The Personal Emergency Response System — PERS for short — is a technology for home use that enables an older adult to call for help after a fall, crisis or emergency at home. The elder wears a radio transmitter in the form of a necklace, a bracelet/wristband or other device containing a personal help button that can be pushed down when help is needed. When the button is pushed, the device sends a signal to a console connected to a home telephone. A call is put through to an emergency call center, typically on the Mainland, which will then try to determine the nature of the crisis or emergency and how best to respond. (The console acts as both a speaker and a microphone; a voice extension device may be needed for larger homes.)

The action taken by the call center may be to contact a friend, neighbor or family member for help. Or, it may be to summon an ambulance, fire engine or proper authorities to the caller’s home address, depending on the problem. Be aware that there is a distance limit within which the transmitter and console can communicate. Typically, there is an installation fee for the service, a monthly payment and other costs such as enhanced but optional features. A PERS in the home often buys peace of mind for the elder and caregivers and can be a potentially lifesaving system, but be sure to investigate options before purchasing service from any company.

The Kupuna Monitoring Systems, Inc., previously advertised in the Herald and is one of the distributors of PERS in Hawai‘i. Its president is Cullen Hayashida, who is mentioned in the adjacent article. The Kupuna Monitoring Systems, Inc. it uses the Philips Lifeline 6900 system. You can learn more about PERS from the company’s website at or call (808) 721-1201. You can also read about the automatic medication dispensing system on the website.
— Kevin Kawamoto


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