Did you know medical alert systems are critical safety net technologies used by
millions of senior adults? With the press of a button on a wearable device, a senior
user can alert an emergency operator for help. In a health care crisis for an Older
American, every second counts.
This National Medical Alert System Month, we want to help you evaluate whether
you need to add this adaptive technology to your lifestyle. Let us share with you ten
things to consider when purchasing a medical alert system for yourself or a senior
1. Comfort. It may seem secondary, but comfort and appearance will go a long
way towards ensuring a senior loved one wears his or her emergency device
as much as possible. There are many options today for them to try on and test
to ensure it fits the senior’s lifestyle.
2. Response Time. How long will it take for an alert company to respond to an
emergency signal? Every second counts in a senior adult health crisis. Ask for
information from the company and be sure to investigate independent
reviews as well.
3. Call Center Quality. Medical alert companies will either have in-house
emergency operators, or they will outsource the function to a third-party call
center. In any case, an alert responder is your senior loved one’s lifeline. The
Monitoring Association’s Five Diamond Program is a gold standard
certification for properly trained emergency operators. It can be a good litmus
test when partnering with an alert company.
4. Wireless Range. Home-based systems require wearable alert devices to
connect remotely to a plug-in central unit. Be sure to determine how far a
senior user can go before connectivity issues occur. Are there areas of poor
service in the senior’s home? It may be worth exploring on a free trial basis.
5. Other Locations. If a senior frequently travels or is planning to move to a
different location, will the medical alert system continue to work? Some
systems may require new equipment, which may also incur more costs.
6. Installation. Medical alert systems are most effective when they are senior-
friendly. Some systems can be self-installed, while others may require a
technician and installation fees.
7. Pricing. Alert systems generally cost between $30 and $90 a month,
depending on the type and add-on features. Keep in mind that cheaper is not
necessarily better when it comes to the health and well-being of a senior
8. Power Backup. A charged backup battery or built-in backup power source
for the wearable device and home-base unit are critical, especially for seniors
who may forget to charge them or live in areas where electric power outages
9. Options. Learn as much as you can about the included options and add-ins.
With the rise in technology, alert systems have incorporated wide-ranging
add-on options, such as GPS tracking, fall motion sensors, wall buttons,
wandering alerts and more.
10. Repair and Replacement. Whether purchasing alert equipment or renting it
from a service provider, it is best to familiarize yourself with repair and
replacement policies and associated costs ahead of time.
These are just a number of things to consider when choosing the best medical alert
system for your loved one. If you have any questions regarding this topic or about
the best resources available to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. We are
here for you and your family.