Seniors often don’t want to bother others. Trust me, I understand. No one wants to be a burden. But, as we age, everyone needs more help.
As CEO of Alert1, we want to give seniors the support they need. You already know that Alert1 sends help in the event of emergencies. What you may not know is that we also provide seniors with emotional support when they need it.
In the last post, I shared a story about being prepared for falls. This story, inspired by the true testimonial of an Alert1 member, shows the importance of having a community of support.
Ruth hugged herself as a shiver ran down her spine. The winter wind swirled through the empty cottage. It was time to start a fire in the fireplace, but this brought back memories of her husband. Ruth remembered how Colin would always start the fires for her.
“Men should always start the fires!” he would declare with a smile. Instead of rolling her eyes, she would smile right back at him.
But now her husband was gone, and this fire was a task for her alone. Ruth had purchased a new home to leave the memories behind, but she was still trying to get used to the quiet. She missed Colin’s loud, expressive personality. Her life with him had been full of conversation, laughter, and noise.
Before she knew it, the fire caught, and the room was filled with the light of dancing flames.
Ruth stared into the fire and half expected Colin to come up behind her. She imagined him congratulating her, to which she would respond, “Women don’t need men to start fires.”
A tear trickled down her cheek.
Ruth met Colin at the young age of 18. He was loud, vibrant and daring. He took care of her, and she took care of him. It was as if his spirit matched hers. Through the years they danced together side-by-side, like the shadow and the flame.
Ruth struggled to move on after Colin’s passing. With the support of her bereavement group, she had taken the first step into reentering the world—buying a new home.
Ruth found herself reaching for the Alert1 pendant around her neck for comfort. Ruth became a member at the recommendation of a close friend. Her pendant hung on a pretty beaded lanyard that Colin would have loved.
She found solace in the idea that, with a press of a button, there would be someone there to care for her. Alert1 helped stave off the fear of being alone for the first time.
As she toyed with the pendant, Ruth pressed the alarm button.
“Oh no! Now they’ll think I’m in an emergency!” Ruth panicked and wished she could un-push the button.
“Hi there Ruth, this is Elaine from Alert1, do you need help?”
“Hi Elaine. I’m sorry, I pressed the button on accident! Everything is fine.”
“No problem at all Ruth. Please feel free to press the button whenever you would like.”
“Really?! I thought this was only for emergencies.”
“We are here for you Ruth, no matter what you need. You can always press your button to test your device or just to talk with us if you want to say good morning or good night.”
“Tha- that is wonderful. My husband passed away recently, and he used to say both those things every day.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that.”
“Thank you, Elaine.”
“Have a good night, Ruth. And, just so you have heard it once today, have a good morning as well.”
Ruth felt a tear trickle down her cheek for a second time that night, but this time around, she was smiling.
“Good night and good morning, Elaine.”
Lessons for seniors:
- Remember: medical alerts are for more than emergencies. You can talk to a friendly voice at any time, for any reason.
- Seniors should stay physically active. Your body will feel better, and the endorphins will boost your mood if you do a little each day. Take a walk around the neighborhood, join a local tai chi class or start doing yoga. These activities are low-impact, which is better for your joints.
- Seniors who have recently lost a loved one may want to visit a local bereavement group. They will support you in recovering and moving on from your loss. In Ruth’s case, they helped her with buying a new house!
- It’s important for seniors to keep active at their hobbies. Fun activities give you an excuse to get out of the house and spend time with friends. They give you something to look forward to. They release stress and help bring your emotions into balance.
- Caregivers, it is important to give your senior emotional support. Give a hug and be a listening ear when he/she needs it. Your loved one needs to know that you are available during trying times. Be the one who says good night and good morning so that your loved one does not feel alone.
Shayne Fitz-Coy is the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company headquartered in Williamsport, Penn. Shayne is an NAHB Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist with a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Harvard and a Masters in Business Administration from Stanford. He hails from Maryland.