A medical alert system can bring children of aging parents the peace of mind of knowing that their parents, who may live alone, can reach help if they experience a fall or other accident. The most common reason for purchasing a medical alert is wanting to make sure that an elderly loved one who is generally able to live independently is able to reach help when they need it. But can this tool for independent living also be a weapon in the fight against rising healthcare costs in the United States?
The population of the United States includes 39 million individuals over the age of 65 as of 2008, and by the year 2030, this number is expected to skyrocket to 72 million, as "Baby Boomers" reach the age of 65.
So, the aging population is growing. The individuals of the "baby boom" generation are reaching senior age, causing the senior population to increase dramatically. Not only that, but healthcare advances have allowed people to live longer; there are many more people reaching their 80’s, 90’s and even past 100. Those who reach these ages are, on average, suffering a large number of physical ailments and as a consequence, they consistently incur high medical expenses.
More seniors, fighting more physical ailments means a higher healthcare cost amongst our increasingly senior population. In fact, by the year 2030, health care for seniors is predicted to account for 25% of all the nation’s health care expenditures.
This is where a medical alert system can help. The price of equipment rental and monitoring can be less than $1 per day; a long hospital stay costs much more than that. The longer a senior waits to receive help after a fall, the more complications they will experience.
If a senior citizen falls, and is unable to summon help within the first hour, they are extremely likely to lose their independence, and most in this situation are ultimately placed in nursing homes.
With a medical alert system, an individual can get quick help, which often eliminates the need for a lengthy hospital stay, and prevents seniors from experiencing complications from their fall that land them permanently in a nursing home or care facility.
In conjunction with in-home care provided either by a professional service or a member of the senior’s family, a medical alert system can keep an elderly individual out of a hospital, out of a nursing home, and can extend the amount of time in which he or she can live at home safely.
The average cost of nursing homes can top an average pricetag of $83,585/year, or $229/day. A medical alert system rental and monthly monitoring service costs less than $1/day.
While the rapidly rising population of seniors in the United States as well as recent changes to Medicare almost certainly guarantee a drastic spike in healthcare costs, this increase can be slowed. Preventative measures are the key to lowering healthcare costs in the United States, as it decreases the amount of costly emergency care and the many expenditures that come when an individual is no longer able to live in their homes.