How to Pick a Medical Alert System



O ne of the biggest concerns among families that have an elderly parent living alone is them falling down and needing help, or calling for medical emergency services in the event of a heart attack, stroke or seizure. The solution: A medical alert system, which is essentially a wireless hotline to help.

How They Work
Medical alert systems, which have been around for about 40 years, are popular products for elderly seniors who live alone. Leased for about $1 a day, these basic systems provide a wearable help button – usually in the form of a neck pendant or wristband – and a base station that connects to the home phone line, or to a cellular network if no landline is present.

At the press of a button, your parent could call and talk to a trained operator through the system’s base station receiver, which works like a powerful speakerphone. The operator will find out what’s wrong, and will notify family members, a friend, neighbor or emergency services as needed.

New Options
In addition to the basic home systems, many companies today (for an additional fee) are also offering motion sensitive pendants that can detect a fall and automatically call for help if your parent is unable to push the button. And mobile medical alerts that work when your parent is away from home.

Mobile alerts work like cell phones with GPS tracking capabilities. They allow your Parent to talk and listen to the operator directly through the pendant button, and because of the GPS, their general location would be known in order for help to be sent.

What to Consider
When shopping for a home medical alert system, here are some things to look for to help you choose a quality system:

Extra help buttons: Most companies offer waterproof neck pendant and wristband help buttons, but some also offer wall-mounted buttons that can be placed near the floor in high fall risk areas like the bathroom or kitchen, in case your mom isn’t wearing her pendant.

Range: The base station should have a range of at least 400 feet so it can be activated from anywhere on your mom’s property – even in the yard.

Backup: Make sure the system has a battery backup in case of a power failure.

Monitoring: Make sure the response center is staffed with trained emergency operators located in the U.S., are available on a 24-hour basis, and responds to calls promptly.

Contacts: Choose a company that provides multiple contact choices – from emergency services, to a friend or family member who lives nearby – that they can contact if your mom needs help.

Certification: Find out if the monitoring center has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories, a nonprofit safety and consulting company.

Top Rated System

While there are dozens of companies that offer medical alert systems, a top rated system that checks all the boxes listed above and offer both home and mobile alerts is Bay Alarm Medical (BayAlarmMedical.com, 877-522-9633). They also offer the most affordable systems on the market today, with prices starting at $26 per month.

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