Health & Personal Care

Your guide to choosing the right medical alert system

Your guide to choosing the right medical alert system

Aging is a natural process that cannot be avoided, and the increasing risk of health issues and conditions associated with aging can make it unsafe for seniors to live alone. While most seniors might prefer their independence, near and dear ones, naturally, worry about their safety. So, it is important to find a middle ground where seniors do not have to compromise on their independence and loved ones are reassured of their safety as well. This is where medical alert systems come in. They are ideal for use during an emergency, allowing the elderly to get prompt help.

How do medical alert systems work?
It is important to answer the question, “do you need medical alert systems?,” and the answer depends on your situation. That being said, access to emergency services is critical. Medical alert systems are versatile devices that are ideal for people in assisted living, retirement communities, or for seniors living alone at home. Depending on the design, these devices offer the convenience of emergency services at the push of a button.

There are numerous medical alert systems available in the country at the moment, both basic as well as advanced versions. The idea behind the concept is to provide reliable emergency services for those who may need them, which is especially helpful for seniors living away from loved ones, as they may need such services.

Thanks to improved technology, contemporary medical alert systems are small, making them easy to wear on the body, and convenient to use. Some of them are designed as bracelets, and some as pendants, offering easy access on the go. As the design keeps improving, you can pick from a wide range of devices for every need. Here’s how they work:

  • You can subscribe to a service that meets your requirements, following which you are given a device that can be used in times of an emergency. The device is usually wearable, and several alert devices are even waterproof to provide services in the bathroom, where a majority of falls are reported.
  • During an emergency, the user can push the emergency button.
  • When the button is pushed, a call is placed to an operator, who deciphers the nature of the emergency and places a call to the closest emergency responders and contacts. Generally, the operator stays on the line until help arrives.
  • If the operator does not hear or understand the subscriber, the closest emergency responders are contacted.
  • If the operator finds that no immediate medical attention is required, they contact a caretaker, emergency contact, or family member to inform them of the situation.

Types of medical alert systems
There are several types of medical alert systems that you can choose from, based on your exact need or situation. Two common types are:

Traditional home medical alert systems: The original design of a medical alert system involves communication with a base station and comes with a 2-way speaker and a microphone. A portable button connected to this set can be worn around the wrist or neck by the user. When the button is pressed, the system connects them to an agent who will provide the service needed. Although this type of service may be outdated with numerous technological advancements in place, it is effective for people who spend most of their time at home or within range of the base station. Several services like cell service and fall detection can be added to this system, usually for an extra fee.

Mobile alert systems: These days, it is difficult to imagine anyone without a smartphone, so it makes complete sense that an alert system attached to a smartphone will be the perfect one. Mobile medical alert systems give users the freedom to venture out, while providing help whenever and wherever they need it. Mobile alert systems are efficient and simple to use, and most of them do not need a base station or an elaborate setup. All you need is cell service coverage, and you are good to go. The top mobile medical alert systems include the following features for effective functioning:

  • Automatic fall detection services
    The service should include a handy feature that notifies loved ones or any other concerned person in the case of an emergency like a fall, even if the button is not pushed. The service relies on acceleration analysis technology that automatically detects a fall, and the technology is fairly new and is constantly being updated. Such services are typically bundled with others and may include a mobile/home alert system. This feature is extremely helpful if a person is unconscious after a fall or is unable to push the alert button during an emergency.
  • GPS-tracking
    Time is of the essence when dealing with an emergency. Caring for people involves the need to locate where they are, even if a person is unable to pinpoint their location precisely. This feature helps locate people and provide them with prompt medical care, without the user having to compromise on independence and mobility.
  • Waterproof/shatterproof
    Medical alert systems and devices are designed to be effective under any circumstances, including when in the shower or bath. So, always pick devices that are shatterproof and/or waterproof to add another level of safety. Water-resistance is also helpful for people prone to falls, as a majority of falls are reported in the bathroom.

