If your parent’s doctor has told them they need a pacemaker, you might be wondering if the things you’ve heard about pacemakers being affected by electronics are true. The truth is that some of them just might be. Experts say there are certainly some things your parent should be careful with after getting a pacemaker. Below are some devices your parent should be aware of and safety precautions for using them.
The American Heart Association states that modern cell phones aren’t likely to cause a problem with pacemakers, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees. However, since cell phone technology changes rapidly, it may be wise to take some precautions. The FDA says that people with pacemakers should avoid carrying a cell phone that is on in a shirt or jacket pocket close to the pacemaker. They also suggest holding the phone to the ear on the side opposite the pacemaker.
If your parent uses an MP3 player, they should know that there is a magnetic substance inside the headphones that can interfere with pacemakers if they get to near. Both headphones and earbuds contain this substance. To avoid problems, headphones should be kept about an inch and a half or more away from pacemakers. People wearing headphones should not rest their heads against the chest of someone with a pacemaker. Headphones should not be placed in the shirt pocket of someone with a pacemaker and they should not let headphones dangle from their neck.
Metal Detectors Used for Security
Although it’s unlikely that a metal detector will harm your parent’s pacemaker, the American Heart Association still recommends caution. They say that people with pacemakers should not lean against security systems or stand near them longer than necessary. If your parent is somewhere that requires being scanned with a handheld metal detector, let the person know that they have a pacemaker and not to hold the detector near the device for too long.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) says that it is okay for those with pacemakers to continue using their household electronics. However, they should avoid prolonged exposure to electronics and should not stand too close to them.
When a pacemaker is new, it’s easy for seniors to forget some of the instructions they’ve been given. There may also be some recovery time after having the device implanted. An elder care provider can help. Elder care providers can come to your parent’s home following the medical procedure to assist them. They can assist with things around the house that your parent might find too difficult, such as cooking and cleaning. Elder care providers can also remind your parent to follow safety precautions with electronic devices.
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