A backup plan when the caregiver is away: The story of Bernadine and Stephanie
Bernadine is a strong woman. The 81-year-old has survived two sons and a divorce from her husband of 50 years.
“I just have Stephanie and Andrea now,” Bernadine says of her daughter, whom she lives with.
Recently, her strength was tested again, when a fall left her unable to move her arm or speak clearly. Fortunately, her daughter was there to call 911.
But after the accident, Stephanie says she worried about what would have happened if Bernadine had been alone. She works outside the home sometimes 10 or 12 hours a day.
“It was very, very scary,” Stephanie says, when she imagined how long her mother might have gone without help. “It could have been hours. If I was out of town, it could have been days.”
Stephanie bought her mother a voice-activated Constant Companion smart speaker. The device acts as a medical alert because her mom can call for assistance from anywhere in the house and be connected to an urgent response center.
Bernadine can also make and answer calls, play games, and listen to music. The first evening she got the new speaker, she says, neighbors stopped in to check it out. Now they call Bernadine regularly to chat. Bernadine also enjoys playing 20 Questions and listening to songs from the 1970s.
For Stephanie, the device has brought more peace of mind. “Knowing that my mom is always safe and taken care of and has help basically just by saying, ‘I need help,’ is a big relief,” Stephanie says.
Bernedine and Stephenie Video Transcript
My name is Stephenie Steiger. I am from Butler, Pennsylvania. My mom, Bernedine, is 81 and uses the Constant Companion smart speaker. My mom and I live together. I leave for work and sometimes I’m gone ten to twelve hours a day. She’s alone all that time by herself.
Generally, my mom’s health is very good, but she had some type of episode where she just, you know, fell. A dish broke. We had to call the ambulance. It was very, very scary. And thankfully we were there to help her and assist her in calling 9-1-1 in the ambulance. But, had we not been there, I don’t know how long she could have laid on the floor. It could have been hours. If I was out of town, it could have been days.
So my mom has had the smart speaker for around two weeks. The whole entire neighborhood came over the night she got it. She got so many phone calls from everybody using it. She just loves it. She loves the 20 questions. She loves that it plays the 70s music for her.
They call her a couple times a week just to check in on her to make sure she’s OK.* That’s a big relief, knowing that should she need something smart speaker is there to help her. We can’t always be there. And things happen at this age, so we don’t know what tomorrow holds or even five minutes later. So knowing that my mom is always safe and taken care of and has help, basically just by saying I need help is a big relief for us.
*Bernedine has signed up for Daily Care Calls, an option available to Companion 24/7 Members for an added fee.