Are you worried about falling in your home or do you have a loved one that you are worried about? If so, it might be time to invest in a medical alert system because, whether we like it or not, our muscles weaken and our bones become brittle as we age, which can quickly turn a slip in the bathroom into a life threatening situation.
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NEGATIVE STIGMA ATTACHED TO MEDICAL ALERT SYSTEMS
Your chance of falling increases as you age. In fact, more than one in three adults over the age of 65 fall each year ,and in this case, it is probably better to be safe than sorry, especially if you consider that the longer you go without help the worse your condition will get.
As an additional note, the elderly are not the only people who should consider medical alert systems. If you suffer an injury or are dealing with any other physical disadvantage, then you should consider investing in a medical alert system. In the end, the benefits will probably outweigh any negative stigma attached to a medical alert system.
THE ADVANTAGES of Having a Medical Alert System
Regain Your Freedom: Medical alert systems will allow you to maintain your daily routines, with some limitations, while still having protection in case of sudden trauma or some other medical emergency like a heart attack or stroke. For example, this protection could allow you to stay in your own home, maintain an active lifestyle, or even continue working.
Prevent a More Serious Issue: One of the major concerns with falling or other emergencies is the lasting effect they can have if medical attention is delayed. The long term consequences of a stroke, for instance, are tremendously reduced if medical treatment is received quickly, but the longer it takes for you to receive treatment, the higher the chance that you will not recover. You also face major psychological problems. More than a fifth of elderly people lose their confidence after a fall ,and if you are stuck alone on the ground for hours, that fear is only perpetuated.
Give Your Loved Ones Peace of Mind: We are not the only ones who worry about our health, but the people around us usually worry about it as well. You do not want your family constantly thinking about your safety. With a medical alert system, you can at least relieve some of their worry.
HOW TO CHOOSE a System and Company
You probably want to find a medical alert system that fits your lifestyle, so here are some questions to ask yourself. Do you go out on your own a lot? Do you get out in your yard or are you in your house most of the time? Do you have a spouse who needs an emergency button as well? These are things to consider when deciding what medical alert system works for you.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
Emergency Buttons: Medical alert systems will come with an emergency button that notifies the service center if the button is pressed. The service center will then contact local emergency medical services (EMS) if necessary, and many of the companies will even contact a family member at your request. With some systems, you can choose either a watch or a necklace, whichever is more convenient for you, and the quality emergency buttons are at least partially waterproof.
Fall Detection: All of the top medical alert systems have an upgrade option for fall detection, which can determine if you have fallen while wearing your fall detection button. The companies admit that this feature is not a guarantee and sometimes false alarms occur, but it can still be worth the additional cost if you are rendered incapable of pressing the emergency button.
GPS: GPS has been incorporated into the field of medical alert systems. Meaning, you can now upgrade to systems that allow you to go anywhere that their network service is available. Different medical alert systems use different network companies, such as AT&T and T-Mobile, to provide this service. This means that you might have to choose a product based off of the network coverage provided in your area.
Monitoring: With these products, you have 24/7 access to service centers and access to two-way communication with service representatives through the medical alert base station. Most service centers even do a weekly or monthly test to ensure the equipment is working effectively.
Range: The range between an emergency button and the base station varies among the products. Most provide a relatively long range, but depending on how much you get out in your yard, the distance could be an important factor and deserves consideration.
Additional Safety Button: If you have a spouse or another loved one who needs an additional safety button, then you will need a product that fits your situation. There are different pricing options and requirements considering the company, so you have to consider what each company has to offer before making a decision with an additional safety button in mind.
Backup Battery: You don’t want to go into an emergency situation while your power is out and not have the safety net provided by your medical alert system, so a backup battery might be important when you decide what system fits your needs.
Warranties and Trials: You might want to consider warranties that come with products when you get ready to make a purchase. Some have lifetime warranties, while others last a few years with the ability to purchase longer warranties at an additional price. Some products also provide a free trial, so you can test the product and see if it is a right fit for you and your lifestyle.
Medical Alert System Companies Reviewed:
BAY ALARM MEDICAL
The pricing per month for Bay Alarm Medical is as follows: in-home system for landline ($25.00), automatic fall detection for landline ($35.00), in-home cellular ($35.00), automatic fall detection for cellular ($45.00), mobile GPS ($35.00).
- This product allows you to answer phone calls on your in-home device. This means you don’t have to rush to the phone and risk injury.
- With this product, you can also choose either a necklace or a wristband.
- The emergency button has a 1,000 ft range from the station with the landline system and an 800 ft range with the automatic fall detection, which should allow you to get out in your yard.
- If you choose the necklace, it has a magnetic clasp to reduce the risk of choking.
