Q. I live alone and my daughter wants me to get one of those devices that you wear around your neck and push to call for help in case of an emergency. I don't think I need one since I always carry my cellphone in my pocket. What do you think?
There are a variety of circumstances in which a cellphone won't help you. For example, if you fall on the side where the phone is and break that hip, the phone isn't going to do you any good. Or if you leave it in your purse while you are in the shower, it isn't going to help you. However, a personal emergency response system will help you because you wear it around your neck. It is waterproof, so you can even wear it in the shower.
How it works is quite simple. It involves just three components: a small radio transmitter (a light-weight, battery-powered “help” button worn on a chain around the neck or on a wrist band); a console that connects to your telephone; and an emergency response center that monitors the calls the system makes. When emergency help is needed, such as medical, fire, or police, you can press the transmitter's “help” button, sending a radio signal to the console. This causes the console to automatically dial one or more pre-selected emergency telephone numbers. Most of the systems that exist have the capability of dialing out, even if the phone is in-use or off-the-hook, making this a crucially important feature.