Medical Alerts for Seniors with Disabilities

Medical Alerts for Seniors with Disabilities

time icon 6 min read update icon Sept. 28, 2019


A disability can be described as an impairment that may affect a person’s developmental, mental, physical or sensory abilities—or any combination of these. Disabilities may be present from birth or may occur at any age as a result of an injury or illness. Disabilities can significantly affect a person's life. In the United States, one out of every five people has a disability.

Individuals who suffer from physical disabilities may suffer from functioning limitations and may only be able to perform medium, light or sedentary work.Individuals suffering from psychiatric, psychological or cognitive impairments may find it difficult to understand or remember basic instructions, maintain concentration or attention, interact properly with others and respond fittingly to changes.

Disability Overview

The term “disability” is an umbrella term which covers impairments and limitations that many individuals face.Disabilities can include physical or psychological impairments which significantly limit or impact major life functions. Some examples of disabilities include seizures, poor emotional health, learning disabilities and some forms of addiction.Recent studies show that the rates of people with disabilities are increasing, due to an aging population and an increase in chronic health conditions.

Disability Impairment

Some people with disabilities may require support in a few specific areas, while others may require support in every aspect of their lives. Some people have lifelong disabilities which require ongoing assistance and prohibit independent living. In contrast, an intellectual disability affects a person’s communication and social skills, but may not limit their physical activities or self care abilities. Depending on the needs of the individual, there are many progressive and adaptive devices available to make activities and daily tasks easier to complete.

Individuals with physical disabilities usually find that mobility aids and assistive devices can simplify their daily tasks. Devices such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, special floor mats, braces, mobility lifts, hospital beds, ramps, railings, shower seats and many other customizations can help greatly.Many people with disabilities are employed, participate in sports, learn new skills, and enjoy fulfilling and healthy lives. 

Some disabilities can cause daily restrictions or impairments. These impairments can include:

  • Visual disorders
  • Hearing loss
  • Limitation of motion
  • Inability to maintain balance
  • Decline in cognitive functions
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Self care difficulties
  • Independent living difficulties
Medical Alert Benefits

A medical alert service can greatly increase the quality of life for seniors with disabilities. Seniors who have disabilities could fall or have a medical emergency at any time. However, many can enjoy the freedom of living in the comfort of their own homes knowing that medical help is available when needed.

Common symptoms experienced by those with disabilities include:

  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Mobility and flexibility restrictions
  • Confusion
  • Difficulties walking
  • Difficulty listening
  • Difficulties reading and writing
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulties standing
  • Immature speech
  • Inability to complete self-care
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Difficulty relating to time
  • Trouble following directions
Safety Without Medical Alerts

Seniors with disabilities may prefer to remain in their homes, rather than joining assisted living communities. To enhance independence and enrich their lives, seniors with disabilities should adopt certain routines to assist in coping.

  • Mobility and flexibility limitations: Seniors who are not as mobile and flexible as they once were cannot always complete physical tasks. Standing from a sitting position can be challenging on the body, and taking a shower or bath increases the risk of slippage and injuries. Mobility and flexibility issues are usually the causes for loss of balance, trips and falls. To prevent or minimize falls in the home, hallways and rooms should be well lit, clutter should be removed and throw rugs should be replaced with non-slip mats.
  • Confusion: Becoming easily confused can appear as a result of a mental or cognitive disability. Fortunately, modern technology is available to help individuals who may be suffering with bouts of disorientation and wandering. GPS watches can aid in quickly locating a senior who may be disoriented and lost.
  • Difficulty remembering: Many seniors take several medication doses daily. It’s important to implement a tracking system for marking and dispensing medications, to prevent confusion as to whether certain medications have already been taken or not. A compartmentalized pill box, organized by days and times, can help to easily identify meds, eliminating many potential medication mistakes.
Disability Precautions:
  • Get physical: Doctors usually recommend patients with disabilities to complete physical activities that are consistent with their abilities on a regular basis. Being active regularly can improve mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and increase feelings of self-esteem and self-efficacy. 
  • Promote wellness and communication: Though not always the case, individuals with disabilities sometimes have more difficulties maintaining their health than people without disabilities. Individuals with disabilities should monitor their health, manage medication, and facilitate communication with their doctors on a consistent basis.
  • In-home care: In-home care can be considered as a means to prevent premature institutionalization. Support services are usually available in communities that allow an individual to live at home, where dignity, self-esteem and independence can be preserved.
Disability Medical Alerts Conclusion

If an individual with a disability should have a medical emergency, a medical alert device can provide access to emergency medical care. Having the means to easily contact urgent medical care greatly improves the chance for a full recovery from a trip or fall accident, or other type of health emergency.

Additionally, people living with disabilities may find that many activities of daily living can become more difficult. Even so, many seniors favor staying in their homes rather than relocating to a staffed residential setting for assistance. Medical alert services can leave one assured that they’ll be protected in the event of an emergency. Medical alert devices are reliable and can enhance quality of life for many years to come.

T. Mashae Pearson - Senior Advisor

Shae is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.