The proportion of the elderly to the total population in the US is a significant 12.9%, according to figures from the Administration of Aging. In addition, the percentage is expected to increase to 19% by the year 2030. The best way to take care of this section of the population is to remain connected to them while helping them remain safe and independent. The advancement of technology has led to the development of several unique communication systems that allow the elderly to contact their loved ones at any time. One of these is two way radios.
These days more and more elderly people prefer to spend their retirement days in the luxury and safety of their own homes rather than senior citizen homes or homes for the elderly. This is possible by refurbishing their existing homes to include the latest communication systems that make it easier to communicate with the outside world, along with other amenities designed specifically for the elderly or infirmed. Two way radios have emerged as a highly popular communication product that allow the elderly to remain in touch with their care givers and loved ones, whether they are spending time working in the garden, relaxing in the living room or playing golf two way radios provide security and piece of mind. Two way radios are also equipped with special features that can prove useful for these tasks.
Need for Two Way Radios for the Elderly
As a person grows older their physical health deteriorates and many of their vital organs may not function to the full capacity. Failing eye sight, weak muscles, and the inability to move around fast are some of the common problems that may hinder the daily activities and free movement of an elderly person. This makes them prone to accidents and illnesses that need timely attention. Speed becomes a mater of life and death. Although a caregiver can provide his/her full attention to taking care of the elderly, the latter may not wish to lose their independence. The best way to take care of the elderly while allowing them their independence is by using an effective two way communication system, such as radios. This ensures that both the parties can contact each other any time they wish to do so. A caregiver can even go out for their routine tasks without worrying about the elderly person if he/she knows that there is an effective two way communication system between them.
Using and Buying Two Way Radios for the Elderly
A caregiver’s time is usually spent attending to the basic needs of the elderly and this task can be simplified by using two way radios as an effective channel of communication. A simple push of a button allows you to communicate with your loved ones while doing other household chores. One might ask- why not use mobile phones? A major advantage offered by two way radios over mobile phones is they don’t have to rely on any mobile network and communications are instantaneous.
Based on the concept of radio frequencies that are always present in the air, the two way radios operate almost anywhere. This means the elderly can take them wherever they go, with the assurance that they can contact anyone in times of emergency or even when they wish to pass on a simple message. The elderly often wish to engage in a variety of activities, such as gardening, going walks, visiting the library or just pursuing their hobbies. The presence of a two way radio will encourage them to undertake these activities freely without worrying about how to get in touch with their care giver in times of need. Quick communication is very important in case of mishaps and accidents.
Two way radios have a built in transmitter, antenna and speaker. These radios may come with an internal rechargeable battery that can be charged by plugging it into the power outlets or with standard replaceable batteries that can be easily bought from the market. You can choose whichever one is more convenient for you. These radios use two types of frequencies:
- Family Radio Service- In this case transmission is possible up to two miles. Also, no license is required and usage costs are very low.
- General Mobile Radio Service- Such two way radios are designed for long range communication. However, you need to get a license for using this service.
Benefits of Two Way Radios for the Elderly
Some of the benefits of two way radios are:
- These radios are very sturdy and continue to work even if they are dropped, submitted to the effects of rain, dust or sand and operate in extreme temperatures.
- They are very easy to use and require only the push of the button to talk.
- The hand held models can easily be attached to your belt or other accessories leaving your hands free to do other work.
- They can be used anywhere so you can carry the device around with you at all times.
- They are not expensive. You can communicate at very low costs without relying on any type of cell phone services. You do not have to pay any monthly charges, any roaming charges or choose from various monthly plans.
- Some two way radios also provide you with regular alerts about weather conditions and warn you of possible hazardous weather.
- You can choose from a variety of designs and models, such as handheld devices or wireless base station intercoms.
- The two way feature of these radios allows the caregivers to regularly check on the well being of the elderly. This is highly useful as the elderly who often have hearing problems may not be able to hear your voice from the other room.
- These radios also have inbuilt features like an LED torch and an LCD display.
- You can use them for short as well as long distance communication depending on the type of model you pick.
- Some models can easily be submersed in water for about half an hour or so without any damage, thus allowing elders to carry these radios while swimming or bathing.
- These two way radios are even ideal for usage by the physically disabled.
Apart from usage in households, two way radio systems are also highly useful in nursing homes. Here again the focus is on providing timely attention to the elderly and this is possible through instant communication.
A variety of two way radio models are available in the market and many of these offer several unique features. When choosing a two way radio system, you study the various features and their utility for taking care of the elderly. You need to choose one, which can be easily carried and operated by the elderly in your home. Before you purchase a system, check for its Ingress Protection or IP rating. The IP rating signifies the two way radio’s resistance to foreign objects and moisture. Look for a radio that is easy to hold and carry and features buttons that are clearly visible. These two way radios are available with varied price tags that range from under $50 to hundreds of dollars.
Once you’ve bought the system you need to take certain precautions to ensure that it operates effectively – ·
- First you should check that the antenna is firmly attached and operational.
- Always ensure that the batteries are fully charged. This will ensure that communications are clear. ·
- Test the signal quality from time to time to ensure that the two way radio works properly. The signals should be loud and clear for effective communication. This is even more important as older people may not be able to speak loudly.
- Always end your messages with ‘over’, when the final message is sent. This is an indication for the listener that your message is complete and that they can carry on with their work. ·
- Educate the elderly on how to use the two way radio system for communication.
Taking care of the elderly can be taxi on the care giver, both mentally and physically but can be simplified with the use of two way radio communication systems.