Medical Alerts for Seniors in Washington, District of Columbia

Medical Alerts for Seniors in Washington, District of Columbia

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 29, 2019


Any senior that feels uneasy at home alone, or just wants extra protection in case of an emergency, would be well-advised to consider investing in a medical alert device. Many of these devices include fall detection, as well as home security monitoring. Many devices are also mobile and even offer activity tracking for seniors on the go.

Population Density

Washington, D.C. has over 600,000 full-time residents, with 16.4 percent of those ages 60 years and older. That equates to almost 100,000 people and is projected to grow some 17.4 percent by 2030. The nation’s capital is divided into eight wards, with Ward Four and Ward Five accounting for the bulk of the population. The migration outward is attributable to the aging of the baby boomer generation, or those seniors born between 1946 and 1964. These folks account for nearly 50 percent of the populace in these outlying regions.

The city’s Office on Aging provides counseling services, home-delivered meals, transportation, wellness service and ombudsmen assistance.

Emergency Response Times

Our nation’s capital suffers from less-than-optimal emergency response times. A senior who lives in the District of Columbia should expect to wait for care in the emergency room for 38 minutes, and an additional hour in the event he or she has a broken bone. If care requires a longer stay, then transfer time from the emergency room to a bed will be 4.4 hours. Discharge after a short stay will take another 3.5 hours. This is all despite eight tightly clustered hospitals that are world-renowned for their palliative care. 

Both MedStar Washington Hospital and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital have five hours of cumulative wait time, while Providence Hospital patients spend eight hours waiting for care. In order to fast-track a senior in need, it is strongly encouraged he or she invests in a base-unit medical alert system. Using one of these systems can connect you to a call center that has the ability to remain on the line as care is dispatched and arrives. 

Medical Facilities in Washington, District of Columbia

As previously mentioned, the District of Columbia is divided into eight wards and also has eight top-notch medical facilities. The MedStar Georgetown University Hospital ranks highest for adult geriatric procedures, with a 24th place national ranking for the treatment of diabetes and other endocrinology issues. 

A senior in need of cardiology care would be wise to seek treatment at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center downtown. The hospital’s treatment of this particular issue was ranked a solid 47th when compared across all hospitals in the United States. If the senior needs further care, then he or she can look toward Virginia and Maryland, which also feature strong medical facilities under the Inova hospital umbrella.

Senior Health Rating in Washington, District of Columbia

The leading cause of death in D.C. is heart disease followed closely by cancer. Accidents also rank extremely high, and this may account for some of the extremely long wait times found in emergency rooms throughout the nation’s capital. The leading causes of death for those age 60 and over are cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Influenza also continues to rank relatively high and is being addressed alongside other issues. 

The city is increasing the number of wellness centers throughout the various wards as well as building senior service network and information assistance services so that seniors can get the benefits they need. Seniors can also use these services to request long-term care, options counseling or nursing home discharge plans.

Other City Considerations

The growing senior population in the Washington, D.C. metro area is only expected to grow over the coming years. As baby boomers age and move away from the nation’s capital, this could increase the strain on the already overburdened hospitals and medical centers in the region. A senior that elects to retire to this area should think about investing in a mobile and base-unit medical alert device that comes with a subscription service. 

The latter is able to instruct first responders on not only how to get into a building, but also how best to assess the situation and provide care with respect to allergy issues or other concerns. Medical records in the electronic form are now more wearable than ever and would be a great asset if the senior needs to report to the emergency room immediately, but is unable to speak to their particular conditions.  

Kate Papenberg - Senior Advisor

Kate is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.