What’s A Medical Alert System?
You’ve heard of them, seen the commercials – “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” – you might even know someone who uses them, but do you really know what Medical Alert Systems are? A medical alert system provides emergency monitoring both in and out of the home. The goal is to ensure the safety of those most vulnerable in our households. If triggered – usually by a medical emergency – a medical alert system will send a signal prompting emergency personnel to respond.
Another aspect of medic alert systems is medic alert jewelry. Medic alert bracelets and necklaces are common among people with chronic conditions, life-threatening allergies, who are on certain medications, or anyone who requires special emergency care. While they usually don’t have any kind of alarm on them to signal emergency responders, they help inform first responders of care that might be required.
Do I need a Medical Alert System?
Generally, we associate these devices with senior citizens, but anyone – regardless of age – might need one. If you are at risk of falling or of having a medical emergency and live alone, you might benefit from a medic alert system. Likewise, if you suffer from a chronic illness, require special medications or emergency care instructions, a medic alert bracelet or necklace might be for you.
What Options Do I Have?
If you do find yourself in need of a medical alert system, choosing the right one might feel overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here, we’ll go over some key questions to ask yourself when choosing an alert system.
4 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying a Medic Alert System
- Do I want a mobile or home-based system?
- When first introduced, medical alert systems were created to work in your home with your landline, but now that we live in a more mobile society, options have expanded. Home-based systems work with standard landlines as well as with internet connections. Many companies even offer monitoring through a cellular network.
When you choose a home-based system, you’ll receive a wearable button that allows you to speak with a dispatcher when pressed. The dispatcher will then send medical assistance, if necessary.
Mobile systems operate in a similar way but use cellular networks and GPS technology so the monitoring service can find you when you’re out and about.
The main thing to consider when choosing between these two types of systems is your lifestyle. If you are active and find yourself on new adventures from day to day, a mobile system would be best for you. If you prefer to be home and let the adventures come to you, then a home system is the way to go.
- To monitor or not to monitor?
- You always have the option to choose a system that is monitored or one that isn’t. Monitored systems usually come with fall detection, activity tracking, medication reminders, and wellness checks. Monitored systems also tend to come with a monthly fee or subscription.
Unmonitored systems tend to lack the features mentioned above but don’t come with that monthly price tag. Instead, you simply pay for the device when you purchase it.
Both monitored and unmonitored systems will connect you to either a call center, directly to 911, or a contact from a list you have provided.
- Should you worry about a fall detection feature?
Above, we mentioned that monitored systems often come with fall detection capabilities. Fall detection means the system can sense when someone has fallen and will trigger a call to the dispatcher, just like if you pressed the button yourself.
This can be alluring, especially if you live alone. The issue is, the technology is still being developed and isn’t fully refined. Fall detections don’t work perfectly every time. For example, the alarm could go off if you lose your balance for a moment or if you accidentally drop the device. If you’re someone who isn’t a fall risk, then you might consider skipping this feature. If on the other hand, if you feel you need it, remember it’s not without its flaws.
- What if I don’t need a system, but want my information available in case of emergency?
There are many people who don’t quite need a full medic alert system but still require their information to be readily available in case of an emergency. If you fall into this category, you might consider getting a medic alert ID.
Medic Alert IDs, usually in the form of a necklace or bracelet, are worn on your person. Many of the medic alert IDs in the United States come from the MedicAlert Foundation. The MedicAlert Foundation was founded in the 1950s with a clear goal of making crucial medical information available to doctors and first responders in medical emergencies. As of today, MedicAlert has saved more than 4 million lives and is in partnership with 11 countries around the world.
Medic alert IDs tend to have the name of your condition, medications you may need or medications you shouldn’t have, and a toll-free number to the 24/7 MedicAlert services. Members of MedicAlert provide their information to the foundation, so when first responders call the number they have access to all the info they need to help you.
If you want to become a member of MedicAlert, there is more information here.
Having to get a medical alert system might feel scary, but it could end up saving your life. Whether it’s monitored, unmonitored, or a medical ID, all options can provide you with security and peace of mind.
At the end of the day, only you and your medical team can decide which alert option is best. If it’s time for a medic alert system, consider the questions above. Evaluate your options and choose the one that makes the most sense for you and your family. And as always, if you find yourself in a medical emergency, Neighbors is just a short drive away.