According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, it is estimated that the senior population will exceed 98 million by the year 2060. Fortunately, medical alert systems can enable seniors to live with greater independence, dignity and peace of mind. A medical alert system allows a senior to press the alert button, which in turn will connect the senior to a live operator. The agent will evaluate the urgency of the situation and send emergency assistance accordingly.
Medical alert systems may also be customized to include fall detection capabilities. If the system detects a fall and the senior is unable to press the alert button, the system automatically connects to the monitoring center.
Florida is known to be a haven for seniors as they retire. At nearly four million, the state has the highest number of seniors over the age of 65 in the nation. Jacksonville’s population exceeds 900,000; eleven percent are seniors. The senior population over the age of 75 is the fastest growing segment in the city. The percentage of residents over 55 years old in Jacksonville is expected to grow from about 20 percent to 40 percent within the next 25 years. During that same period, it is also expected that Jacksonville’s population of seniors over the age of 65 will grow to 80 percent.
An investigation into the response times for emergency calls in Jacksonville revealed that more than 50 percent of the calls on the south side of Jacksonville took EMS longer than six minutes to arrive to. The city’s goal is to arrive to the scene within four to six minutes, and begin CPR immediately if necessary. Studies show that prolonged response times can cause the chance for survival to decrease dramatically.
The analysis also concluded that there are not enough EMS personnel available to keep up with the explosive growth of Jacksonville's south side, which can help to explain the slower response times. Many of the areas on the south side of Jacksonville are rural, which also contributes to the slowed response times.
Sixteen medical specialties were evaluated in hospitals across the nation by U.S. News. They numerically ranked the top 50 hospitals in the nation. UF Health Jacksonville, a medical and surgical facility in Jacksonville, ranked first in adult specialty. The facility, also a teaching hospital, was rated as high performing across the board. The Mayo Clinic, also in Jacksonville, ranked as top hospital in metro Jacksonville, tying for first place.
Both facilities ranked high in each of their eight specialties and rated as high performing in three specialties. An overall report card which rates hospital safety gave passing grades to most Jacksonville area medical centers.
The health conditions present in Jacksonville are a growing concern in Florida. Chronic diseases are impacting residents at alarming rates. According to “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” released August 2017, 26 percent of seniors over the age of 65 are obese in Jacksonville. Thirty-two percent of the population ages 45-64 is obese. Rolling Out, a national publication ranked Jacksonville as having the third-highest HIV/AIDS rates in the country.
Health officials in Jacksonville are working to improve the health of Jacksonville residents through providing progressive disease prevention, health promotion, and proactive treatment efforts. Cancer is more prominent in Jacksonville than any other disease, followed by heart disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), stroke and diabetes.
Since 2000, the life expectancy in the United States has increased to 80 years old. Unfortunately, many seniors who live alone and are at an increased risk of experiencing a fall or medical emergency in their homes. Jacksonville is a heavily populated city, and the 911 system can often become overwhelmed with emergency calls.
When the alert button is pressed on a medical alert system, the senior is immediately greeted with the reassuring voice of a trained agent, who will contact the proper authorities to ensure that help will be on the way and follow up to confirm help has arrived.