Personal Emergency Response Systems

Since the majority of accidents and falls happen in the home, Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) devices are excellent means of calling emergency personnel. These are especially reassuring for seniors who live alone.

PERS are small devices usually worn around the wrist like a bracelet or on a chain around the neck. They are water-resistant and can be worn in the shower or bath.

If you need help, you simply press the button. A signal goes to the central emergency station of the service provider and opens communications through a wireless phone device installed in your home. The device can pick up your voice from any area of the house. If you can respond to the operator, you describe the help you need. A call will be made to a pre-arranged neighbor or family member to come check on you. If you cannot speak, emergency personnel will be sent to your aid.

Use care when selecting a PERS service provider. Check with the Better Business Bureau and ask the company to provide references. Prices vary so it's a good idea to comparison shop for the best service at the best price.

Some PERS services also provide a "vial of life," a small container that is stored in your refrigerator that contains a completed medical history form. You are identified as a "vial of life" participant by a sign that is placed on your front door. The sign directs emergency personnel to the vial in your refrigerator. This information could help emergency personnel save your life.

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