Medical alert systems help seniors to remain independent. They give you or your loved one the confidence that help is just the push of a button away if there is an emergency. However, it is important to choose the right system for your particular needs. Therefore, knowing what features and services are available and how much they cost will help a lot.
If this is something you would like for your loved one, it is a great decision. However, there are several factors to consider before choosing a medical alert system. This list is by no means exhaustive. However, these ten things should provide you with enough information to begin your research process.
What should you look for?
Not all medical alert systems are the same. For instance, some offer mobile units while others require you to stay in one place. Consider the following ten points before buying your medical alert system:
1. Who will respond to my alerts? Who will be sending help? City services? Medical personnel? A family member or a friend nearby? What is the response time if I am calling for myself versus if someone else needs help?
Search for companies that have been around for at least five years and only buy systems from reputable ones. There are many unreliable operations out there that offer poor customer service and inferior products. Therefore, keep in mind that one of the most important components of a medical alert system is its monitoring station.
If possible, talk to people who have used different medical alert systems and ask them about their experiences. Do your homework before you buy. That way, you will have peace of mind when the time comes for you to use the system.
2. Is the monitoring center UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certified? This is important because you want to make sure that only knowledgeable and reliable people will answer your system.
Additionally, monitoring for some units happens locally while others require long-distance communication with a call center. You may want to ask about the certification(s) the monitoring center holds.
3. Do you want an indoor or outdoor medical alert device? Users wear indoor devices around the neck on a lanyard. However, patients attach outdoor models to keychains or belt loops. Some systems feature combination units for both inside and outside use.
Most importantly, it should be easy to use and the buttons must be large enough for someone with impaired vision. Ensure that your loved one will hear the unit’s voice prompts as well.
4. Should you get a system that works with your cellular provider? If you have poor cellular service in your area, this may be important. Some medical alert systems can use cell towers to connect directly with the monitoring center.
Quick Connect units typically do not use the local power lines or phone lines to send signals so you typically need some type of cell coverage.
5. Ease of installation. Where and how will the base unit installation happen? The base station is usually located centrally, like a hallway or large space in your home.
Some systems have one central hub that requires some wiring and installation. However, others will just require you to attach transmitters on things that your loved one frequently uses, like a keychain or a necklace. Make sure the system is easily retrievable in case it needs cleaning or for any other reasons.
6. Where and how many door and window sensors should you get? Most systems give you the option to add door and window sensors for additional security.
Ensure you get one for every point of entry to your home. Therefore, if an intruder manages to enter without tripping any medical alert sensors, protection is a guarantee.
7. Price Range. How much do these systems cost? The most basic medical alert system will cost around $150, but the price can go up to $600 depending on what kind of features it has.
Check if your loved one is eligible for a government subsidy.
The price of a system typically depends on the number of people who need monitoring in the house. This is on top of the equipment needed in the house.
A small base unit with a single transmitter may cost as little as $50. However, a larger system with a base unit and several transmitters can cost almost $200.
8. What should you look for to make sure the equipment is reliable? You must choose a medical alert company that uses advanced technology and dependable equipment.
Is the equipment monitoring through a central station or by the response center? This can make a big difference in the system’s reliability.
Good medical alert systems usually offer a backup connection. That way, there will be helpful regardless of what happens. For instance, if the primary connection fails, the second one should connect automatically.
In general, systems that are centrally monitored work much better than those that rely on the response center to pick up an alert. This is so because the response center may undergo staffing by someone not medically trained.
9. What kind of a warranty does the medical alert system offer? Warranties vary greatly among different systems. Many systems offer a one- or two-year warranty on the equipment. Some longer warranties are available for an added cost.
10. Check compatibility with other medical equipment. You should also make sure your system is compatible with other medical equipment you might use, such as a pacemaker or insulin pump.
The best medical alert systems will not cost you an arm and a leg. You should look for one that is affordable, functional, easy to use, reliable, and durable.
A medical alert system will help your loved ones have a healthy lifestyle by letting them live independently. The system includes a transmitter bracelet or necklace that, when pressed, will alert the central command center for help. This is very useful if your loved one suffers from conditions like seizures or falls and cannot immediately get up on their own.