A medical alert system is a device set up in your home with or without a mobile component, which can call for assistance in the event of a health emergency. Typically, this is at the very least a base station for the home, which is plugged into the wall, and/or a pendant button worn around the neck or a wristwatch.
During a medical emergency, the wearer of this device can press a button and summon emergency help. They can also be paired with a mobile device, which the user can carry with them, in order to have emergency coverage even when out of the house.
Medical alert systems typically are associated with seniors who have mobility and health problems, but they are also used by people far younger who have medical issues which may require unexpected, immediate assistance.
In-Home vs Mobile Devices
Just about every medical alert system has an in-home station so that the user can be covered when they’re at home, but the limited mobility this provides isn’t right for everyone. With a mobile device, you are covered even outside of the house, typically by way of a pendant or a wristwatch.
The mobile devices are linked with a cellular company and use GPS and cellular technology to allow the user to travel freely and still be able to call for assistance if needed. These can make a huge difference in quality of life for people who otherwise would feel compelled to stay close to home so that they can be sure to call for assistance.
Who Needs a Medical Alert Device?
The stigma around medical alert devices has changed. The devices are no longer big and bulky—and just another thing for the elderly to be nervous about. The devices are small and easier to use than ever.
Medical alert systems are ideal for anyone living alone, with heightened medical needs, or anxiety about getting help when they need it. They can also be a fantastic solution for the active aging, who are still living a busy and active lifestyle but understand that they are not as young as they used to be. Medical Alerts for seniors often come with fall detection technology, which means help can be sent in the case of an emergency without even pressing a button, both in and out the home. If you’re buying for a parent, look out for useful options like free spousal coverage, allowing you the peace of mind to know that both your parents have help when they need it.
Popular Features of Medical Alert Systems
The basics of the devices are the same whichever company you choose. Press the button on your medical alert necklace or on the medical alert system, and you will be on the line with a professional in under a minute. But similarities tend to end there. One good example is monitoring. Some companies simply have a 24/7 call center that can dispatch emergency services or call loved ones in the case of an emergency. Others have powerful automatic monitoring of fire/smoke or carbon monoxide.
Intruder alerts or the ability to speak to and get help from board certified doctors are niche features you might be interested in, too. If you have a large home, check that the range suits your needs. This can vary from 400 feet to 1,500 feet, with unlimited range across the United States for mobile solutions. This is especially helpful if you want to choose a medical alert system which allows you to pick up regular phone calls from the medical alert necklace or wristband itself.
While historically many medical alert devices relied on a landline to get up and running, this is no longer a necessity. Both cellular at home options, as well as completely wireless mobile medical alert devices are now popular.
With all of these options and more, it can be difficult to find the right choice for you or your loved ones. So we’ve made it easy for you. Our comprehensive reviews and articles tell you everything you need to know about medical alert systems, helping you find exactly what you’re looking for. Get started now.
What Type of Customer Service Should I Expect?
Any medical alert company worth its salt is going to provide you with reliable customer service. Don’t mistake customer service for the system’s emergency response service, which should be 24/7 regardless. Make sure to locate the company’s customer service information, and verify that it offers plenty of avenues for communication and troubleshooting, even if representatives are only available during traditional work hours, which is natural and no reason in and of itself to look elsewhere.
See if the company operates a toll-free helpline, but also a live chat service on their website. The company should also have an online form and/or an email that you can write to for assistance.
Most companies also include lengthy knowledge bases and FAQ sections that can answer most questions as well.
You should also read customer reviews that say something about the service reputation of the product, and also, see if the company charges extra for service issues such as repairs or installation, which arguably should be included in the cost.
How Much Should a Medical Alert Device Cost Me?
Medical alerts are an affordable option if you’re on a fixed budget—but make sure before you make your purchase that you’re not buying a system that includes any features you don’t need.
Prices for the top medical alert companies can be on a monthly, 3-month, annual, or semi-annual basis. Typically these can range in price from as little as around $20 per month to as much as $80 depending on what your plan includes. You should also read the fine print to see if the package also includes shipping or any initial installation fees.
The main considerations that can affect price include whether or not you want just a stable, home device, or one that also has mobile coverage and includes alert devices you can take with you. Other extras such as a fall detector, medical reminders, and the like, can also increase the price.
Whatever you pay, you’ll want to ensure first that the company guarantees 24/7 emergency assistance and that you will receive coverage in your location.