My Story: How Lifeline Helps Jane Matheson Worry Less About Her 95 Year-old Mother


My mother, Virginia Coley, is a spunky, 95-year-old lady who wants her independence. She lives in an apartment near my home. She does things on her own schedule and comes and goes as she pleases. Mother enjoys good health, except for mild hypertension and difficulty hearing. As often as possible, she exercises at Fitness Plus on CVMC’s campus. I tried, for over three years, to convince mother to subscribe to the Lifeline Emergency Response System. Last year I took her for an office visit with her internal medicine provider. Lisa looked at mother and said, “Virginia, you NEED to subscribe to Lifeline.” That’s all it took – hearing it from someone other than me.

That afternoon, I called Carol Robinson, Lifeline Coordinator for CVMC. The monthly subscription is very affordable and there’s no installation fee. I asked Carol to put mother on the installation schedule. Josh Blanton installed mother’s system and slowly and clearly explained to her how to use the button and base unit, which comprise the system. She pressed the button and within 15 to 20 seconds a response team member answered. Josh is absolutely wonderful with seniors, especially those with hearing issues.

By pressing the button worn around their neck or the button on the base unit, subscribers can activate the system. A response team member answers, and the subscriber can ask them to contact family, paramedics, police or the fire department. How to gain access to one’s dwelling can be included in instructions to Lifeline. The benefits of the system are huge – safety, security, quality of life and peace of mind for the subscriber and their families and loved ones.

The button hangs from a hypoallergenic cord, with a break-away feature, around mother’s neck. Both the button and cord are waterproof and she wears it 24/7. The base unit picks up signals from the button within a 600’ radius, allowing mother to visit neighbors or take a short walk.

Mother has been a subscriber since May 12, 2014. Each subscriber or family member can choose the order in which the Lifeline response team summons help when the system is activated. An activation could result from the subscriber pressing the button or when the button detects a fall. If there’s no coherent response by the subscriber, the team member makes calls per instructions they have on file. In mother’s case, since we live so close, the team calls us at home, then our mobile numbers until they reach us. One of us is usually home so most likely they’ll reach us there. Once contacted, we make a decision, based on where we are and what mother’s verbal response was, whether to check on her or ask them to call paramedics and police. We can, at any time, change how help is to be summoned.

Mother’s system was activated once after 11:30 pm when the button detected a fall and she didn’t respond, except to say, “I’m OK”. Mother removes her hearing aids at bedtime which is why she didn’t understand the response team’s questions.  We decided to go check on her and got there in less than three minutes. Thank goodness she was all right.

My husband, Robert, and I now have peace of mind that mother is so much safer living alone now that she has Lifeline.

Please contact Carol Robinson at (828) 485-2696 or by email ( for more information on a system like mother’s or the new “Go Safe” system for active seniors which will find you anywhere in the US, even in a skyscraper in California.

Thanks to our contributing author – Jane Matheson

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