Each workday starts in the makeshift office next to my mother's bedroom. Before starting my day, I peek into my mother's room to check if she's awake.
As I approached the office one morning, I could hear my mother squeak out my name. Her voice was weak. I learned she had been calling me at some point in the night, and sadly, I couldn't hear her call.
My mother slightly lifted her head to quietly say, "I need water."
With cold water to the rescue, I raised her hospital bed so she could safely swallow.
Each time she gulped her water, she smiled and whispered, "It's good."
Her thirst quenched, she later shared; that at one point during the night, she was gasping for air and couldn't breathe. She said, "I thought this was it...I won't live to see the morning."
My heart sank and I was disappointed in myself for not hearing her plea for help.
Even though my mother has a call button at her bedside, she didn't think her need was critical enough to press the button. This was a moment of realization for me. My mother was unable to practically manage her way through emergencies.
When I asked my mother why didn't press the alert button, she said that it was "loud" and she didn't want to go to the hospital.
I explained to my mother that gasping for air is a medical emergency; and she should never be afraid to press the button. I would have awakened at the sound of the call center; and immediately checked in on her.
I knew then that I needed another solution for my mother to ensure that she felt comfortable with during her time of need.
I looked into baby monitors and was overwhelmed by the number of options. The more I thought about it, I didn't want to be awakened throughout the night by random noises.
Next, I considered purchasing a walkie talkie. I like the signal strength reach from one end of the house to the other. But I soon realized that it would require too much effort for my mother to operate the system. Since receiving her MS diagnosis, my mother has experienced intimidation and fear while using electronics, including a phone.
Because my home is a little more than 2,500 square feet; and our bedrooms are on opposite ends of the home, I wanted to ensure the system had enough strength to reach either ends.
Then I found the CalltoU Caregiver Pager.
This alert system is call button with a receiver that rings at the push of a button. The Call ToU Company site also provides several products to address your communication needs.
The system is easy to set up and has more than adequate signal strength. I keep the receiver in my bedroom and the call button is at my mother's bedside. There is a second button next to at the chair she sits in during the day. The receiver is conveniently mobile.
Now, if my mother ever needs immediate help, I will ever miss her call again and can respond quickly and easily.
There are more electronics that can assist you on your caregiving journey. If you have a specific item you've found success with the in the past, please share by commenting below.