The baby boom generation was uniquely transformative from the outset, and as the first wave of boomers reach retirement age, they are demonstrating that they still have a knack for changing the rules. Retirees today are more active and independent, and they are demanding new tools that fit their lifestyle.
One product that is evolving to meet next-generation demand is the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS), which allows users to call for help in the event of a fall or other emergency. Until fairly recently, the typical PERS relied on 1970s-era technology. With a pendant and a base station unit connected to a landline, traditional PERS enabled users to summon help by pressing a button on the pendant and talk to an emergency care specialist if within voice range of the base station.
Traditional PERS units have significant downsides, though. They generally only work inside the home, so seniors who are in the yard, taking a walk or even just outside to check the mail are unprotected. Two-way voice pendants often aren’t waterproof, meaning seniors can’t wear them in the shower, where many falls occur. And traditional PERS require seniors to maintain a landline, when retirees are increasingly likely to use a mobile phone only or a VoIP solution to save money.
That’s all changing with the next generation of PERS technology. Mobile PERS (or mPERS) use cellular technology and feature design innovations to deliver the following advantages:
- Easy set-up, and a landline is no longer required. While traditional PERS devices are landline-based, the new generation of mPERS operates using cellular technology, so no landline is required. They are also easier to set up than traditional PERS, making it simple to start using the device right away.
- Help anytime, anywhere there is cellular coverage. mPERS devices are very small, two-way voice devices that can be worn around the neck or clipped to a belt. Seniors can press one button to talk to care specialists wherever there is cellular coverage, allowing seniors to summon help in the house, out in the yard, while on a walk – or on vacation across the country.
- Wearable, water-resistant pendants. Today, seniors can find mPERS that are small, lightweight and shower-safe so that they can be worn wherever the user goes, including in the shower. And since the bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the house for seniors, that’s a real advantage.
- Long battery life. mPERS devices, such as the eResponder, can operate on a single charge for up to two months, plus notify users and caregivers automatically via text or email when the battery needs to be charged. These low maintenance devices make life easier, helping seniors to have one less thing to worry about.
Today’s seniors are changing the rules of retirement, and technology will play a key role in helping them achieve their objective of remaining active, healthy and independent longer. PERS devices have evolved rapidly over the past several years, and mPERS solutions are poised to help the next generation of seniors live their retirement dreams.