Through funding from Allegany County United Way, Lifeline
units (Personal Emergency Response Devices) are made available in the homes of
people over 60 years of age, who live alone or are alone for long periods of
time. The Lifeline unit is hooked up to
the telephone. The person wears a button transmitter that they push if they
need help in an emergency. When the button is pushed, a Lifeline worker speaks
to the person through the unit’s speaker.
If necessary, the Lifeline worker calls neighbors, family, friends, or
emergency workers to assist the person in trouble.
Lifeline has an installation charge as well as a monthly
service fee. For some people, these fees
are more than their budget can bear.
United Way funding makes it possible for individuals in Allegany County who
cannot afford the fees to have a Lifeline unit.
The funding is accessed by the Allegany County Office for the Aging who
administers the Lifeline Program.
Earlier this year, Lifeline helped save the life of an
elderly man in Fillmore. The man fell down with a stroke but was able to press
his button. Minutes later, emergency services were dispatched by Lifeline
at 10:13 (his responders could not go so 911 was called). Just 40 minutes
later, the response center documented that they had talked with the EMTs and he
had been Mercy Flighted to a Stroke Center. His family, who lived in
Pennsylvania, was notified.
Lifeline made the difference in getting help for this man in
that critical golden hour for stroke and heart attack victims. What would
have happened if all he had was a phone?
With the rising cost of health care and cuts in local
services and programs, increasing numbers of seniors cannot afford the $31 a
month to pay for the Lifeline service. Thanks to Allegany County United Way,
and Allegany County Office for the Aging funding for this is available for this
critical service. Older adults who have Lifeline units will be able to safely
remain in their own homes longer, reducing strain on families and healthcare
For more information on the Lifeline Program, call the
Allegany County Office for the Aging at 585-268-9390.