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My question has to do with falls, my father has fallen 4 times and my 90 year old mother and I are not able to lift him off the floor. We have called on our neighbor's teenage sons to help us out. My question would Life Alert really help ? Or would it be better for my father he go to his Physical Therapist and learn how to strengthen his legs and learn techniques on how to pick himself up when he falls?

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Should your dad also have a bone density test?
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Had Life Alert for my Mom. When I tested it monthly, I always got a "call would not go through" message or it would just ring and ring with no answer. Good thing she never had to use it.
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Agree with earlier poster that the person must be mentally alert enough to push the button APPROPRIATELY. One elder I knew (late 90s) fell in the middle of the night and lay on the floor all night -- didn't push the button because she was afraid the firemen would damage her front door. Several weeks ago another friend I know was talking about how she was beside herself, because her Mom fell, called the daughter, waited until the daughter got to the house, THEN pushed the button "to see how well it would work". It worked fine, but daughter justifiably frustrated, since Mom could have just as easily called 911 on the SAME CELL PHONE SHE HAD CALLED HER DAUGHTER WITH. Things that make you go "ARGH"!
Another neighbor no way no how was going to be allowed to have one, as she already had repeatedly called 911 when she was stuck in the recliner after getting up late at night, rather than calling for the caregiver in the room 25' away (She had 24 hr caregivers. She also had the habit of calling family members 17 times in a row if they didn't answer the phone---not surprisingly they became even less inclined to take her calls.....)
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I got my mom a Life Alert upgraded medallion which detects a fall without the person pressing the button. The local EMS has come to the house a few times when she fell. The subscription through the local VNS is $51/month (a difference of $13).
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How I wish I could get my Dad a Life Alert or similar. My Mom is always calling me whenever Dad falls. Good heavens, I have enough problems trying to lift a heavy bag of groceries much less trying to lift my Dad. Mom is 96 and frail, but she tries to go through the motion thinking she is helping. We have to wait until my significant others comes to their house so he can lift Dad, who is also in his 90's.

I had my parents primary doctor try to recommend an alert system, but Dad said "no, that is for old people"..... [sigh]

jeannegibbs , great idea about checking with the local EMTs to see what is they policy about helping picking up an elder who has fallen. At least they know professionally how to pick someone up so not to hurt them further.

Also I saw on TV about a cane that one can use no matter how uneven the terrain would be.... most of my Dad's falls are outside when he is doing yard work.... he would be bending down to pull a weed and keeps on going forward until he's face down in the lawn or dirt. In his mind he still thinks he is 50 years old and can still do everything around his house.
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I had the Life Alert for my mom last year. One morning in October, 2012, I got an EMAIL from her (she was 91 then) telling me that she thought she was having a heart attack. I just about had one when I read it - called her immediately and she sounded awful. Called the ambulance and got her to the hospital and it was a back fracture, thank God not a heart attack. She is very sharp mentally but when all she had to do was push this button she somehow got herself to the computer and emailed me.
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I think Life Alert is great as long as you are not getting it for someone with dementia or someone who is adamant they do not need help in anyway what so ever.
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For more information, contact your local area agency on Aging.
http://www.agingcarefl.org/services-and-providers/

Also try The American Association of Kidney Patients - Home
www.aakp.org/‎
The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) is a national organization that reaches one million people yearly affected by kidney disease.
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Katelynn, if he falls call 911, they will come and pick him up. You should get assistance, because he is only semi-ambulatory if he is falling down, and with the bad knees and O2 and edema he should definitely NOT be driving. Take his keys away and have a long chat with the MD.
For us, the medical alert button is a waste of money, Mom won't push the button and embarrass herself, and in a moment of crisis, she forgets she even has it. She just panics and calls us, LOL!
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I think Life Alert is worth it. But the senior must understand it and know how to use it. My mother would just leave it on her dresser all day. They would call her to check on her and she would be annoyed at their calls. At first she didn't understand why it didn't work all over town. After awhile she didn't understand it all. So we dropped it.
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My next question my dad is not able to put on his pants because it involves lifting his leg which causes him pain in the knees which I assume is from the edema he has. My 90 year old mother is the one that helps him put on his pants, shoes and socks. I occasionally help with the shoes and socks but my mother insists on doing it herself. We cannot get any assistance because my father is ambulatory and drives. But I think besides physical therapy, that I have mentioned to my father's nurse. I have not heard back from my dad's nurse but is there another agency I could contact to see if my dad can get some occupational therapy ? He is part of the Transitions Program , which is for those facing a life threatening illness ? What other agency besides my dad's doctor can I contact ? Any suggestions would be appreciated. And thanks again to those of you who responded with great advice and recommendations.
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Is your father alone in the house very often? What the alert button does is notify the service which in turn will call by telephone and try to speak to someone in the house, then call an appropriate responder.

