Aging in place safely means covering a lot of bases, from fall detection and emergency help services to medication management and mental stimulation. Seniors, their families, and their caregivers can piece together these elements from a number of sources—the senior home-services field is growing as our population ages—or they can work with a provider that offers a full range of services for seniors living at home.
Philips Lifeline, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest and largest brands in the personal emergency response business. Lifeline was founded by a physician in 1974 to help seniors live more safely at home. Since 2006, Lifeline has been part of Philips, the Dutch health, medical-device, and lighting company.
Philips Lifeline offers half a dozen product and service packages shown to improve seniors’ health and safety. They are:
- GoSafe home and mobile personal emergency response system, which includes automatic fall detection, two-way voice communication through the call button pendant, and round-the-clock monitoring
- HomeSafe Standard, an in-home personal emergency response system that includes a communication device, wearable help button, and monitoring
- HomeSafe with AutoAlert, which adds automatic fall detection and response to the HomeSafe Standard package
- Philips Lifeline Response App, which connects smartphone users to the Lifeline monitoring center and provides geographic coordinates to emergency responders
- Brain Fitness subscription programs that deliver brain games and track users’ progress to boost and maintain memory, reaction time, and other key mental skills
- Philips Medication Dispensing Service, which includes a loadable digital pill dispenser, Lifeline programming service to set up the medication schedule, and alerts to family members if a dose is missed
Philips is an FDA-registered medical device manufacturer, and Philips Lifeline provides monitoring clients with its own brand of communication devices. Monitoring centers are US-based and company-owned; no outsourced workers answer calls. For clients without landlines, wireless versions of both HomeSafe systems are available anywhere in AT&T’s cellular coverage area. Equipment alerts monitors if it’s not working properly or if batteries are low. Users can install the equipment themselves or have Philips Lifeline install it for a fee.
Philips Lifeline has been an accredited Better Business Bureau member since 2002 and maintains an A+ rating with the agency as of July 2015.
The procedure for adjusting the length of the call button pendant’s breakaway cord is simple but may be difficult for seniors with arthritis or mobility issues. Users are reminded not to knot the cord to shorten it. Customers must call to order service; online ordering is not available.
Clients who set up automatic monthly billing will not receive a paper invoice or receipt; charges will appear on the credit card or bank statement. Customers are not required to sign a long-term contract. Automatic billing stops as soon as the customer cancels the service.
- GoSafe monthly monitoring starts at $55 per month; customers must also purchase a GoSafe mobile call button for $149.
- HomeSafe Standard monitoring starts at $30 per month.
- HomeSafe with AutoAlert monitoring starts at $45 per month.
- Philips Lifeline Response App monitoring costs $14 and up per month.
- Brain Fitness computer and tablet access costs between $8 and $14 per month.
- Philips Medication Dispensing Service starts at $49 per month.
Seniors who are concerned about falls and balance; older adults who want to maintain mental acuity; seniors with complicated medication regimens; family members who don’t live nearby and want to ensure that their loved ones can get help quickly in an emergency.