Both my mom and my mother in law are living independently in their later years. We have had a few instances this year where we thought this was not going to be possible for much longer.
If you are a member of the sandwich generation like me, then you know that the worries of rearing small children gets replaced by the worries of looking after our older parents. As they age, the parent/child roles get reversed. Our parents need more care and assistance as they find it challenging to perform various tasks. Often, they do not welcome or want the additional help. Ah yes, I see you shaking your head in agreement. This is the challenging part for the caregiver and can becomes a delicate dance of monitoring them while trying to give them the space to maintain their independence. It requires patience, understanding, and sometime a little subterfuge.
Fortunately for us, things have stabilized and both of them are firmly committed to remaining independent in their homes for as long as possible. I have heard this referred to as “aging in place.”
Their safety is an ongoing concern and when VTech asked me to review their VTech CareLine SN6197 phone, I was interested learn the features of the phone and to review it as both a caregiver and a consumer. Vtech has sponsored this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.
Solutions for the Sandwich Generation – Safety, Affordability and Easy to Use
The VTech Home Safety System is a lot of equipment for the price. It retails for $119.95 and there are no monthly monitoring fees, no installation fees, and no contracts. It is a very affordable alternative to other monitoring systems that do require a monthly fee.I am quite impressed with this phone and all of its features.
Technology can be a wonderful tool, but it cannot be too complicated. The VTech Careline SN6197 phone connects to a phone jack and can be fully functional in just a few minutes. My husband and I are using the phone here at home and are going to set it up for my mother-in-law when my review is completed.
A Three Part System
The VTech Careline SN6197 comes with a regular corded phone which has an answering system, a cordless phone with a charger base, and a portable safety pendant that also sits in a charger base.
The Safety Pendant
The safety pendant is lightweight and easy to wear around your neck or it can be clipped to a waistband or belt.
There are two buttons on the pendant which correspond to the first two numbers programmed in as the first and second speed dial numbers. We set up the first one for 911 and the second one for the next-door neighbor. When immediate assistance is needed, one of the buttons can be pushed to summon help. No third-party operator needed.
Last month, I was testing a different monitoring system that my mom uses and pays a subscription fee to use. I was very dismayed that the first time I tested the emergency response feature, it took a full 3 minutes for the operator to come on the line. I tested it again the next day and the response time was better.
With the VTech phone, if you have 911 programmed as one of your first two numbers, your call with go straight to the 911 operator and again, it will not be routed first through a third-party operator and there is no monthly service fee for this important feature.
The safety pendant can become the primary communication device if the user is bedridden, using a walker or a cane, or would have trouble holding a handset or portable phone. The pendant can be used for emergencies and for everyday conversations.
The Portable Phone or Cordless Handset
The cordless headset can be used as an intercom with the base unit. It has range of 600 feet and is back-lit for easy viewing. You can retrieve messages from the handset and use the speakerphone option for hands-free conversations. If the volume is turned down or hearing is impaired, a light flashes at the top of the handset to indicate an incoming call.
The Touch Tone Telephone Base Phone with Answering System