Medical Alert

When Lyn leaves the house, she is accompanied by either Mom or her respite provider.  I cannot remember a time since we returned from Montana that Lyn has gone somewhere by herself.  Mom has signed Lyn up for the Silver Alert program in case Lyn wanders off on her own.  However, a thought popped into mind when I got an email earlier this week; should Lyn be wearing a piece of medical alert jewlery?


One of my medical alert bracelets
The Silver Alert program would provide Lyn with a GPS bracelet if she were to wander off and be found again.  However, what would happen if she was unable to speak for herself when she was found?  Would it make a difference to the first responders to know that she has dementia?  Would a piece of medical alert jewlery with her name, phone number and "Intellectually disabled" or "Dementia" help?

With those thoughts in mind, I called Mom and pitched the idea to her.  She liked the idea right away.  The concern we both have is not what the jewlery should say; but if we could get Lyn to wear it and keep it on.  Mom decided to tackle that while I got in touch with our brother who is a fire fighter and paramedic.  When I tossed the idea to him, he responded enthusiatically, saying that he's never seen an individual with dementia wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace which identifies their altered mental functioning.  He believes it would be very beneficial if Lyn were ever in a situation which necessitated assistance from people she doesn't know.

When the idea was posed to Lyn, Mom reminded her that I wear a medical alert bracelet every day.  Mom pointed out that when we get excited or upset, it sometimes makes it hard or us to think clearly or speak clearly.  Lyn agreed and liked the idea.  She particularly liked that the jewlery could have red on it.  My brother and I debated the benefits of a necklace, a set of dogtags or a bracelet.  We agreed that she would take of the necklace or dogtags and could get seperated from it, even if she kept it in her purse.  She does not have the manual dexterity to remove a bracelet on her own unless it slips over her hand. 

So, it was agreed that Lyn will have a medical alert bracelet.   Lyn likes this idea.  While Mom went to get the tape measure, Lyn said "I just want to say thank you for thinking about this and how you guys are helping me."  It was very sweet and a bit unexpected.  I told her that we take care of the people we love and that we love her a whole bunch. 

With the measurements in hand, I ordered Lyn a bracelet with the red emergency symbol.  It will have the safety clasp that I even have trouble with and is measured to not slip over her hand.  It is being engraved with her name, "Dementia PT" and "Intellectually Disabled" on the front.  On the back, it has "ICE: (Mom's Name)" and Mom's cell number.  I also ordered myself a new one.  Mine are scuffed enough to be a bit difficult to read and need to be replaced. 

Our bracelets will arrive in about 2 weeks.

Comments

  1. Our friend was just diagnosed with stage 2 dementia at the age of 41. We just learned of this and we have ones to help with him but he tries to walk the "dog" at 4 am. We worry about having a bracelet that he won't take off and that will let people know who to contact in was he is found & what help to give. Where can you get the best bracelet that won't come off and can handle bathtime?

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    1. Hi Sandra! Welcome to Dementia Be Damned. Thank you for your inquiry. I get my medical IDs, including the one for my sister at American Medical ID (http://www.americanmedical-id.com/). There are other companies out there, of course. No matter who you buy from, you should consider a safety clasp. It looks like a V when it is open and an 0 when it is closed. This one clasp tends to be difficult to open by yourself which discourages the individual from taking it off. This is the type of clasp my sister's bracelet has. Once it went on, she's never removed the bracelet. She's able to sleep, bathe and even go through airport security with it on and have no problems. You may also need to encourage your friend's care providers to install door alarms to help keep him from getting lost at 4am. Please reach out to your local Alzheimer's Association. They can be of assistance. I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to reach out if I can be of additional assistance. You and your friend are not alone.

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