My Mom is living at home and has lifeline pendant. It is a great device when she decides to use it. Our most recent issue is that she is wearing the pendant at night and she rolls onto it and it triggers and starts our call tree and the ambulance.

She does not hear it, the device is in another area of the house and she will not hear it, nor does she hear her phone without her hearing aid.

Some other notes:

We have cameras that are accessible and we can remote see her rooms and talk if necessary. This has been great. The cameras are not too reliable, I think it depends on how far they are from your wifi. The camera in her bedroom I have pointing only on the floor of her room for privacy. This seemed better than a blur option, but I cannot see if she is in trouble and still in the bed. The other cameras are great for living, kitchen if she is moving around, or if she entered or left the bath area.


She needs to be reminded sometimes that it is ok to push the button and get help. Stubborn and independence is working against her.


I thought a shorter chain for the lifeline, or putting medical tape to stop it from shifting around to her back or other places. I do not think the wrist option is a solution. We do need the fall detection, she has mobility issues.

Anyone have a suggestion?

First thing that stands out to me is she has mobility issues. Get a potty chair and put it next to her bed so she isn't walking around the house at night to go to the bathroom. If her sewer line is near her bedroom, you can get a back flush toilet installed that does not require a hole in the floor. The piping goes out the wall behind toilet and directly in to sewer. Would be even better than having to dump a potty chair the next day and keeps her right next to her bed at night.

Second thing, for me, is that she has an alert necklace with a base unit located elsewhere in the house. I have a unit that does not use a base in the house. It has gps as well so you could track her anywhere if she isn't answering the phone. Base units have limits as to how far you can get from the base - often times this means just going to the backyard cuts off ability to transmit a 'help'. The one I have for my mom is 5-star and you can order through AARP or pick up at Walmart. I have the charger for it right next to the bed and mom charges it each night. Prevents hitting the button while sleeping, but is close enough to her if she needs it. - I suggest changing the unit you have. The set up you have now means if she needs help in the night, she can't even hear the people talking from the base. On the 5star, they talk through the necklace device.

With her mobility issues, I think that overrides privacy of seeing her in bed at this point. Not much point in having the camera in bedroom if you can't see her.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to my2cents

Why do you think the wrist option isn't a solution?

"Stubborn and independence is working against her." Or maybe your are misinterpreting this and it's really mild dementia and memory impairment. These 2 traits are often seen as a personality issue by family members when no cognitive test or diagnosis has been made or is available.

If she doesn't have an actual evaluation/assessment/test you won't know what you're dealing with. Because if she really does have mental/memory decline (rather than being stubborn and independent) she will be less able to "participate" in your monitoring arrangement. You may then exhaust yourself trying to orbit around her inability to be actually independent. Just because she wants it, doesn't mean it is reasonable, logical or doable. Eventually she will no longer be able to stay by herself safely no matter what monitoring and safety precautions you put in place. What is the plan for when that day inevitably comes?
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Geaton777

There are probably better devices out there but if you want to keep what you have please change the order of the emergency calls with the Lifeline company. You can have them call you first, before they call an ambulance.
By all means direct the camera to the bed and nearby floor so you can clearly see what's going on. This will enable you to assess the situation and let the Lifeline people if an ambulance should be called.
An Echo may help in other creative ways. Sometimes my mom would leave the phone off the hook. An Amazon echo device was another great device where I could set it from my phone to say "Mom please put the phone back on the hook". or even "It's 9am Mary, please get up and call your daughter". The reminders are loud and repeat 3 times. Saved me countless times from running over there.
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Reply to NYCmama

I believe you are on the edge of her no longer being safe living alone. Be sure to get all the documents in place to allow for assistance in the next stage. Have a serious heart to heart discussion with her regarding her plan/wishes. Does she have end of life information? Get things in place NOW before another day passes. Include as many family members as possible, this in not a solitary journey. Good luck.
A funny story: Mom about 89 at the time, living in independent facility, had a pendant and lifeline subscription. She was a night owl, and already starting the spiral into Alzheimer's, but still only needing some assistance. The family planned a trip to the beach, her favorite place, but on the Oregon coast, much too cold to swim. About 11:30 the night before we were going, her pendant went off. She told the story the next morning. She suddenly heard a voice in her bedroom: Lifeline" Sherry, are you ok?" Repeated 2 or 3 times. Finally she realized what it was and replied " Oh yes I am ok, I guess I set it off when I bent over to try on my bathing suit, before packing it".
We enjoyed our trip, but she never put the suit on, much too cold. She is now 96, deep in dementia and never got to swim again, one of the 1000's of pleasures she no longer enjoys while her body refuses to give up. She was on hospice for 2 years ( a major blessing for us all), but graduated off when she stopped going downhill, has no idea who I am, where she is etc. but is well cared for in an excellent memory care facility. Truly a horrible disease known as the long goodbye.
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Reply to GrandmaC

