There can be a lot of factors when selecting either an in-home or mobile medical alert system. The senior in question should think about whether the device is accredited, or at the very least routinely receiving positive reviews. The older adult will also want to investigate the types of reviews the customer service personnel receive, as there is no point in investing in a system wherein the responder hops off the line and leaves the senior without help or direction.
The system should also be easy to cancel should it come down to that. Perhaps most importantly, any type of system should be affordable. This last factor is a driving consideration for seniors who may be on assistance or living paycheck to paycheck.
Baltimore, Maryland has many citizens living at or below national income averages. Seniors are just some of the 23.1 percent of city residents living in poverty. These statistics are troubling given that nearly 13 percent of the 620,000 residents within the city limits are ages 65 or over. This number is projected to grow another 25 percent by 2030, which equates to another 20,000 seniors. While the overall population is decreasing throughout Charm City, the growth in this particular segment could continue to strain an already overburdened healthcare system.
Baltimore has eight centrally located emergency rooms. The average travel time to facilities like the University of Maryland Medical Center and Johns Hopkins range in value from two minutes to over 17. Once a senior is at the ER, they should expect to wait approximately one hour. Overall, Maryland has the longest wait times for emergency room care in the entire United States, at 53 minutes. What’s more, once a senior is seen, diagnosed and treated, they can expect to wait nearly four hours to be discharged.
In order to expedite this process, a senior may wish to consider investing in a medical alert system, especially a base unit. A subscription-based unit can ensure a senior has timely access to ambulatory services that can get them to the ER faster than if they were to call 911 directly.
Medical facilities in Baltimore, Maryland are truly second-to-none. With institutions such as Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland Medical Center, Mercy, Sinai and St. Joseph’s, there is little doubt that a senior in need will receive top-notch, long-term care regardless of their condition. Johns Hopkins is ranked second nationally behind only the Mayo Clinic and can be a good option for seniors who need specialty care such as geriatric care, orthopedics, ophthalmology and diabetes.
A senior in need of a hip or knee replacement would be wise to go to the University of Maryland Medical Center, which is ranked third nationally for such procedures and conditions. All that aside, the city recognizes the severe disparity of care between Baltimore’s neighborhoods and is focused on leveling access to these state-of-the-art institutions in the years to come.
Overall, the city of Baltimore is ranked 133 out of 150 for worst places to retire, as activities and quality of life leave the city in the bottom ten percent nationally. Government officials recognize that health extends beyond the four walls of a hospital and is encouraging local leaders to focus on issues such as heart disease, cancer and stroke, which are the leading causes of death in Baltimore.
As previously mentioned, quality of life differs dramatically across neighborhoods. Life expectancy is 20 years less in neighborhoods that are more prone to accidents, unintentional injuries and HIV prevalence. Finally, 23 percent of seniors in the city are smokers, and obesity affects up to 33 percent of the populace within certain areas.
Charm City certainly has a long way to go to reclaim its famous nickname. Still, government and city officials are enacting programs to help seniors. One such program is Maryland Access Point, which helps individuals ages 55 and older benefit from in-home checks, financial checkups, economic evaluations and help with further resource requests. The city is also being proactive when it comes to senior living by offering healthy eating promotions, insurance assistance and farmers’ market nutrition programs.
A senior should still consider a medical alert system or device, however, as many of these initiatives are long-term and not immediately able to speed the time you may spend waiting for a first responder. Medical alert devices are now more mobile than ever, which allows seniors to age in place more gracefully. Buttons and pendants can be easily placed throughout the home, shower or wherever the older person spends their time.