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10 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Medical Alert System

elderly patient

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

loved one.


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

loved one.


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

are common.


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.

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