Land line or Cell ... You make the call
November 07, 2015
When Pat's husband went into anaphylactic shock after being stung by a bee, she didn't reach for her cell phone to call 911.
That, says 70-year-old woman, might have jeopardized his life. Instead, she made the call on the land line in her house. "I never know where the cell phone is. And the technology of these new phones is way past my generation's comprehension. It took me six months to learn how to use ours and it's still difficult sometimes," she explains.
Although the couple is on a tight budget, they'd never give up their landline. "I know I can rely on it," Pat says simply.
Yet, others are abandoning home phones, perhaps one of the greatest inventions of all times. According to a study by the CDC, about 35 percent of U.S. households have pulled the cord on their land lines.
And if Verizon is allowed to eliminate landline service in New York (and replace it with a wireless home telephone service) that figure will skyrocket.
The telecom giant's proposal drew the wrath of AARP, which claimed the move would harm consumers, especially the elderly. "The new system jeopardizes public safety because it is incompatible with life alert systems and security systems – crucial safety measures for older consumers," the advocacy group said in its plea to the PSC to reject Verizon's request.
In an emergency, a landline is the easiest way for response personnel to locate an address – it automatically displays on their screen. And let's face it, a crisis is traumatic enough. Not being able to remember your address – or a stroke victim who is unable to speak – could delay help if the call is made from a cellphone.
Ditto for medical alert and personal medical alert systems
which rely on landlines to keep the lines of communication open. We all want peace of mind knowing that our loved ones living alone are safe - and that the devices (phones and medical alert systems) that allow them to call for help will work – every time.
That's why a landline is so important. Having one is like opting for flood insurance: Buy it hoping you won't need it for an emergency – and be grateful it's there if disaster strikes.
We understand that these are tough economic times and that every cent counts. But pinching pennies is best left for items that don't compromise health and safety.
That said, we don't advocate eliminating cell phones. It's hard to imagine life without one. But their disadvantages - static-filled, choppy discussions, dwindling batteries or minutes which end a conversation at a most inopportune time –– make them a poor choice as the only phone for seniors to own.
And, landlines aren't just helpful in emergencies. They deliver clear dialog, especially important as our hearing diminishes. Multiple extension phones are easy to plug in throughout the house – making it easy to answer or make a call from any room.
These days, there are landlines designed especially for seniors – with large buttons, amplified hearing and options that dial preprogrammed numbers with just the press of a single button.
Land lines are vital for safety. But we realize it's a personal decision – and maybe we haven't convinced you not to ditch your landline. Don't worry - we've got you covered with the next best thing - a plug in cellular medical alert for in the home and a cellular GPS unit that you can take with you anywhere.
You make the call.