By Susan Keats, Contributor & Seize-the-Day Propagandist
A month ago I wasn’t worrying about my mom. I wasn’t wondering about her safety or if she would have a way to get help if she should hurt her back or if that crazy heart rhythm should start up again, leaving her breathless and sick. But in a moment, everything can change.
A month ago, my dad died, leaving my mother alone for the first time in 53 years. Now I worry. I worry constantly.
Without dad there to help if something should go wrong, mom and I have had to discuss other options. She is NOT moving from her home, she is TOTALLY clear about that. She isn’t a little old lady. She still gets together with friends, goes out, and keeps busy doing a variety of things. But she also has some health issues so if something should happen, how will she be able to let me know?
We considered a monitoring service. These services can be useful, but involve monthly fees. I don’t think my mother is at a point where something like that will be helpful, and in addition she says “I don’t want to pay someone every month to sit with their feet up on a desk waiting for me to call some day.” A good point.
I believe we have found a reasonable solution with a new product from VTech called CareLine™ Home Saftey Telephone System. I was fortunate enough to be offered the CareLine phone system to review, so you can’t imagine how grateful I am that this opportunity came along exactly when I needed something just like this!
There are a few other components to the CareLine that we don’t need yet, but I can see how another family would find them very useful. For example, there are a number of unique features for people with hearing loss and also a feature which slows down playback to help you understand a recorded message more easily.I received the phone system and brought it over to my mom to set it up. Taking our first look at the CareLine, we were both pleased. It has a built-in answering machine base with a large screen, large print, and big buttons for dialing. It also has a cordless handset that can go anywhere in the house. It too sports large buttons and has easy-to-use features.
The features I like the best, the ones that are giving me the peace of mind I’m looking for, are the smartest features of this system. There are 4 large buttons that you can program phone numbers into. You can also slide a photo into the clear surface of the button to easily identify the person who’s number it is. My mom and I immediately programmed the first button to call 911. The second, third and fourth buttons are for my brother and I. Now, if mom wants to reach us, she doesn’t even have to dial or remember our numbers, she can simply press one button and we are immediately called. If she has an emergency, she needs only to press one button and she will reach 911 services. Perfect!
The greatest feature of all is a pendant that my mom can wear either around her neck or clip to her clothing. This is similar to a pendant that paid services provide, however this one has two buttons that can be pressed to call your top two choices of people. In our case, 911 is the first choice and I am the second. Should mom press the button, she is immediately able to speak to the person she is calling using speaker phone technology. Essentially, if she has fallen and can’t get up (yes, that really happens!) she will have the pendant around her neck and can get help right away. Phew! THAT makes me feel all kinds of relief.
Mom has had the phone for a week now and I have to say there has been a bit of a learning curve. The setup would have been easy for my techie dad to handle, but my mom would not have been able to do it without my help. The set up is not difficult, but it is unfamiliar to an older adult, so I would highly suggest that if you buy this product for your own parents, you should help them to get it going.
We did need to call V-Tech for one small issue and once we got through they were extremely knowledgeable and eager to help. We were happy to know that technical assistance was easy to reach and our problem was quickly solved.
Overall, I am finding that the V-Tech Careline has created an ideal solution for my family and I’m grateful to have one less thing to worry about.
Below is a short video from V-Tech that explains the product more fully. Check it out, I really do recommend it!
I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf of VTech Communications, Inc. and received payment for my participation. Even so, all opinions stated within are my own.