Senior Living Facility “Emergency Alert” Systems Aren’t

My wife with dementia and I moved into a newly-opened assisted living center four years ago. The biggest concern brought up at our community meetings was the dangerously slow "emergency alert" system: The wall chains and their bracelet and pendent counterparts. I call them glorified doorbells, because all they do is electronically ping an alert to staff; it can take 20 minutes for someone to respond to find out if we need a glass of water or are bleeding to death. This is a faux emergency system.

We complained to corporate management but got nowhere. This appears to be the industry standard, accepted by state and county regulators. This is ridiculous because, as you know, 21st-century devices that connect instantly to a live, decision-making respondent are widely advertised in senior-care publications.

This 21st-century system needs to be the industry standard. But I've heard the industry does not adopt this technology because companies don't want to set themselves up to liability. Also it requires a capital expenditure.

That makes it ultimately a political issue. The assisted-living industry must be required by law to install instant-live-contact systems—at least for large companies with, say, 5000 beds across multiple facilities. (That would include ours, with 30+ facilities nationwide.) Otherwise all those residents will remain at risk. 

If senior advocates can get a bill or regulation considered by a major state legislature, the medical alert industry would quickly see a whole new market for them. Right now they sell their systems one subscriber at a time. They would be naturals to expand to marketing their products as as facility-wide, even company-wide systems, serving all of a senior-living company's multiple facilities from one station. High-powered lobbying sould serve their self-interest.

This demand just needs a nudge. Let's start here.