Safety Monitors – Longview Washington

Safety Monitors for Seniors in Longview and Vancouver


I’m very excited to have with me a special guest from Safe@Home, of Western Washington and Northern Oregon to discuss Safety Monitors – Longview Washington. John, would you like to say a little bit about yourself to our audience?

John Carlstrom: Yes, I would. Thank you, Nancy. My name is John Carlstrom, and I’m a senior safety specialist for Safe@Home.

Nancy Verhei: One of the things I’ve asked John today is, I wanted him to give a very basic outline of what is a medical alert system. We’re going to follow up with several other videos on specific topics, like the different types of equipment and fall prevention. But, this is our very basic overview of what is a medical alert system. I also hope he will cover what do they look like. I know so many seniors have seen advertisements or heard advertisements, and they don’t really know what one looks like, or a help button, for instance. Why do people need them? Why does every senior citizen need them in the home? And how much do they cost? And then, basic information. So, if you have additional questions after this presentation, you could call John, and he could give you some free information on the phone. So, let’s start with: What is a medical alert system? And what does it look like, John?

John Carlstrom: Well, a medical alert unit, or a PERS unit (Personal Emergency Response System), looks like this.  There are many different models. They’re installed in your home up to a land-line, or some that do not require a land-line. They are exceptional. They have loud speakers on them. The microphones are very sensitive. We can get to that in a different video.

Nancy Verhei: This is actually, you told me in an earlier conversation, a mini computer. So, when somebody depresses their button– Is that one of your buttons there?

John Carlstrom: This is. This is a pendant you wear around your neck or on your wrist.

Nancy Verhei: And you have many different styles.

John Carlstrom: Absolutely.

Nancy Verhei: So, when they push their button, they need help. They’ve fallen on the floor and/or whatever has happened. They’re having chest pains. What happens then?

John Carlstrom: Well, once the client presses their pendant, an operator from the monitoring center will come on and ask them if they need help. Help is 30 seconds away or less. So, at that time, the operator will come on and ask if you need help. If they don’t hear from you, they will ask your name three times. Then, if you don’t respond, they will either dispatch an ambulance right away to your home and/or apartment, and/or call a responder, which could be a family member and/or a friend maybe next door to come check on you. We have all that in the computer.

So, that relays to the monitoring center. At the time of you pressing your pendant, the monitoring center brings up your account automatically. They know your name, your address, your phone number, what ails you, what medications you may take. That’s a lot faster than having to drag yourself along the floor with a broken hip and/or illness, trying to get to the phone, which will aggravate your injury even more. It’s a lot easier to push your pendant and get help, versus dial 911, and then try to explain all your injuries and who you are and where you live.

Nancy Verhei: Oh. Yes. I like this unit so much. I installed it in my own father’s home in Los Angeles. What I like about it is you can toggle up the volume so that if they’re hard of hearing they could hear the operator, and the operator could hear them.

John Carlstrom: That is correct. You can raise and lower the volume. This unit, specifically, it’s called a POM 3000. It will actually do medication reminders also. Of course, we can get into that in a different video.

Nancy Verhei: What do you find is the most common reasons that people use this? I know there’s medical, but there’s other reasons too why they would use it.

John Carlstrom: Well, for medical reasons. What if you have a heart attack or stroke? Or you’ve fallen or have low blood sugar. You can use it to summons police, if you hear noises outside your home or outside your window, someone’s jiggling your door handle. You can press your pendant, and they will summons the police. If there’s a fire, they will send the fire department to your home also. You’re the boss. The client is the boss. As soon as you press the pendant, the operator on here will do anything that you ask them to do.

Nancy Verhei: Well, that’s great. Do they provide room service?

John Carlstrom: That’s probably the one thing they don’t.

Nancy Verhei: [Laughing]. So, that would be great for women who live alone. Could you use it in domestic violence situations?

John Carlstrom: Absolutely. You know, the greatest thing is as soon as you activate your pendant, the speaker is quite loud. So, if there is an intruder, that will usually scare someone away. Intruders do not like loud noises. Domestic violence situations, someone is coming on, and they’re going to talk to you right away. If you can’t make it to the phone, it’s wonderful. The speaker is very sensitive. So, they’ll hear you pretty much anywhere in your home.

Nancy Verhei: Yeah. Is this the unit that if it’s a domestic violence or something that is really scary to the client, that they could record that in the monitoring station for follow-up with the police?

John Carlstrom: You know, actually, it in all of the units that we do carry, it’s all monitored through our monitoring station. Every conversation.

Nancy Verhei: How much does something like this cost? Do they have to buy the equipment? Does insurance cover it?

John Carlstrom: You know, most units cost less than a dollar a day. For a dollar a day, that is a lot.

Nancy Verhei: Pretty cheap insurance.

John Carlstrom: Right. It’s not a lot, compared to your independence at home. Absolutely.

Nancy Verhei: So, this actually acts like a nurse call system that they have in the hospital, but you can have it in your own home.

John Carlstrom: That is correct. It’s a wonderful program. These are wonderful units. I think everyone should have one. They even have them in dorms in colleges that I’ve seen.

Nancy Verhei: Really? For safety purposes. That’s really great. Well, thank you, John. I know we have several more of these videos to make. So, stay tuned for some other exciting information about medical alert systems and why you might want to consider one in your home.