- A good feature for couples is that you can add a safety button for your spouse at no additional cost.
- The in-home landline system has a 32 hr backup.
- The mobile GPS help button lasts 72 hrs.
- The in-home cellular plan and mobile GPS plan use AT&T for coverage, so if your area does not have AT&T then you will not be able to receive protection for these plans.
- The mobile GPS is most accurate when in motion, so you will have to purchase either the in-home landline system or the in-home cellular plan to ensure you receive protection while at home. You can purchase a bundle package with the mobile GPS and one of the in-home packages.
- Bay Alarm Medical warns that you should not fully submerge your safety button in water.
The pricing per month for Alert1 is as follows: home medical alert system for landline ($29.95), fall detection medical alert system ($35.95), mobile medical alert system ($35.95), PAX mobile fall detection system ($49.95).
- The safety button for this product is completely showerproof, which is beneficial considering 13% of in-home falls occur in the bathroom(http://stopfalls.org/faqs/where-do-falls-among-older-adults-occur-most-frequently/).
- If you are worried that this product won’t work for you, the company provides a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
- The fall detection medical alert system uses the latest motion detection technology to determine if a fall occurred.
- The home medical alert system only has a 24 hr backup battery, which is shorter than most the other products.
- A second line costs additional money, so it might not be convenient if you have a spouse. The home alert landline system with an extra line is $44.93, the fall detection medical alert system is $53.93, the mobile medical alert device is $53.93, and the PAX mobile fall detection system is $74.93.
- The mobile medical alert system is limited to T-Mobile coverage, which might not work in your area.
The pricing per month for LifeStation is as follows: at-home medical alert system for landline ($25.95), at-home medical alert system for cellular service ($32.95), senior fall detection (additional $7.00 per month), on the go alert system ($35.90).
- One benefit of this product is that the emergency button is completely waterproof.
- Another great feature is that the service center does weekly test on your device to ensure that it is still working, giving you confidence that the product won’t fail during an emergency.
- The product provides up to 32 hrs of standby power in the event of a power outage in your home.
- You can take phone calls by pressing your emergency button, so you don’t have to worry about rushing to the phone.
- You can cancel at any time within 30 days if the product is not a fit for you.
- The in-home system only has a 500 ft radius, so you might be limited on where you can go in your yard.
- You have to pay an additional $3.99 per month for an additional emergency button, so this might impact your spouse if it doesn’t fit your budget.
The pricing per month for LifeFone is as follows: at-home landline connection ($24.95), at-home 3G cellular ($32.95), fall detection 3G cellular ($38.95), mobile emergency response GPS and at-home Cellular ($36.95), at-home cellular and on the go with fall detection ($46.95).
- You can reach a 1,500 ft range with an extension purchase, which is one of the longest ranges among all of the products.
- You receive a lifetime warranty for the equipment and the price won’t change.
- You also have the benefit of answering phone calls with your emergency button.
- You can choose between either a wristband or a necklace, and they are both waterproof.
- You can get an emergency button for your spouse on the in-home landline system for free.
- LifeFone will make daily calls to a subscriber for an additional $19 per month.
- You can check in daily with LifeFone for an additional $6 per month.
- The in-home cellular system has a 60 hr backup battery.
- The device only has a 480 ft range unless you purchase an extension, which could limit you on access to your yard.
- You have to pay $10 per month for additional fall detection for your spouse, so it might not be convenient for couples who are looking for this feature.
- LifeFone’s cellular protection is limited to AT&T service.
The pricing per month for Medical Guardian is as follows: Classic Guardian for landline connection ($29.95), Home Guardian with no landline connection ($34.95), Mobile Guardian for on the go ($39.95), Premium Guardian with fall protection ($49.95).
- With Medical Guardian, you don’t have to pay an activation fee for their services.
- Another benefit is that the in-home protection system has a 1,300 ft range, which is one of the furthest ranges available.
- You don’t have to pay a fee for mutual protection, which is great if you want to add a spouse to your system.
- The safety buttons are fully water resistant.
- You can choose either a necklace or a wristband.
- The Mobile Guardian only has a 24 hr battery lifespan, which is low compared to some of the other options.
- You have to pay $10 per month for additional fall protection for your spouse.
Although each medical alert system has benefits that the others do not, the best all around medical alert system goes to LifeFone. This product has all of the features that you would look for in a medical alert system, but what really sets it apart is the 60 hour backup battery and the daily call feature. The backup battery provides you security if your power is knocked out for a few days, and the daily call feature gives you peace of mind knowing that your product is working and that there are people on the other end who are actually available to assist you. There are downsides to LifeFone, like the short range without the range extension, but at least the company provides an extension if you need it. However, if LifeFone does not fit your needs, then perhaps one of the other products will.