A senior that is worried about maintaining their independence, quality of life and safety for as long as possible may wish to consider making a medical alert system or device a part of their daily routine. Medical alert devices have improved over the past few decades and are no longer clunky, bulky or a source of embarrassment for the wearer. Fall-detection devices now look more like jewelry than medical bracelets, and there are many options to choose from.
Boston, Massachusetts is the largest city in New England and the 23rd largest across the entire United States. The greater metropolitan area is ranked as the tenth largest in the nation and moves the city’s population from just over 667,000 people to nearly 4.7 million people. This means that in the immediate city center, the number of folks aged 65 and over is approximately 71,000, while the larger metropolis claims over 500,000.
Like most major cities in the Northeast, emergency responders in Boston face barriers to providing efficient urgent care due to heavy traffic and poor winter weather conditions. The city ranks as the fifth worst in the nation, with average wait times of 34 minutes. The travel time for seniors who need urgent care in Cambridge is normally 16 to 17 minutes to go just three miles. Once a patient arrives, they should expect to wait the standard half hour for intake, 50 minutes for a broken bone and over two hours for admittance. Discharge times take, on average, three more hours. There is hope, however, if the senior is prepared and has their medical history at the ready.
Boston’s healthcare system is bolstered by an outstanding network of universities and research centers in and around the harbor. Massachusetts General Hospital is ranked eighth in the nation for adult geriatrics, with 16 specialties that include cancer treatment, cardiology, heart surgery, kidney care and urology. This hospital is followed closely by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center, ranked 38th and 50th respectively.
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs for the city has 26 local agencies on standby to help older adults by providing in-home care, protective services, family support, Meals on Wheels, nutrition-based education programs, housing and legal support. Seniors can also take advantage of volunteer services, supportive housing initiatives and prescription advantage plans so that they can remain healthy for as long as possible. Boston is by no means an extremely affordable city in which to age, but the quality of life is second only to Minnesota and the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. As with all things, life is all about trade-offs!
The senior population is well-balanced in Boston and the surrounding area. Whether a senior wants to spend their time in the garden or out at a ball game, a medical alert device no longer carries the stigma it once did. Pendants, charms and bracelets are now sleeker than ever, and have the capacity to not only geo-locate a loved one, but also store valuable medical information. That said, being prepared is the best thing a senior can do while aging gracefully in this historic town.