Tips to choose the right medical alert system
To pick the right device for your needs, you should look for the answers to three basic questions:

  • Do you need a fall detection feature?
    If you are worried about the safety of your loved ones, there is a major possibility of anxiety about them falling or tripping, especially in the case of seniors. A fall detection feature uses sensors and the latest technology to automatically dial emergency contacts in the case of such an emergency, even if the person is unconscious or unable to push the button due to any other reason.
  • Do you need a home-based or a mobile medical alert system?
    A traditional alert system comes with a base unit that works with a landline, but with improving technology, you also have the option of using a roaming service. So, if the alert system is meant for someone who is too frail to step out of the house or chooses to spend their time at home, you can consider a home-based system. Mobile systems, on the other hand, provide safety both at home and when a person steps out and are best suited for people who lead an active lifestyle.
  • Do you need a monitoring system?
    One of the most important considerations is the need for dispatch center services. Without a monitoring system, the system will send out a call to the listed contacts, neighbors, or family members, and it can also be programmed to call multiple numbers at a time. On the other hand, with the monitoring facility, emergency responders will be contacted to provide professional medical help during an emergency.

Apart from this, most companies offering medical alert systems provide devices with other features like activity/fitness trackers, medicine management systems, and home security or movement monitoring. You should always check whether these services will provide additional and complete security for your loved ones.

Price is also an important aspect of the decision-making process. All these features can be provided as add ons for an extra fee, so it is important to consider the need for a particular feature and sign up for the most suitable medical alert system.

Top medical alert systems to choose from

  • Philips Lifeline: One of the most attractive features of the alert systems from this provider is that they go beyond the traditional alert system. Apart from providing 24/7 access to trained care specialists, they provide waterproof devices with features like medicine management, detailed tracking and mobile alert services, and fall detection. The company offers the best and most extensive range of products in the country.
  • ResponseNow: If you are looking for reliable medical alert systems, look no further than ResponseNow, which offers two types of devices: In The Home and Belle+. The latter is a cellular version of the basic alert system that includes fall detection, while In The Home services comprise landline-based wearable necklace- and wristband-style devices that are both reliable and efficient. Both the systems come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and are shower-safe, making them ideal for use at all times.
  • GreatCall: GreatCall is an ideal option if you’re looking for an affordable mobile medical alert system that is fairly easy to use. An all-in-one option, this device includes communications and guarantees the most reliable coverage and the fastest call response time. The smart additions like medication reminder and fitness tracker make it worth the price, and the system also gives you an option to coordinate with registered nurses and board-certified doctors when required.
  • Life Alert®: If you have watched their advertisements on TV, you probably recognize the name. They provide reliable services and state-of-the-art equipment to help deal with medical emergencies. The waterproof alert systems have a battery life of up to 10 years and are equipped with GPS. Additionally, the company has an emergency mobile app service to provide you with help during an emergency.
  • Bay Alarm Medical: With a reputation for having one of the most reliable medical alarm emergency call-centers in the country, Bay Alarm Medical is a popular choice among users. They are constantly innovating, providing users with the best of technology. Apart from battery back-up for continued support in the event of power failure, a mobile app, and a web dashboard, the company offers an in-car medical alert device with automatic crash detection and location-based boundary alerts.
  • Life Station: This is one of the affordable options when it comes to medical alert systems. Apart from being known as one of the biggest players in the industry, the quick response makes this service provider quite popular among users. They offer several packages with a 30-day money-back guarantee and provide both home-based and cellular alert systems.
  • Medical Guardian: If none of the available options appeal to you, you can consider an alert system that allows you to customize the features according to your requirements. Medical Guardian provides accessories that you can mix and match to meet your needs, and the medical alert systems can be used in-home or as portable GPS-ready systems.
  • LifeFone: With over 40 years of experience in the industry, the company offers fuss-free and simple devices that are both user-friendly and effective. Along with an optional fall detection feature in all the devices, the company offers a spouse pendant, daily wellness calls, and medicine reminders, depending on the alert system you choose.
  • Qmedic: By offering more than just the basic emergency functions, this company’s alert system helps users keep track of their overall health. It tracks activity and sleep patterns and enables caregivers to record and observe wear compliance, making it easy to monitor the health of the elderly. The device is 100 percent waterproof and does not require charging, so users can wear and use it all the time.
  • BoomerAlert: If falls are your major concern, this service provider is the one for you. They provide a device that is both shockproof and waterproof, and it also provides GPS location services. In the event of a fall, the button can send the exact location to monitoring agents, and alerts can also be sent via email and Facebook Messenger.

All in all, medical alert systems are the perfect example of how technology aids in making the lives of your loved ones better and more secure. However, you must understand your exact requirements before you set out to pick an alert system that works for you.

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