What You Need to Know About Medical Alert Systems
If you have an elderly loved one, you may be worried about them living on their own. Even if they’re healthy and fit, you do want to be prepared if there is an emergency. Instead of moving them into a retirement home, where they have to leave the home they’ve lived in for many years, you may be considering one of the medical alert systems that are available. This is a great way to help your family member continue to live in their home, but you’re going to want to know more about how these systems work before you try one.
Even if you’re in terrific shape, it may be getting more difficult for you to get around your home safely. Falling when you get out of the shower or because of a spill in the kitchen could leave you on the ground without a way to get up if you’ve broken a bone. You could also suffer a heart attack, stroke, or another sudden emergency while you’re home alone. If you’re living at home alone, you could have to wait quite a while for help if you cannot reach a phone on your own. This can be incredibly scary, and it’s something no one should have to go through.
To protect yourself, you may be looking into the medical alert systems that are available. These systems typically come with a pendant or bracelet you can wear at all times so you can reach emergency help if you do fall, suffer from a heart attack or stroke, or any other emergency. Lively is a newcomer to the industry is offering fashionable ‘smart watch’ technology which not only looks good (compared to typical medical device hardware), but also has all the features you would expect from a top notch service provider. However, each system is different. You’re going to want to look for the right system for you so you know all of your needs will be taken care of. Some of the things you’re going to want to look for include the following.
A Base With an Extended Backup Battery
The base unit will plug into the wall and phone line. In the event of a power outage, however, the outlet will not be able to power the base. You’re going to want an extended backup battery to power the unit in case anything happens while you do not have electricity. You should never have to go without help.
Wide Range of Service
You’ll also want to look for a wide range of service. Some systems, like the Medical Guardian, offer up to 1300 feet ranges as part of their plan. This means you can call for help anywhere in your home or yard so you don’t have to worry about going out to the car or checking your mail.
Mobile Device with GPS Service
If you like to get out of the house from time to time or you’re very active in your community, you’re going to want a system that moves with you. Look for a system that offers a mobile device you can take anywhere you go. This should come equipped with GPS services so the emergency personnel can find you quickly no matter where you are.
Live Monitoring Service
You also want to make sure the system has live monitoring service available at all times. If you speak a language other than English, you may feel more comfortable with a company that offers staff members who speak a variety of languages. You’ll also want to be sure the staff is 911 certified. This means they can call an ambulance themselves instead of needing to call the emergency line for you, which can save considerable time in an emergency.
Fall Detection Software
Some pendants and bracelets include fall detection. This software is included in your unit and lets the unit detect when you fall. Since falls can mean you’re unconscious or unable to press the button yourself, this could be an important feature. The unit will automatically call for emergency services if you have fallen and cannot use the button to call for help.
Easy Access to Support
As with all technology, you may need help at times. Whether you need help getting everything set up or you have a question about your system, you should be able to easily contact a support team for assistance. This is an important feature and something you’re definitely going to want to look for so you can be sure your unit is working correctly at all times and you understand how to use in an emergency.
Here are the top FAQ’s regarding Medical Alert Setups:
How Do Medical Alert Systems Work?
A base unit will be put in the person’s home. This typically needs to be plugged into a power outlet and the phone line, although some units can work wirelessly. When an emergency occurs, the person can push the button on their pendant or necklace. This sends a signal to the base unit and emergency personnel are sent to the home to help the person. The medical alert systems consist of a bracelet or necklace the elderly person can wear. When something happens, such as a fall or a suspected heart attack, the person can press the button on their bracelet or necklace and get emergency help. Most of the time, the systems will give your loved one a choice of a necklace or a pendant, depending on their preferences. They can also include many different added features, which may be beneficial for your loved one depending on their situation. Read more about how medical systems work
What About When the Power Goes Out?
Since the base unit is plugged into the outlet, you may be concerned about a power failure. Most units have a backup battery just in case this happens. Before deciding on a unit, take a look at the length of time the backup battery will last while the power is out so you can be sure it will last long enough for your loved one to get help if they need it.
How Is Fall Detection Monitored?
Sometimes, a person will be unable to press the button when they fall. They may be unconscious or suffering from a heart attack or stroke. In these cases, they’re still going to need emergency help as quickly as possible. Many units now come with fall detection and will automatically send a signal for emergency assistance if a fall is detected. It doesn’t work all of the time, but this is a feature you may want to consider.
What About Falling in the Shower?
According to many sources, most falls occur in the shower or when getting out of the shower. While you can place handles to help your loved one navigate the slippery floors, you may want to consider medical id bracelets that are waterproof. This means they can be worn in the shower so your loved on can still contact someone for help if they fall while they are taking a shower or as they’re leaving the bathroom.
Can You Leave the Home Safely?
If your loved one is living alone and still in good shape, they may want to get out of the house once in a while. They may need to pick up groceries or they may just want to see a movie. You’re going to want to be sure they’re protected anytime they leave the house. A unit that includes gps capable bracelets is a fantastic idea. If anything happens while they’re out, they can press the button just like they would if they were home. The GPS in the device will give emergency personnel their exact location so help can arrive quickly.
How Will Emergency Personnel Enter the Home?
You may prefer your loved one locks the door whenever they are home. This can help prevent intruders that may choose their home because they are elderly and can’t fight back. However, a locked door can mean that emergency personnel cannot get in to offer assistance. Instead, you may want to consider using a unit that offers a lockbox. This box is placed near your front door and holds a spare key. If emergency personnel are called, they’ll be given the code to the lockbox. This allows them to open it and get a spare key to enter the home, saving quite a bit of time over trying to figure out how to enter the home quickly.
How Does Pricing Work?
Pricing varies by company, and you may or may not have a monthly contract. The ones that do have a monthly contract typically renew the contract every month, although some may have a longer contract. In these cases, the contract will expire if the person dies before the contract is over so you don’t have to worry about paying for the plan if the unit is no longer needed. Shorter contracts or those without a contract can simply not be renewed if this occurs. Some plans may be covered by insurance.
If your loved one is living on their own, make sure they have a way to contact emergency personnel in case anything happens. The best way to do this is to get a pendant or bracelet from one of the medical alert systems currently available. Take a look at the features discussed here to make sure the system you invest in has all of the features you want. Some may be an added expense, but it will be well worth the peace of mind offered when your loved one can request help no matter where they are.
Contracts and Fees
Some systems come with contracts while others do not. You’re probably going to want to look for a company that does not lock you into a contract so your family members can easily cancel the service if you pass. You also want to make sure you won’t be paying large connection or disconnection charges and that the monthly fees for the service is a reasonable amount. This way, you can get the assistance you need without spending too much money.
Not all medical alert systems offer all of these features, so you’re going to want to look for one that does. One option that does include everything listed here, and more, is the Medical Guardian system. This is one of the top-rated systems right now. Most likely, you’ll find that this system offers everything you’re going to need to be able to feel safe in your own home. No longer will you need to worry about falling or having a medical emergency when you’re home alone.