Mom's motion pendant hangs so low (she's bent waaaaay over) that it smacks against her walker when she walks. Since she has not fallen, she can quickly-ish tell the 'speaker' that she is OK. However, she's set it off in the washer & dryer, putting it in her bathrobe pocket, I guess.

Since I am no longer on her calling tree (thank goodness!!) she lives with YB and his 4!!! adult daughters and his wife. If none of them answer the call--then the EMT's get called in. Unbelievably, most recently she fell and EVERYBODY was outside laying sod. The EMT's showed up, much to the utter embarassment of my YB who himself is an EMT.

Problem with taking it off at night is that a lot of falls occur during the night, when someone gets up to use the bathroom. Although mother's alarm is a screech that would wake the dead, and 6 people are called before the EMT's, we've had a LOT of middle of the night calls...

Same goes for my MIL, who is stone deaf. Several times she's wandered into her kitchen just as the fire department is deciding which window to break into to get to her.

My grandmother's 'last fall' was in the bathtub--there sat her pendant, just 3 feet away, but she couldn't reach it. She spent 48 hrs in the tub, filling and emptying the tub with warm water. When they found her, she was a mess. So undignified!!

Don't they make fall pendants that are more like watches? That makes more sense--but is also fraught with problems, I daresay.
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Reply to Midkid58
GAinPA Nov 19, 2021
The FitBit Versa 3 wristwatch has the ability to take a phone call but not to make a phone call. It is very light. The Alexa app has the ability to alert designated people when you say “Alexa call for help” it makes the phone call and sends a text message. Both parties can talk through the Echo device.
I don't have any suggestions as I don't have any experience with the those monitors, but it reminded me of my parents' 95-year-old neighbor who put her pendant in her purse, then inadvertently bumped her purse when she put it on the floor. After no one could rouse her at home, she was tracked to the location of her pendant and was surprised to find the police and paramedics rush into a Rotary meeting she was in the middle of leading! :-)
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Reply to MJ1929

Firstly put pendant on elastic so she can get it over her head but it doesn't hang low enough to accidentally trigger when leaning against something.

Put up a notice somewhere very obvious so she doesn't forget to take it off when she gets into bed.

Change the system so it is monitored and they call the "tree" - base stations are OK if she is always near enough to be heard but generally seem a waste of time, but may be necessary if it cannot be linked into phone.

Put up a hook next to the bath so that in future she has it close by - a slip or fall in bath is very common.

Forget the privacy in bedroom - safety is far more important.

Commode chair next to bed (or close by) will avoid night time wandering to find bath room.

Plan out the best way to use what is available and what will be better as she becomes less capable.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to TaylorUK

She shouldn't wear it to bed. My Mom's had a motion sensor. If it hit anything the operator came on and asked if everything is ok. You should set it up that no ambulance is sent out until one of her backups oks it.

Like I said, Mom's had a motion sensor that if she fell and the pendant hit the flloor the operator would call. If she/he got no response, then the ambulance was called.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29

Please consider getting your mom a thorough evaluation from her doctor to include tests for dementia. Do not be surprised if the dementia testing requires further follow-up with a neurologist. Also ask for a referral to physical therapy about that mobility issue for evaluation and treatment.

It might be time for mom to move to assisted living. She would have regular "visits" by staff to assess her and would stop the midnight calls.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Taarna

In a case like this where there is obvious dementia plus old age "ignorance of necessity", this just can't go on. This woman can no longer be left alone which means either a caretaker at night or she has to be placed. You truly have no other choice without more problems coming big time if you don't act.
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Reply to Riley2166

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