I bet there are going to be a lot of readers of this post who have no idea that the Red Cross offers the Lifeline Service, but I’m here to inform you and explain how this service touched my own personal life.
My grandmother is 88 years old and relatively healthy. Of course, she’s had her ailments like arthritis, shingles and a couple falls, but nothing too major, so she continues to live alone in her home. I can say that her independent living arrangement continues to be at her own insistence, because our family would like her to live somewhere that can provide her with some assistance with cleaning, meals and other things that you just don’t think about day-to-day, but she is still able to assert her independence, and she does. This seems typical of most aging folk. A compromise came a couple years ago, when she agreed to sign up for some sort of monitoring service with a button she could wear around her neck as her lifeline should she fall or become suddenly unable to reach the phone. (picture the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial from the early 90′s) This is where Lifeline came in. I was a new employee with the Red Cross, but urged my mother to choose the service with a tie to my new organization and she did.
Since becoming a subscriber to the service, my grandmother has made use of it more than once. I recall one time she took a small spill while trying to dust a higher shelf and the fall alerted Lifeline officials to check on her. That time, she was fine, but a more serious incident happened recently when she had to press the button for help. Dispatchers were able to call medics to her home and get in touch with my mom as well. In the end, she was able to get the medical help she needed.
After just 4 days in the hospital, doctors sent her home and she’s back in the care of Lifeline. The service has given her independence and it also gives me peace of mind knowing she has a Red Cross Lifeline to help.
Author of this post, Sara Smith is a Communications Specialist with the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania.