegar is a little lacking. That damn botched bladder surgery has him wearing a catheter and bag. That is just bugging the daylights out of him. Don't blame him. But, like my sister said good food and family is his medicine. And I believe she's right. Sadly when I bought this house close to 30 years ago, I never dreamed we would be finding ourselves in this situation. He was always the one coming out here and taking care of my little girls when I had showings and or closings during the day. Now it's the other way around only now I am older than he was then. That 120 mile round trip for me (especially in winter) getting harder. I don't like being on 90. Too many people doing way too many crazy things. I don't mine the speed but they drive like there is a death wish. I mean I cruise along with most of them maintaining 80 to 85 but come on people at least stay in one lane!
I digress. Thanks to all for the help and well wishes for him. He was always there for me so I try to do the same.
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
Thanks Charlie. Just saw him yesterday afternoon. Had to bring him a big box of Tide laundry powder from Costco. (BTW has anyone noticed how much that stuff smells like rotten apples?) I had that box in my closed car in the garage (which I keep the window cracked on BTW) and I walked out to my garage yesterday and thinking WTH smells like rotting apples? Looked all over the garage, then opened the car door. BAM like a freight train accident. Rotting apples. Took me a while to figure out it was the Tide in the back.
I swore off Tide decades ago. Whatever the formulation was back then, it combined with my sweat to produce something you normally smell only at farms with a lot of sheep. I really don't need a detergent that makes my clothes smell like I dragged them through a mountain of sheep sh**.
 

JKalchik

TVWBB Guru
@LMichaels : beer (or a tasty libation of your choice) for doing what needs to be done.

We made the change to a completely non-scented laundry detergent several years ago (generally get it at Costco, local grocery does not carry it.) Once, and only once, we ran out, and had to pick up a jug of detergent locally..... after about 3 loads, we called a halt, made a flying run, and gave the nearly full jug to the neighbors. We make it a point to always keep a spare in the basement now. Good gawd, that stuff just plain reeks.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
My dad's caretaker is from Poland. Wonderful lady. She's been with us for a very long time. Came on board when my mom was failing. She seems to like strongly scented things that also have weird odors. For instance, for a VERY long time (even before my mom passed) dad's house has always smelled like pee (for lack of a better description). Old rancid like when you go into an unkempt senior center. So even in winter (much to dad's chagrin) I have to fling open the windows because the smell is beyond what I can physically stand. Well it turns out it's NOT pee but these scented oil/wicks she keeps in the bathrooms. She still has them in there but my sister asked her to reduce the amount. I guess they're like cilantro. Some people smell and taste soap, I smell and taste delicious. She also likes the Costco dishwasher pods and it's what she buys on my dad's shopping errands for him. My wife and I both have mentioned the horrible odor to her. She smells lemons. Go figure. And so it goes with the Tide powder. It's probably what she knew when she emigrated and has grown so used to the aroma that she likes it. Needless to say the aromas present make me a little "woozy" LOL.
My sister and I used to have more help on this. Our youngest sister was first and foremost in dad's help line. Until she took ill with a 3rd round of cancer. To which we eventually lost her about 2.5 years ago. She lived close by with her husband and dad spent a lot of time with them. Lots of good Sunday get togethers there as well.
We now have the Medical Alert device on order, the special key safe is installed for EMS, we have a "call tree" established for if dad uses the button either by mistake or actually needing help, we have WYZE cams installed strategically in the house as well. Not where they would impose on his dignity, but enhance his safety and security, and finally we have leads on getting him closer to more daily care.
I only hope my kids are as good to us though I seriously doubt it. Sadly in many ways I think all they're worried about is how and where to dump the bodies :(
 

 

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