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Mom lives alone, but family members all live close by. She has a medical alert button for emergencies. In the past few months she has been pressing the alert button for minor problems when she should have called one of us instead. EMS shows up at her door and then she ends up in the emergency room for simple things like a dizzy spell or diarrhea. Should we take the medical alert button away? We simply cannot afford to send her to an assisted living facility nor can we afford full time help. My sister and I are there very often and we have part time helpers for 12 hours a week. It just isn't enough.

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Aferinno, the rep who set up the monitoring program should have addressed that with you. If for some reason the service won't change the first call order, there are other services that will.
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Thanks so much for that advice. I wasn't aware that the monitoring service could call us first before alerting EMS. I will definitely follow up with them.
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Better to modify the call list or find another provider that is more able to deal with your mother's frequent calls then to do away with it altogether. The alert system we used first contacted my mother to find out what the problem was, then move on to call those on our contact list (closest neighbours were first, then more distant family). EMS was only called if they couldn't contact anyone else or, I suppose, if they were clearly needed.
Sometimes this kind of frequent abuse of the alert system is a sign that you need to re evaluate whether your mom is still able to function safely on her own.
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You can have the medical alert people call you instead of EMS. Sooner or later the emergency responders will notify adult protection services of a senior at risk. APS will look dimly on her being alone. Rearrange the call list.
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No, don't remove the button, try to work with the monitoring service to screen the calls before calling EMS. Ours asks first if the individual is hurt, has fallen, etc., but if they need further information they call me before calling EMS.

You might want to ask how the calling priority has been set up. Is EMS #1 and family are next, or are family #1 on the call list? Since family are close, that might address the problem.

Could it be that your mother doesn't understand the nature of the medical alert function?

Regardless, if an older person becomes dizzy, it might not be an emergency although it could be, but it's certainly worth checking out. And diarrhea if severe and continuous could be a medical emergency as well.

It seems as though you spend a lot of time with her; have these incidences been discussed with any of her doctors to determine if there are in fact problems in these areas?

Can you set up a rotating check-in call service among the family members to call her periodically or at set times during the day and in the evening? And when does she typically call? During the day, evening, at night?
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