Nowadays, seniors are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. This means that they are also continuing to enjoy independent lifestyles in far greater numbers than previous generations. However, living alone can be fraught with perils that cannot be underestimated. Medical alert systems help keep seniors safe by summoning help in the event of an emergency. A senior will typically wear a pendant with a button around their neck. If an emergency occurs, the senior can press the button to talk to an operator who will evaluate the situation and promptly dispatch first responders.
Some medical alert pendants also feature fall alert capabilities. With a fall alert pendant, if the motion of a fall is detected, help will automatically be called. Other medical alert pendants also feature GPS location services, so if a senior becomes lost or disoriented, they can be quickly located.
The city of Chicago is home to 2.7 million residents. Seniors make up 10 percent of the city’s diverse population. Approximately 32 percent of the seniors residing within the city limits live alone. In 2011, the first of the baby boomers started to enter retirement. Since that occurrence, there has been a steady increase every year in the senior population of the city. So far, the city has experienced an increase of 4.4 percent, according to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).
In areas of the city such as Crown Point, Hammond, Gary, Merrillville and East Chicago, which are considered high emergency call volume locations, the average response time averages just a little over six minutes. This matches the nation’s average response time of six minutes. However, in some areas of Merrillville, it took around nine minutes for first responders to reach the site. In some areas of East Chicago, the response times hovered around seven minutes. Gary is one of the largest areas in the city and, depending on the call volume, response times of up to 11 minutes have been noted.
Emergency response times are often dependent on how many ambulances are available. As long as ambulances are not making a run on another call, response times remain acceptable. However, if the call volume is high and all ambulances have been dispatched, then the response time can become horribly long. Waits of up to 25 minutes have occurred. These delays have caused loss of life. The need for more ambulance services within the city is undeniable.
U.S. News & World Report shows that Chicago lags behind most of the nation in acceptable hospitals. Not one of the hospitals in the bustling city even made the top 10 list. Despite the dismal rankings, local experts still consider the city’s hospitals acceptable.
Recently, medical facilities within the area have taken great steps to improve. Rush University Medical Center opened a $654 million building on its Near West Side Campus. The building is made up of nine new floors that boast top-of-the-line therapeutic, surgical, emergency and diagnostic equipment. There are also another five stories that are dedicated to acute and critical care.
The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Streeterville was created to replace the Children’s Memorial. It was built on a budget of $855 million and contains 23 stories. In recent years, hospitals in the Chicago area have also been expanding by teaming up with other hospitals. This move is geared towards providing wide health care access at more affordable prices.
The life expectancy within the city of Chicago hovers at 77 years, which is lower than the nationwide average of 79 years. Adult obesity hovers at around 29 percent. Within the state of Illinois, 12.8 percent of the population suffers from type II diabetes, which tends to be a direct result of an unhealthy lifestyle. In the city, 31 percent of seniors received food stamps because they fell below the poverty line. Such a high poverty statistic makes the risk of senior malnutrition within the Windy City extremely likely.
The city of Chicago is a growing city and with that growth, the population of seniors is also burgeoning. Medical alert services are offered throughout the city. Although Medicare and other private health insurance companies do not pay for medical alert services, other senior service providers might offer some form of assistance. Also, medical alert services are normally geared toward affordability. Medical alerts often provide seniors with the ability to live alone and maintain an independent lifestyle. The service also offers peace of mind.