Help for Seniors
Senior Emergency Initiative

Senior Power!

Challenge

Medical alert systems have unquestionable benefits. But they also carry with them some unfair stigmatizations and most seniors consider themselves too young and healthy to use them. This is especially so in Germany where medical alert systems are used almost exclusively by people over 80 with limited mobility, even though in an emergency, they can also prove useful to younger seniors.

We were asked to develop a public outreach campaign that would help younger active seniors see them more as a tool for maintaining their independence and vitality.

Insight

These days, old age is often equated with helplessness. When a person decides to use a medical alert system, it is as if they are basically acknowledging that they have become too old and feeble to take care of themselves. Instead, we wanted to connect medical alert systems to the positive aspects of aging. Without encumbrances of work or small children to care for, younger seniors have a renewed sense of independence. The best way to highlight this was to let them speak for themselves.

Method

We developed various projects to give seniors a platform to be heard. Through a media cooperation with a major national newspaper (Bild am Sonntag), we collected stories from older people and published them in a book that was then distributed to all members of German parliament. We also enlisted the help of well-known and respected senior citizens. Through intense press activities, further media cooperation with local newspapers, and with the help of a senior focus group, we promoted a simple message: medical alert systems help seniors lead fuller lives and set the minds of their loved ones at ease.

Results

Owing to the 35 million per year reach from our PR work, medical alert systems are now much more of a topical issue. This is true on a public level, in terms of the amount of political support and promotion behind them, and also privately, as seniors and their loved ones become more aware of how to best keep on living independently.