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Walking is excellent exercise for our elderly parents. If they are in reasonably good health, they can enjoy the fresh air and exercise whenever they want. When you can keep them company that’s great. Even when you can’t, it can still be a pleasure for them. However, occasionally an older person can become disoriented, turned around, or lost. This can happen even if they’ve lived in the area for many years. It’s even more prevalent if they have recently moved there. In addition, falls are more common with older adults, and even a simple fall can leave them feeling light-headed or confused.
One very simple and free solution is to type up their home address and phone number along with emergency contact information for you. Put copies of this in the pockets of their jackets, pants, etc. Remind them to replace them each time they wash the clothes. Every time you visit, check to see if they need replenishing. If they are injured, emergency personnel will hopefully find the information. If they get lost, they will hopefully remember to find the paper in their pockets.
Another solution, not free but certainly inexpensive, is a piece of jewelry with tracking information for them. They wear the item, such as a bracelet, and if they are lost or injured it has an 800 number on it. Medical personnel or others attempting to help them can call that number and get contact information for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
One of the best known providers of this service is MedicAlert – http://budurl.com/MedicAlert . They offer bracelets for a variety of illnesses and health conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, asthma, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, and more. The prices for their jewelry range from $19.95 for a basic silver bracelet or necklace to $709.95 for a gold round pendant on a Bismark chain. Fortunately they have plenty of choices closer to the $19.95 price 🙂 . The fee for the annual notification service starts at 29.95. (As I was researching for this article. I discovered that price is a discount on their annual service which is good through tomorrow, January 31, 2009. So if you are interested in this for your elderly parent, I would encourage you to check them out as soon as possible. Even without the discount however, the price is cheap for peace of mind for you and your beloved family member.
You can’t always be with them, but you can help them stay safer even if they’re alone. MedicAlert is one of a variety of ways we’ll be exploring to help in that endeavor.