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True confession time. I'm really tired today and running on ultra-slow. Yesterday I tried to call an out-of-state dear friend of mine with some major health issues. I hadn't heard from her in over a week, which is somewhat unusual. Particularly since I'd written her a couple of times and asked a question or two in the emails. I tried calling several times yesterday afternoon and evening with no success. Late last night I even tried calling her sister to see if she'd heard from her. She also hadn't and, of course, was now concerned as well. Finally, I remembered I had an email address of another mutual acquaintance who lived much closer. I wrote that person, as well as emailing my friend once more. This time I explained that I was concerned for her health and asked her to please email me as soon as possible. As a Sandwich Generation senior home care giver who writes on this topic, I am very well aware of all the awful scenarios that could happen to a person living alone, particularly one with health problems, and, of course, most of them were running through my mind during this whole episode.
All of this led to my getting to bed about two hours late and not sleeping well! Now you know why I'm so tired! Praise God, I checked my email around 3 in the morning and found replies from both friends that she was A-ok. 🙂 One positive result of all of this was her discovery that her cell phone was not working properly! As she commented, the main reason she has a cell phone is for emergencies. But if it doesn't work well, that certainly won't be much help!
All's well that ends well and she is probably going to get her phone fixed or upgrade it. But it did give me food for thought for her and for all of our elderly relatives who live alone and far away. It made me realize how important it is to:
- Give them a call at least once a month, if not more often, and check that their telephones and cell phones are working properly.
- Encourage them to invest in some kind of personal emergency elderly medical alert systems that come with an emergency pendant complete with a panic button they can push. Then help is right there on the "intercom." If they can't afford it and you can, this would make a great gift that keeps on giving. One of my dear seniors has used Philips Lifeline's personal emergency response system for several years and been quite happy with them. She has had to push that button a couple of times and they've been wonderful! They've responded quickly, calmly and compassionately each time. Another excellent one, with a great rating from the Better Business Bureau is Medical Alert by ConnectAmerica. A life alert system for the special senior citizen in your life can be a great gift to both of you!
- Make sure you have current phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses for your loved ones and several of their local friends and neighbors, including their pastor, doctor, etc.
There are no guarantees in life and crises do occur. Following these tips could help in those circumstances. Hopefully, if it is a true crisis you'll be right on top of things and if it is a false alarm, you won't lose as much sleep as I did. That's definitely a win-win for all of us Sandwich Generation senior home care givers!