Medical Alert Systems for Seniors in Emergencies

Medical alert systems have gained a lot of popularity recently and there are many reasons why. It is no news that medical emergency is always an emergency and you can hardly get ready for it; however, you can still try to prevent it as much as you can. This especially refers to the senior members of a family or those with serious and chronic illnesses, whose health both frequently deceases with age and they require more attention and care than others.

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Major Features
  • Monitoring Range i In feet. The range of buttons' activity with regards to a distance from a base unit. Basic in-home version
  • Battery Life i The range of time that a base unit can serve uncharged. Basic in-home version
  • Automatic Fall Detection i The feature that allows an automatic signal to be sent to a call center in case a person has fallen down
  • UL Certified i The company has got a certificate of UL; which means all the requirements are met
  • 911 Mobile Phone i 911 calls from mobiles are supported in case landline is unavailable
Optional Features
  • Wall Mounted Buttons i Additional buttons - e.g. in the bathroom, for extra cost
  • Lockbox i Lockbox keeps your keys safe, optional feature, extra cost
  • CO, fire&smoke monitoring i CO, fire&smoke monitoring - optional features, extra cost
  • GPS i GPS - location identification feature, optional feature, extra cost
  • Check-In Service i The service makes regualr check-up of a system functioning well and faultless, optional features, extra cost
Payment Options
  • Fees for Basic in-home version i The price for a subscription for a landline phone line
  • No Cancellation Fees i Cancelling a subscription is free of charge
  • No Activation Fees i Equipment activation is free of charge
  • Payment Plan Options i The service offers/doesn't offer various payment plans to choose from
Support Options
  • Support i Options of support offered by a company to their cusomers
  • Languages Supported i The number of languages supported by the service
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Unfortunately, it is impossible to be around your family all the time and be able to take the necessary measures. In this respect personal emergency response systems are pretty much the solution to many people.

They are very helpful in such cases when a person has got heart problems, or seizures, or else and there is a possibility of losing conscience and/or falling. The alert devices will do exactly what is needed to be done in such cases – they notify the closet person so that aid could be delivered and fast.

The history of medical alert systems dates back to 70s when their first analogue was introduced. At that time it was a very simple device that looked like a push button and it was mostly supposed to be worn around a person’s neck. The signal from it was transmitted to some base station which in its turn was connected to a house phone like. The system was pretty simple and it meant to send an alert signal to the operator of the call center, the latter then forwarded it to the relevant medical assistance option.

At the present moment the devices have become much more sophisticated and varied and it is possible to place them not only at a person’s neck, but also at their wrist and even all over the house, if necessary. Some modern devices also allow two-side communication and other most sensitive ones are able to detect a fall on their own and send a signal for help on their own accord.

Medical alert systems are mostly aimed to help people with chronic illness, serious health condition that requires constant monitoring and senior people who suffer from various health problems. They are aimed to prevent a person being left unattended in the situation of falling or any situation in general that needs immediate medical or other assistance. The devices can also be helpful in cases of memory loss and problems with eyesight when a person is not in the immediate danger or emergency; however, might need a certain kind of assistance. In this case close relatives or friends will be notified at once.

Choosing a Medical Alert System that Is Right for You

The choice of various medical alert systems is very broad nowadays and the devices differ in purpose and complexity of functions. It is important to understand who you purchase the device for, their health condition and requirements, and what is it exactly that you expect from the device.

  • There are special systems that are only work for a certain disability, for instance, the ones for people with the history of stroke or heart attack; or that react for seizures, or else.
  • The devices also differ with regards to the place on a person’s body – they can be pendants or wristbands. Both options can be either suitable or unsuitable in different cases depending on a person’s health condition; thus, this aspect also requires consideration.
  • Some medical alert systems presuppose additional buttons placement around the house, if necessary.
  • There is always a choice of contacts for help, in case one is needed. The list should also be thought through carefully and the more people nearby can be reached, the better.
  • It is important to make sure that each package has got a set of backup batteries and that they are stored somewhere at hand.
  • The modern devices include a portable device and a base station – it is important to make sure that a base station can be reached from every point of your yard and house.

