In early September 2015, Ethel, a 98-year-old widow, fell during the night. Unable to get up or call for help, she remained on the floor for approximately 15-hours until one of her daughters, concerned because she could not contact her mother, entered the apartment. She found her lying on the floor, dehydrated and soiled. Ethel spent four days in the hospital and three weeks in rehab before returning home. Fearing another fall, her older daughter enrolled her mother in a medical alert system program but expressed concern that the monthly fees would impact on her ability to pay for other medical needs – new hearing aids, incontinence supplies, a home health aid, all of which Ethel cannot afford on her income of $1,146/month. Two months after the fall, Philips Lifeline installed equipment in Ethel’s home ensuring a direct line to help in a medical emergency and freeing resources for her family to support her needs in other ways.
Written by Eileen S. Sklaroff