How Do You Know If A Senior Needs A Medical Alert Device?

Often times seniors and their children wonder if they should have a Medical Alarm System (also known as a Personal Emergency Response System).  This short needs assessment can help answer this question.

1. Do you alive alone?


____  Yes                      ____ No

2.  (If the answer to #1 is “no.”)  Are there periods of the day or week when your caregiver is away, and you are alone?

____  Yes                      ____ No

3.  Have you fallen inside or outside your residence at  least one time during the past 3 years?

____  Yes                      ____ No

4.  Are there times when you feel weak or dizzy?

____  Yes                      ____ No

5.  Are you worried that you may fall and not be able to call for help?

____  Yes                      ____ No

6.  Do you worry about taking a shower or bath alone?  (falling, getting ill, etc.)

____  Yes                      ____ No

7.  Do you have one or more of these ailments?

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Low vision or visually impaired
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke

____  Yes                      ____ Yes, more than 1                      ____ No

8.  Are you concerned that you may have a reaction to medication and not be able to get help?

(example:  insulin)

____  Yes                      ____ No

9.  Were you hospitalized or taken to the emergency room during the past 2 years?

____  Yes                      ____ No

10.  Do you use a cane, walker, wheelchair, stair climber, or other device to help you balance or walk?

____  Yes                      ____ No

11.  Are you afraid that someone may hurt you physically or break into your home?

____  Yes                      ____ No

12.  Do you feel unsafe in your neighborhood?

____  Yes                      ____ No

Total:   ____ Yes                   ____ No

1 – 2 Yes answers: This score indicates a medical alert service could be an important step towards maintaining independent living. Ask yourself two important questions:

  • If you fell tonight, how would you get up?
  • If you can’t get up, how will you get help?

3 – 7 Yes answers: This score indicates there is a risk for a fall or other incident, suggesting that a medical alert service would be helpful and should be considered.

8 – 12 Yes answers: This high score indicates there is a serious risk for a fall or other medical incident, suggesting that a medical alert service may be strongly advised.


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