They work 24 / 7 / 365

Medical alert systems usually work 24/7 and their call centers have at the very least two operators on duty each shift. As it has been mentioned, the pack includes a wristband and/or a pendant, both waterproof, and a second set of batteries as well as a number of features, some of them optional (like GPS tracking and 911 connection, when you appear out of the landline range and etc.) Upon choosing the most suitable medical alert system for your near-and-dear, make sure you really understand what they need in the first place.

Additional Things To Consider

One of the most important things to remember about medical alert system purchase is to remember that you buy a service. It presupposes several things to be taken into consideration – installation, activation, shipment of the equipment as well as the choice of a payment plan. Different companies offer different plans and options and it makes sense to make a decision which company’s offer is the most beneficial for your situation.

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  • Installation & Activation Fees. First of all, installation and activation are free of charge with most companies, however, they might cost something with some medical alert systems and it makes sense to learn whether it is the case with the company you’ve chosen.
  • Shipping Fees. The same refers to shipping costs – most companies ship their product free of charge provided that you sign up with their subscription plan. However, it also makes sense to learn whether any hidden costs can be associated with this or that medical alert system in question as any fee can add to the general price of the system.
  • Payment Plans. Different companies have different plans – this issue requires time to consider. The contracts can be short-term and long-term and it is better to learn the subscription features in advance in order not to get stuck with the contract you cannot end.
  • Cancellation Policy. The plan choice is connected to the cancellation policy – this is also very important to check. Long-term contracts with problematic or complicated cancellation policy are not really convenient as you can never know how long you are going to need the system, or whether its functioning will meet your requirements to the extent you expect it to. Make sure you won’t get any complications cancelling your subscription.
  • Money Back Guarantee. Next essential thing to research is the option of money back guarantee in case you are dissatisfied with the service. A good and reliable company offers such option; however, you should also learn what you will have to face in case of cancelling the service: how much amount of refund you are entitled to and whether the return of the equipment will be at a company’s or your expense, and etc.Refund terms can be different and with most companies it takes from a fortnight up to a month to process a refund. It makes sense to learn about other customers’ experience of dealing with this particular company – how good is their support and whether it is as good as they usually claim it to be.

Types of Medical Alert Systems

Take into consideration that medical alert systems are mostly divided into two groups – they are home stations and mobile stations. There are also some other medical alert system options, such as smart watch and fall detection devices and so on – but when it comes to systems in the first place, there are these two major types. Choose the one that meets your demands in the first place.

  • Home Stations. Home stations are stationary systems that are connected to a house landline or cellular network. This is a basic version of a medical alert system that most companies offer to their customers with their simplest plan.
  • Mobile Stations. Mobile stations are connected to a mobile device as opposed to landline. They are also more convenient as the signal will be received wherever you are at home or out and they are also programmed to track a person’s location with the help of GPS. This type of a system is more convenient to people who move around a lot.
  • Mobile App. Some services allow you to add a mobile application onto your phone that connects with its medical alert system.
    Some companies offer mobile application that works by connecting to a stationary medical alert system. However, not all companies have such an app on offer.

Monitoring Center Information

Many people take the location of a company’s monitoring center into consideration and the reason is quite understandable. There are two options here – a company has got their own monitoring center, or it uses some company (in the U.S. or abroad) to do this work. Surely, most consumers are prone to consider the former option as a more reliable one as well as the one that has a better service quality. In reality, this might not necessarily be the case; however, the fact of in-house and owned monitoring center is a great “pro” for many customers, and to a very great extent it is an indicator of a company’s commitment to providing quality service.

The same refers to the professional level of the company’s operators. Most companies take in only certified and trained operator who can provide the most appropriate assistance in all situations.

Last but not the least, is to take a company’s certifications as well as accreditations into consideration as:

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  • UL certification (The U.S. certification as well as safety consulting company that provides certificates of quality and works in many countries worldwide);
  • CSAA Five Diamond Program (provides certification to central stations that passed their set of requirements; granted annually);
  • BBB.org Accreditation (Nonprofit U.S. organization that collects and provides free business reviews to the companies in all spheres as well as grants accreditation for their quality of service);
  • Consumeraffairs.com – a customer review website that grants their seal to the companies with the highest rating;
  • Trustpilot.com – a customer review website. And many others.

As far as the companies reviewed on this website, most of them claim having UL certification as well as other credits. However, we provide only information that we managed to find proof of and you can see more details in the reviews.