We had a system for Mom when she lived alone. She did remember to press the button when she fell, she could hear the phone call (which does not require lifting the receiver) and explain that she couldn't get up but that she wasn't hurt. The service called me (the daughter who lived closest). They patched me through so I could ask Mom if the chain was on her door and tell her I would be right there. I knew to stop for the building caretaker so we could cut off the chain. Then I got to mother and made the decision whether to call additional help or to just get her up.

Having the alert system in that situation was very useful! But when Mom left the apartment to live in my sister's house, we did not continue the service. Someone was there with her to determine if additional help was needed and to make the call, without needing a remote system as the middleman.

Katelyn4, I suggest that you contact the nearest fire station and see what their policy is regarding helping people up after a fall. This is a service many do provide. If yours does, put that number on speed dial, so you or Mom could call it quickly when Dad falls. If there are some strong teens in the neighborhood who would help (in exchange for a regular supply of chocolate chip cookies, maybe), put their number on speed dial. If it would be the police or an EMT unit that you should call, put that number on speed dial. You and Mom should not attempt to lift Dad, so be prepared with the phone numbers of those who can.

If your Dad is often alone in the house, then I think the alert system is absolutely worthwhile. But if you and/or Mom are almost always with him, then you can perform the same service of getting someone to help him up much more quickly.

Physical therapy sounds like a good idea, with or without the system.
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With the additional information you just provided, I don't think there's any way your dad can get strong enough to get himself up off the floor. He needs training in preventing falls and the Life Alert (or something similar) is a good idea.
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Thank you for responses. My father has Chronic Kidney Disease and as I mentioned he has gained 20 lbs of water weight. The problem is the edema in his legs and the pain in his knees. Once he is upright and standing my father can take care of himself- walks and dresses himself except for putting on his shoes. He walks slowly with a cane but is when he falls is when we have the problem. His falls have been out of his bed he tripped over his sheet, getting up to use the bathroom; another time he tripped over his oxygen tubing when he was getting up to use the bathroom. Another time , he fell off the toilet because he had fallen asleep. With his kidney problem , he dozes a lot. I think that I will look into both the Life Alert and PT.
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One more quick note on my previous post to this....the hospital alert system is a non-contractual system. In other words if you want to try it for a spell and then turn it back in, there is no disconnect fee involved or penalties to pay. I'm not sure all hospitals offer the same service but it is probably worth looking into. It is also staffed 24/7. The other things you may try is senior-proofing the home. Remove all throw rugs or other trip causing objects. Make sure there is a clear path from room to room etc.
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How old is your dad and what kind of shape is he in? I think a lot of seniors get to the point where they can't get themselves up off the floor any more. My dad was that way in the last few years of his life, I'd either get him up or we'd call the firemen to come and get him up. The funniest time was when he fell getting out of the shower. Successfully wrestling a naked 200 lb man up off the floor in a small bathroom is a feat of which I'm proud. It's a good thing I'm a strong, corn-fed Illinois woman, LOL. And I doubt my mom could get up off the floor now if she fell. They're both in/were in their 90s.

I don't know that most seniors past their 70s would be able to get strong enough to change that. They'd have to be really motivated and be able to develop some good thigh strength. I think the emergency alert makes more sense, where someone would come and get your dad up. Getting someone to work with him to avoid falls would probably be a good idea too.
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Why is he falling?

I ask, because if it's physical frailty that's one thing, but if it's neurological or brain-related it's another.

Life Alert (or similar systems) can give rapid support to the person and peace of mind to his carers - but not if he won't use it. I found myself explaining to staff at a respite care home we're considering that "my mother wouldn't call for help if she was on fire," and I was barely exaggerating.

So it depends. If your father's thinking skills are impaired (e.g. memory loss, dementia, stroke or anything like that) he might not be able to use the system in practice (no matter how straightforward it seems to you); but if his mind is fine (or your mother can operate the call system for him), he himself is anxious about the falls and he would like to have help on stand-by, they could be well worth a go. Don't know if any distributor or retailer would let you have one on approval, or on a short lease or something? Then you could have a trial and see how it went.

Of course, it's not either/or; ideally you'd improve both the home's security and your father's strength and balance as far as possible. PT and Falls Prevention/Recovery techniques will all be useful - but again, only if he's keen to co-operate.

I would add: please discourage your mother from trying to help lift him!!! You don't want to find yourself with two parents flat on the floor!
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I had the local hospital life alert system installed for my mom about 18 months ago. It has really been a blessing at times. Unlike you I live long distance and cannot be there when mom takes a spill. However for $35 a month I have the peace of mind knowing when she pushes that button someone will answer her and come as needed. It took me a while to convince her that this was necessary but now that she has it she uses it whenever she needs too. Not only is it good for falls, it is good if there is a severe weather situation where she would have to be taken to shelter, in case of a burglar scare, or even in the event of a fire. One push is all it takes to summon help. As I said, it is well worth the money in knowing there is someone on the other end in an emergency.
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