Many seniors rely on family members and caregivers to assist them throughout the day; however, they may still find themselves alone at times. If a senior in Illinois has a medical alert system, they always have access to help, even if they are alone. A medical alert system allows the senior to call for help by pressing a button, usually on a pendant. This is convenient, especially when seniors cannot reach the phone during an emergency. Medical alert systems can provide peace of mind to seniors and allow them to live worry-free lives.
According to data released by the United States Census Bureau last year, Illinois experienced a decline in population in 2017, losing its previous spot as the fifth-largest state in the nation. Data shows that more than one million seniors over the age 65 live in Illinois. By 2050, the senior population is expected to increase by 80 percent. Currently, seniors make up 13 percent of the population in Illinois.
Of that population, 29 percent of seniors live alone. Fortunately, medical alert systems can offer a quick and reliable way for seniors to call for help if they are experiencing a medical emergency, a fall or any event that requires an immediate response.
The national standard for emergency response time is six minutes. Illinois has implemented a system in which the fire department responds to an emergency medical call when ambulances are not available. Comparisons show that this system is faster than waiting for an ambulance to arrive from neighboring districts. The system has enabled the state to reach the national response time standard 73 percent to 75 percent of the time. Arrival times may be affected by weather and road construction.
Seniors with income up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) qualify for medical care in Illinois. Medical Care Rankings measures how well states meet senior citizen health care needs. Among other things, the criteria calculates the number of seniors without health insurance, as well as the percentage who have not had a routine checkup within the last year. In regards to how well Illinois meets the health care needs of senior citizens, it ranked 27th. In regards to health care access, the state ranked 21st, and in health care quality, the state ranked 37th.
A study titled “The Best States for Aging” ranks states according to how well they can effectively serve senior citizens. States are scored in 12 areas relative to each other. All 50 states and Washington, D.C. are ranked on a scale from one to 51, where one is the highest of quality and 51 is the lowest. Overall, Illinois ranked 31st. The Illinois Senior Guide provides important statistical information regarding how senior citizens in Illinois live. Additionally, in an evaluation completed by America’s Health Rankings in 2016, which covers many health and environmental factors, the state ranked as the 26th healthiest state.
A recent survey of seniors over age 60 showed that nearly 90 percent intend to live independently for the next five to ten years. Furthermore, many seniors in Illinois with medical conditions would also prefer to live independently, rather than transition to an assisted living facility for senior care. Seniors who are prone to falling, or who may need additional monitoring due to health conditions, can find assurance in medical alert systems.
Alert buttons can be worn on pendants and when pressed, an agent will immediately connect them to an emergency dispatcher who can summon emergency help or offer reassurance, depending on what type of care is needed.