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Keychain storage device holds emergency info for seniors

Original post made on Apr 7, 2013

An offhand question from a Palo Alto octogenarian has sparked a new product that is being offered free -- or nearly free -- to local seniors.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, April 7, 2013, 8:31 AM

Comments (17)

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Posted by Harriet
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 7, 2013 at 8:50 am

What a novel idea. Sure beats carring your wallet, etc.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 9:05 am

Sorry to sound skeptical, but depending on the information one of these devices could be very useful to criminals. I would hate to see seniors becoming targets for muggers who want to get their hands on seniors ids.

Criminals may not be interested in medical history, but if they put ssn and addresses as well as putting this on a key ring with house keys, then the world is their oyster. Don't put social security details or addresses on these - or anything else that could be used as ID.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

I mean, if the name is there, even an address can be found to go along with the key (eg by looking up the name in a phone book) and then they know how to open the door of the senior's home. Never put anything on a key fob that can identify the owner.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 9:41 am

Sorry to post a third time (perhaps editors can merge them) but this really bothers me.

As soon as I saw this in the printed version I got worried. My own mother likes to walk in her own neighborhood (not Palo Alto) and I have made sure that she walks with her key and a phone, nothing else. The phone has ICE (in case of emergency) numbers facility on the first screen which gets anyone able to contact me or 2 other family members who will immediately recognize the phone number and be able to give whatever information is needed in a true emergency. If I get called by this number, I will immediately ask for hospital name and number to clarify that this is a genuine emergency before giving out any type of information - knowing that if the caller has the phone then they also have my mother's key but they do not have her name or her address.

I would not want my mother carrying this device. If other seniors start carrying all their important info with them, it makes all seniors targets.

Please think this through. In my opinion, this is not a safe device. A senior is very vulnerable to a mugger because they are so easily overcome by a strong, young person.

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Posted by May Whee
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

"Seniors fill out a simple paper "ER INFO" form with their name, birth date, primary medical conditions, medications and dosages, allergies, preferred physician and hospital, insurance and emergency contact. Avenidas loads the information onto the flash drives."



The info given is enough to get them to their primary hospital, ICE, and contact insurance co. That should get things started.

I will say that I don't like them using an exact date of birth because that is too revealing, a year only would be preferred. I'm sure that a primary and insurance could figure out exactly who with that info.

Otherwise, it's a fantastic idea. Good work!

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm

May Whee

Yes, there is no mention of an address or ssn, but there is still information which can lead to an id.The long article in the printed version is not as consise as the article online. Most safety articles I have looked at emphasise that house keys should have no information attached to them. Keys are regularly lost by anyone at all sorts of places.

As soon as they have the name, particularly as most seniors have their names in the phone book, they can be found quite easily.

It is up to individuals obviously, but I would still remain wary of this.

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Posted by Retired Staffer
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Kaiser offers a similar device to its members. I had a medical event on a cruise ship off Central America and the ship's doctor used it to provide me with medication that made the trip tolerable. If someone wants to use this to obtain personal information, they could use a wallet, too!

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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

If you folks are paranoid, then just put your doctor's phone number and emergency contact phone numbers on the device. Too often, we hear about pedestrians being nailed by cars and social workers at the hospital having a real hard time figuring out who the person is.

An ICE listing on your cell phone is becoming less and less useful as police recommend password protecting your phone to make it less desirable to street thieves. Besides, if you are really worried about muggers, they can pretty easily figure out your cell phone number and then figure out your home address from there.

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Posted by Stella the tatooed lady
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Apr 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Great idea!!

But I always forget m, ummmm, uh, so..... nice day, ain't it?

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Posted by Mark
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm

While I really like this idea, I would remind people that some hospitals have VERY strict policies about inserting USB drives into their computers, for fear of viruses and malware being uploaded into their intranet system.

It is probably important that a family member or loved one has a hard copy of this emergency information so it can be brought to the Emergency Department if necessary.

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Posted by Felicity
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 9, 2013 at 11:07 am

Sheez. Over thinking a simple solution at its best. How about just putting emergency contact info? And a code name for the person? Call that person or persons and have them provide all the pertinent info.

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Posted by DC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm

This is such a good idea, but I do understand concerns stated. How about a person-specific simple code assigned to each person, say, 1761A, 8477R, etc and THAT number, entered into the person's local hospital/VA system, pulls up the medical/personal info? The basic info is available to those who need to to initiate care (including paramedics), and would include the contact person info. The "info" device (Info'D"?), be it a dogtag, or a choice of shapes, simply has the code and local hospital name/ph number in case the person is OOT. Medical facilities do give each other patient information once confirmation re who's asking and patient permission (or their MPOA) has been granted. No other system other than the person's local hospital would know what 1761A meant. Rather like a Medic Alert, but minimally expensive since no intermediary person. PS do not rec putting physician info as contact since physician offices close, whereas hospitals always have med records staff available.

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Posted by DC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm

PS I forgot to mention that a contact person might not be immediately available creating potential delays for the best treatment for that individual which, in turn, could negatively affect outcomes. The fastest possible access to patient info can be critical. A hospital is open 24/7. Just a thought.

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Posted by Norman Carroll
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

For skeptical Resident ----
What you seem to think is the best idea is to carry no wallet to or keys to be stolen by a mugger with a gun......
Carry no ID and leave your home unlocked....good idea, they won't have to break a window or kick in the door...............

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Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm

My grandmother (92) has one from Avenidas. I think it's a great idea. She still drives, goes for walks, etc. If anything happened, it has all her medical information needed by emergency personell.
She also has the Life Alert since she lives alone and is in her garden EVERY day, pulling weeds, planting, watering, whatever else people do in their gardens! LOL!
Thanks Avenidas!

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Posted by LauraR
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2013 at 7:14 am

What wonderful and helpful comments! They made me re-think this program. Another idea is Medical ID bracelets and necklaces that can contain vital information.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Portola Valley

on Jun 4, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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