My wife and I don’t use Smart Phones with Internet Access, we use a simple “Clamshell Phone” like that illustrated below. I choose to use my existing Clam Shell Cell Phone with a simple lanyard I hang around my neck. This is what it looks like….

Clam Shell is open with lanyard loop attached.

Clam Shell is open with lanyard loop attached.

When the Clam Shell Phone is closed the lanyard can hang around neck which is very convenient….

Lanyard attached to closed clamshell cell phone

Lanyard attached to closed clamshell cell phone

My lanyard allows me to detach the cell phone if I wish…

Cell phone detached from pendant-style lanyard

Cell phone detached from pendant-style lanyard

Image from Internet site

Lanyard Image from Internet site

You can buy a lanyard over the Internet. Click here

Besides convenience there is a small additional benefit. I have what is better than a Life Alert system since I can use it wherever I am including my car or elsewhere, I can make direct contact with a 911 operator rather than having to work through an operator at Life Alert who then contacts the local 911 service. If you already have a cell phone, combine the lanyard, cell phone and Smart911 (Metro Nashville’s Free Emergency Alert Service) and you have additional safety at no cost. In a previous post I discussed the Life Alert System and other options… Click Here

You may want to add these 3 entries in your cell phone address book:

  1. Name: Help 911     Number: 911
  2. Name: Help Non-emergency    Number: 615-862-8600
  3. Name: ICE Emergency Contact     Number: (Telephone number of family member)Cell Phone Car

“I’ve spent many hours digging through people’s wallets and going through cell phones looking for emergency contact numbers,” says Denise King, president of the Emergency Nurses Association.

For the cell phone entries, they once again recommend redundancy. Emergency workers know to look for “ICE” which stands for “In Case of Emergency.” An “AA” will keep the number at the top of your contacts list. “AA ICE” or “AA Emergency info” or “ICE spouse,” are all good ideas for cell phone entries.


Security at The Cloister

PoliceLate last year Bonney and I were driving on Cana and saw a Police car stopped at the curb just ahead. The outside emergency alarm in one of the condo units filled the air with a harsh, disturbing scream. The Police were standing outside the home talking with several neighbors. Bonney and I pulled to the side of the street and watched.

We found later that the home owner had gone shopping. I don’t know if she had a card posted on the outside door but after some conversation with a neighbor we saw the police break into her home by crashing through her storm and regular doors. The owner had to pay to replace both doors!

It might be a good idea in case of an emergency to type up a card, about the size of a business card and tape it to the front door. The card reads:

In Case of an Emergency Call:

Neighbor 555-5555

Son 666-6666

…and leave a spare house key with the neighbor whose phone number is on the card.

We have one of these cards taped onto our front door. It not only allows a way for emergency response people to enter the house in case of an emergency but is a safe and convenient way to keep a spare house key.911A

How Pete Saved $29.95 per Month

I have recently returned from a very rewarding meeting with Tim Takacs. He has an Elder Law Practice and Life Care Planning Operation with a staff of 9 specialists including:

  • Office Manager
  • Office Assistant
  • Assoc. Lawyer
  • 3 Elder Care Coordinators
  • 2 Legal Assistants
  • Medicare Specialist
  • Public Benefits Specialist

Tim Takacs

This is how Tim describes his operation:  For almost 20 years, the Elder Law Practice of Timothy L. Takacs has been helping families respond to the legal, financial, physical and psychological challenges presented by long life, illness and disability. As an elder law practice that specializes in Life Care Planning, we help families protect assets and coordinate care. Founder Timothy L. Takacs, CELA, one of the most respected elder law attorneys in the nation, leads an interdisciplinary team of care coordinators and other professionals who work together to enhance the quality of life for elders

We discussed a whole range of issues we need to consider about various aspects of getting on in years. One of the real dangers we discussed is the danger of a fall when no one is nearby. I have had 3 falls in the last few years, one required the Emergency Rescue firemen, one fall was immediately outside the VA Medical Center and two veteran medical providers pulled me up like a baby doll, I describe the third fall in my blog post

Tim and Debra King (Eldercare Coordinator) emphasized the dangers of a fall when alone. They talked about risks of the “long lie”. Older people, who fall at home with nobody around, may have what doctors call a “long lie”: you are in pain or too shocked to get up, do not have a way to call for help and assistance, may have to wait for a long time before help arrives. This in itself can create further health problems and even death.

