Many seniors and people with disabilities prefer staying in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. However, age and disability come with the increased risk of common medical emergencies, such as falls, which can result in injuries that decrease independence or mean moving into a nursing facility. A medical alert system that lets you contact emergency responders instantly means you get help fast, potentially limiting the extent of injury and keeping you in your home.
Some people may be put-off by the thought of getting a medical alert system. They might think that these systems are for people who are older than they are or less able-bodied. However, medical alert systems can be a great investment for many families with adults moving into retirement years, when the risk for health problems or falls increases overall. These systems are also a benefit for anyone with a physical or mental disability who wishes to live alone or retain as much independence as possible. Many times, those who can benefit from a medical alert system are perfectly healthy and independent when they first start using one.
You might not need the system right now, but you never know when something might happen. A medical alert system acts as a backup. It gives you, your family and your friends peace of mind to know that if ever anything were to happen, at least there is a safeguard in place to make sure a bad situation doesn't become worse. Even if you think you don't need one now, having one can often bring comfort to other family members.
Medical monitoring services are typically easy to integrate into your daily life. Each company provides you with medical alert devices, such as a console and a pendant. All you have to do to get help is push a button, and the system connects you directly to a company representative who can assess the situation and send you help as soon as you need it. They give you and your loved ones the assurance that help is just a button push away.
After looking through the medical alert systems currently on the market, we've determined that Bay Alarm Medical, Medical Guardian and LifeFone provide the best services for medical monitoring. You can also find several articles on medical alert systems that provide some helpful tips and information about these systems and how to keep yourself or your loved ones safe.
When selecting a medical alert system, it's important to assess your needs first. For example, do you or the family member you're considering a system for have a large living area? Are you constantly outside the house, or do you spend most of your days inside? The size of your living area determines how large of a range you need for your medical alert system. A medical pendant doesn't do you any good if you fall in a distant corner of your property just out of range of your system. Other important needs you should consider include if the system will be for more than one person in a household or if you need premium features. Knowing what you need from a medical alert system can help you determine between companies.
In the crowded market of medical alert systems, companies stand out by providing a basic package with a great combination of equipment features and monitoring services. The best services also offer premium package upgrades and add-ons that you can choose to enhance your medical alert system. We rated medical alert systems on their monitoring services, equipment, contracts and fees, and help and support.
All of the medical alert systems we reviewed provide the basic function of 24-hour medical monitoring services. Each service includes medical alert devices such as a panic button as well as a main base console you or your loved one uses to contact the monitoring service personnel. The best services have call centers based in the United States and staffed by representatives trained to handle emergencies.
Many of the services we reviewed use identical monitoring equipment. Almost all medical monitoring services use a base station that connects via phone line or cellular network, but they use different methods to connect. The wireless pendant communicates with the base station in the case of an emergency. To assess the best systems, we looked closely at the communication range of the equipment available. If you or your loved one has an active lifestyle, look for a system with a wide maximum range.
You may also wish to put thought into what type of medial alert device is best for your loved one. Most services offer a choice of a pendant hung as a necklace or worn around the wrist like a bracelet or watch. The necklace pendant keeps the device off your wrists and in general reach of both hands. This is a benefit in case you injure an arm in a fall or another medical emergency, such as a stroke, and can't reach your wrist to press the button. However, the necklace pendant is easy to take off and forget, and it also runs you the risk of getting caught on something.
Wearing the pendant on the wrist makes the pendant look like a watch, so it doesn't stand out as much in case you or your loved one are conscious about it standing out too much. Because it's on the wrist, it's not as easy to take off and misplace. However, if you happen to fall onto your free arm or have a stroke that paralyzes the arm you'd use to reach the pendant, you might not be able to call for help. The wristband might also irritate sensitive skin. Both the necklace and wristband pendants have their pros and cons, and it is up to you or your loved one to determine which one is more comfortable.
Contracts & Fees
The best medical alert systems provide an option that does not tie you to a long-term contract. Delivery of the system should be as low-cost for you as possible, and many companies don't charge activation or cancellation fees.
Many medical alert companies offer additional features that range anywhere from extra hardware to optional services. These premium features can be add-on equipment that require a one-time charge or premium package upgrades that require a higher monthly payment. For example, you may have the choice or purchase a lockbox, which is a small box that you place outside your home with a key inside, for a one-time fee. If emergency responders need access to your home, the medical alert service can give them the code to the lockbox, and they can use a key to gain access instead of damaging your door.
Some companies may offer premium packages with additional monitoring features for common hazards, such as carbon monoxide and fire. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that you can't smell, taste or see, and fire can spread quickly out of control before you notice it in time to get help. Some companies also offer premium packages with newer fall-detection technology, which includes special equipment that can detect falls and send for help automatically. With this additional monitoring, you can rest assured you'll get immediate help for any common emergency.
Help & Support
The customer service available through these companies provides their true value. By connecting those in need to friendly and helpful representatives around the clock, these companies offer greater value than simply programming a few buttons on your cell phone for emergencies would.
In addition to 24-hour monitoring, your service should provide 24-hour technical support in case you have any trouble with the unit or peripheral devices. Your monitoring service should also offer a FAQs page, a toll-free number and email support.
The variety of available medical monitoring services can make the choice seem overwhelming. However, in our reviews, we gather the information you need to choose a monitoring service that offers the best customer service and the ideal features for you and your loved ones.