Limiting COVID Exposure with a Medical Alert System

Ashley Sutphin

May 20 2020

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When we think about medical alert systems, we often consider their use to help reduce fall risks among older people. With the coronavirus pandemic, there may be expanded uses for a medical alert system. This is even true when your elderly loved one lives at home with you.

Using a medical alert system can be especially important right now. That’s because many families are looking for ways to protect their relatives from becoming infected with coronavirus. You’ll find that implementing a medical alert can help reduce the number of people your elderly parent comes in contact with.

The Risks of the Coronavirus for the Elderly

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a novel virus that has led to social distancing protocols and full lockdowns throughout the world. The respiratory illness has been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States alone, most of them among people aged 60 and older.

Older people and people with underlying health conditions are believed to be least twice as likely to develop serious complications and outcomes if they are infected by coronavirus, compared to younger, healthier people.

There are several reasons for this. One is the fact that the older you are, the more likely you are to have underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease. Chronic, underlying health conditions have been linked with higher mortality rates during the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, older people may have weaker immune systems than younger people. If an older person becomes ill with a virus, it can be tougher for their body to fight it off.

The Danger of Nursing Homes During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Globally, nursing homes have had their own coronavirus outbreaks. This has led to a significant portion of deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. Due to these outbreaks in long-term care facilities, some families are opting to bring their relatives into their homes, at least for the time being.

Covid-19 is spread primarily through person-to-person contact. There are respiratory droplets that are produced when we talk, sneeze, or cough. If someone is infected then they can pass the infection on through their droplets, which can land on the nose or mouth of other people who are close to them. When so many high-risk people are living together, such as in a nursing home, and mixing with staff and visitors, it is very dangerous during a pandemic of this sort.

The asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 is possible as well, which is one of the other reasons the coronavirus pandemic has been so deadly: people who don’t feel sick inadvertently spread the disease. This means that even if you don’t feel sick you should still take the necessary steps to protect your elderly loved ones and others around you.

corona pandemic

Protecting Your Loved One

Moving an elderly relative home from a nursing home during the pandemic is a personal choice that should be thoroughly researched.

If you decide to move your relative into your home, there are some general steps you can take to keep them safe during this time.

1. Wash Your Hands

First, regular handwashing and general hygiene practices are critical. Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day.

2. Limit Your Exposure Outside the Home

If you interact with your elderly relative, limit your own trips outside of the home as much as you can. Consider wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing, even when you are at home. Run as many errands as you can for your elderly parent so they don’t have to leave home. You can also arrange for things like delivery so you don’t expose yourself as much.

3. Keep Your Home Clean

You want to keep your home clean and sanitized, and if your loved one lives on their own, you may need to help them do the same. Wipe all surfaces regularly and deep clean your home at least once a week. Don’t handle dirty laundry, and when you do a load of laundry, wash it on the hottest possible setting.

4. Consider Getting a Medical Alert System

Let’s face it, even if you’re working from home, you can’t keep an eye on your loved one every minute of the day. Eventually, you’re going to go to sleep at night. What if your relative gets up at night to use the bathroom and has a fall? Or what if she falls in the shower? One in four Americans over age 65 experience a fall requiring medical attention every 11 seconds. A medical alert system, particularly one with automatic fall detection, can be a lifesaver.

Keep Your Loved One Safe with a Medical Alert System

There are many benefits of using a medical alert system to keep your elderly relative safe. For example, older people have a greater fall risk, and many of these devices have automatic fall detection.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, there are even more benefits to medical alert systems.

Living Together While Practice Social Distancing

There is a recommendation that if you share a home with an elderly person, you distance yourself from one another as much as possible. This is particularly true if someone in your home is sick. Self-isolation could mean that your elderly relative has their room or floor and bathroom in your home. A medical alert system could be used if they were to fall or encounter an emergency, and you aren’t nearby.

Stay Committed to Your Job & Other Obligations

You might be busy working from home or in a different room. Perhaps you have to take care of your kids and find it impossible to be fully focused on both your children and elderly parent, especially when they aren’t in the same room at once. Knowing that your relative has a medical alert system can provide you with peace of mind so you can stay productive.

For example, MobileHelp is a medical alert system that also provides automatic fall detection and even medication reminders. Having MobileHelp or a similar device could take some of the burdens off you as a caretaker.

medical alert

Be Able to Leave Your Relatives Home Alone

If you have an older person living with you right now and you have to return to work, a medical alert can make you feel much more comfortable. After all, help is only a touch of a button away. Sign up for automatic fall detection so your elderly relative doesn’t even need to push a button to get help.

Medical Guardian offers such features as automatic fall detection, a long battery life (up to 120 hours), and can cover up to 1,300 feet of your home. If you’re concerned that your relative might leave the home while you’re out, the mobile Medical Guardian has GPS tracking.

Monitoring Someone Infected with COVID-19

What if your loved one receives a coronavirus diagnosis? That does not automatically mean hospital admission. Due to space shortages, the doctor may send them home to quarantine within a single room of your house. Even so, the symptoms of COVID-19 can get more serious over time. You might want a medical alert system so that they’ll have immediate access to emergency services if their symptoms become more worrisome or life-threatening. This way, your relative won’t even have to raise their voice to call out to you if they feel too weak.

For example, for some people with COVID-19, their blood oxygen levels can fall. Someone might have difficulties breathing as a result, or experience other respiratory side effects.

With an alert system like OneCallAlert, whether your loved one lives with you or not, they would be able to get emergency help if needed.

Stay Alert to Fall Risks

Older people have a greater fall risk due to decreased balance and mobility. If your relative previously lived in a nursing home, this is something the facility was likely equipped for. Your home might not be as well-suited to preventing falls with stairs, slippery floors, and tripping hazards. If you’ve moved your loved one in with you quickly, a medical alert system can be the best option until you can make the necessary changes that will make your home safer.


Now is a time of worry for many of us and that may be especially true if your loved one is elderly. There are things you can do to protect your relatives. This includes the use of a medical alert system, whether they live alone or you want to bring them home from a nursing facility to live with you. A medical alert will not only increase safety but also make you feel more at ease.

As we navigate an unprecedented situation, it’s important to take every opportunity available to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

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