Bill and Virginia Heglund have enjoyed an incredible life together. The Ashland couple that first met at a school dance more than 60-years ago was immediately smitten with each other. The couple went on to marry, and, minus a brief stint in California, have made Ashland their home. Today, they are the proud parents of 5 grown children, 11 grand children and 7 great-grand children.
About 10 years ago, though, the couple began to worry about their safety. Virginia is wheelchair bound due to a polio diagnosis from the early 50s. At the time, Bill was still working and wasn’t around 24/7 to help if Virginia accidentally tipped her wheelchair or had another medical emergency.
The couple had heard of Lifeline through friends so they reached out to learn more. Lifeline is a personal emergency response system that links you to 24-hour assistance with the push of a button. The button can be worn on a neck cord or wrist strap, ensuring it is always with you. If you find yourself in an emergency, you simply push the button. A signal is sent out and specially trained personnel will immediately attempt to reach you. If assistance is needed, they will contact your list of contacts – either nearby friends or relatives, or in more serious situations, an ambulance or police.
The program is offered through Partners of Memorial Medical Center. Lifeline Coordinator Susan Lee says about 260 systems are installed in Ashland, Bayfield and Iron counties. Volunteers work with customers to install the systems and each month do a test call to make sure everything is working properly. Lee says the service is important to Partners to provide and is a benefit to the community. “This is an affordable and effective way to help seniors who want to remain independent feel safe at home. Each year, about 450 calls are made through our customers who need assistance. Many of these situations could have become much more serious or even fatal, if this system wasn’t available.”
After learning more about the program, they knew it was a good fit for them. “Just knowing it was available if needed, provides the security I need,” Virginia says.
In 2002, they had the service installed. Their plan through Northern Bridges assists with the bill, making it affordable. Soon after installation, Bill retired. Despite being home full-time, the couple decided the service was a good investment.
They were right. The couple has used the service on five different occasions—all for Bill. Virginia says the service more than once has saved his life. But even if it hadn’t been needed, the sense of security it provides is something you can’t put a price tag on. “I feel very safe that I’ve got it,” she says. “It gives a feeling of security that you can be helped immediately so if you are considering get one, I say ‘go for it!’”
If you are interested in learning more about the Lifeline Services of MMC, please call 715-685-5184. To sign up for Lifeline Service contact 1-800-242-1306 Ext. 4687.