What is a medical alert? Many of you learned about it from the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” commercials for Life Alert. The same service is called by many different names i.e. medical alert, life alert, personal emergency response system, etc… Essentially, it’s a medical alert device which allows you to press a button in the event you’ve fallen or need help. It’s ideal for those who are worried about falling, have a medical condition, or who live alone.
The help buttons are worn on a lanyard around your neck, or on a watch around your wrist. When pressed, the button will contact a live agent, who has all of your medical conditions and contact details of those you want notified in the event of an emergency. After assessing the situation, the trained agent will either call one of your contacts or send over an ambulance, police office or fire truck depending on the situation.
3 Basic Things to Look For When Evaluating Life Alert Systems
Here are things that you should look for when you are looking at and compare Medical Alert Systems:
Emergency Response Quality
- Pick-Up Time: How quickly the monitoring center answers your distress signal after you’ve pressed the help button is critical. Some companies can take 3 times as long as the next. You should not be happy with anything over 60 seconds.
- Number of Contacts: Some medical alert companies will allow you to list as many emergency contacts as you’d like, while others will limit you. In the event something has happened to you, you may want more than one contact notified. We recommend you choose a company that allows you to list more contacts rather than less.
- Track Record: Choose a life alert company with a good track record. Make sure they’ve been in business for a while and don’t have a lot of complaints against them. You can check the Better Business Bureau for complaints.
Medical Alert Equipment
- Looks: Believe it or not, the look of the pendent is one of the biggest reasons seniors refuse to wear a medical alert device. Choose a device that’s good looking, small, light and comfortable to wear.
- Distance: Some devices function as far as the length of three soccer fields. While not necessary for everyone, long distance range comes in handy more than you think. It protects you taking the garbage out to the sidewalk, picking up the mail from the mailbox, reading a book in your backyard, doing work on your driveway or even chatting with a neighbor.
- Location Tracking: Location tracking is especially important for those who want protection outside their home. When you press your help button, medical alert devices will now use GPS technology to send help to your exact spot. GPS is typically only available on mobile devices, which tend to be a little more expensive than the basic in-home system.
- Out of home Coverage: Most life alert companies now offer mobile systems that give you peace of mind outside your home. Connected to a mobile network (most are on AT&T), when you press your button the signal gets carried over the mobile network. The only risk is that if there is no cellular coverage, your system won’t work.
Those are three of the more important considerations you should take into account when choosing an alert system. They aren’t the only considerations, but they’re a solid start on your journey to find the right solution for you.
30% of adults over the age of 65 fall over each year. Most don’t have help nearby to get them back on their feet again. Using a medical alert system can really help avoid a fall going from bad to worse. Instead of waiting hours for help and risking further injury, panic or shock, help can be on its way in minutes. It could save your life. Now all you have to do is get the right system for you!