This caught our attention but I wanted some option that would not cost me over $360/year. My wife found a lanyard that she used to carry a Police Whistle around her neck when she was a K-3 grade teacher. I removed the whistle and attached my cell phone to the lanyard. I am wearing it now, it is completely invisible and I can’t even feel that I am wearing it. Frankly it’s more convenient than a holster or belt clip.

I am registered with Metro Nashville’s SMART911 program, if I fall, I dial 911, I can talk to the 911 person, and the emergency people know where I am and my various medical and physical health conditions. They even know what cars are in our driveway. See about SMART911.

With this set-up I don’t need the “Help I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up” service that costs a minimum of $29.95 per month.

Are There Options to Life Alert?

Life Alert warns seniors with the commercial:

“Help I’ve Fallen and I can’t get up!”

What does Life Alert cost?

A monthly monitoring fee of $29.95 provides the Life Alert button and the Master Unit (the 2-way speaker)..

Additional packages may include a monitored smoke detector, a monitored carbon monoxide detector and emergency cell phones, for protection away from home. Additional monitoring fees range between $29.95-$59.95.

A Programming and set up fee of $99 includes installation and testing, programming medical and emergency contact information, maintenance for all equipment (free equipment and battery replacement included for life) $29.95 minimum monthly fee.

Guardian Alert 911

Guardian Alert 911 or are two-way communication devices that do not require any monthly fees, no long-term contract commitments and no hidden costs. The pendant worn by the user immediately dials a 911 operator when needed. This is not merely a 911 alert, but a two-way communication device that permits talking directly to the operator. It is compatible with Smart 911 used by Davidson County.

“LogicMark Guardian Panic Alert 911 Pendant Phone”

Guardian Alert 911 Features:
– Small pendant unit is worn on person, button can be pressed to dial 911 during an emergency (fall, accident, illness, danger)
 – No monthly monitoring FEES, services charges, or contracts
– Hold down recessed button for two seconds to activate, unit will call 911 and you can speak with an operator through the speaker/mic located on unit
 – Works just like a cordless phone (2.4 GHz) on any standard phone line with 911 service and tone dialing
 – 600 Foot Range
 – Can be comfortably worn around the neck, clipped on a belt, or carried in pocket
 – Replaceable battery lasts 1 year in standby and 30 minutes during talk time
 – No tools required, installs in minutes
 – Pendant is splash resistant
– Voice confirmations during dialing, shutdown, systems test, and battery test
– Auto power off after 4 minutes of activity
 – Unit dimensions: 3.75″L x 1.75″W
– 1 Year manufacturer’s warranty
– White
“Designed with the elderly in mind, the 911 Guardian Phone is a portable phone that makes direct calls to 911 during emergency situations. The lightweight telephone can be worn around the neck and features a single Activation button.”
Price: $199.95
Sale: $149.95

Register with Smart911 and use a cell phone on a lanyard, in your pocket or in a belt clip.

Cell Phone with Lanyard

With a cell phone, there is no additional cost to what you already pay for cell phone  service, cost of a neck lanyard (similar to those used as nurses ID lanyards that hang around their necks)   for the cell phone is $12.95.

See Smart 911 Can Save the Lives of Cloister Residents for information on Smart911. Find it in the “Health” Category at the right.

What is the best choice?

Life Alert costs $360/year plus $99 one time fee.-Total $459

  • Ongoing Annual Cost………$360 per year

Guardian Panic Alert costs a one time purchase of $149.00-Total $149

  • Ongoing Annual Cost………..Zero

Cell Phone using Smart911 -TracPhone  $19.95 plus 1 year card for $99 Total $118.95 

  • Ongoing Annual Cost……….$99 for TracPhone service
  • No annual Cost  if already have a cell phone $12.95 for a Neck Lanyard or holster..

When the time comes to consider this, each of us must take the best decision under their situation. But at least there are choices…..