Press Release - Monday, September 18, 2023
Department on Aging Announces Enhancements to Emergency Home Response Service
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Older adults enrolled in the Illinois Department on Aging's (IDoA) Emergency Home Response Service (EHRS) will soon have the option to add fall detection technology, GPS monitoring, or both features to their medical alert device, enhancing participants' safety in their home and throughout the community.
IDoA announced the service enhancements on the first day of Falls Prevention Awareness Week, a nationwide observance with state coalitions and partners to raise awareness on preventing falls, reducing the risk of falls, and helping older adults live without fear of falling.
"Falls are a leading cause of injuries for people aged 65 and older," said IDoA Director Paula Basta. "While prevention is always the goal, it's important to be prepared for a fall and have a plan to get help quickly. The addition of automatic fall detection technology to EHRS can provide extra security for older adults who are at a high risk of falling."
IDoA's EHRS provides eligible older adults with a two-way voice communication system consisting of a base unit and an activation device worn by the participant, typically a pendant necklace, but wrist and waist devices are also available. Pushing a button on the device will link the older adult to a professionally staffed support center within 60 seconds. Depending on the nature of the emergency, support center personnel are trained to either immediately dispatch first responders or alert a pre-selected emergency contact, such as a neighbor or family member who lives nearby.
As the nation kicks off Falls Prevention Awareness Week on Sept. 18, IDoA is preparing to launch EHRS enhancements, including the optional addition of fall detection technology to pendant devices. The new technology can recognize falls when they happen and automatically notify a local support center, increasing the likelihood that an older adult will be quickly found and brought to safety in the case of an incapacitating fall.
Participants will also have the option to upgrade their pendant to one with GPS monitoring, expanding protection outside the range of the base unit in their home. Older adults will be protected from falls in their yard, driveway, while shopping, and doing other activities outside the home. GPS monitoring can also bring peace of mind to family members of dementia patients who may wander and become lost.
EHRS participants should contact their Care Coordinator for questions about the forthcoming service enhancements. Older adults seeking to receive EHRS must meet all physical and financial eligibility criteria for the Community Care Program and can contact IDoA's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 for questions about the enrollment process.
IDoA serves and advocates for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote partnerships and encourage independence, dignity, and quality of life. For information about the Department's programs and services for older adults and persons with disabilities, visit https://ilaging.illinois.gov/programs.html or contact the Senior HelpLine toll-free at 1-800-252-8966, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.