If your elderly parent or another loved one lives alone, then you probably worry a lot about their wellbeing. Thoughts of them falling or facing a medical emergency without anyone around to help them can be haunting. Thankfully, the best medical alert products for seniors can give you both peace of mind.
But how do you find the ideal medical alert system to keep them safe when you can’t be at their side all day and night? Let’s look at how to choose the most suitable one for your aging mom, dad, or another person dear to your heart.
What exactly are medical alert products?
This type of device enables a person to call for help at the press of a button. It is designed to give them and their family the much-needed reassurance that they’ll get timely attention in case of an accident or other emergency.
Individual safety and wellbeing are the most important reasons to get one. It can provide critical support to any unassisted person who is at risk of falling or suffering a medical emergency.
If a senior has a nurse visiting during the day, for example, a medical alert device can ensure their wellbeing at night when they’re alone. It’s a good investment if you don’t live close to an aging parent, for example, or it’s not possible for them to move in with you.
If you’re thinking about buying such a device, how do you choose? With so many different options, features, and price points, the selection can seem overwhelming. Especially if it’s your first time buying this type of item or if you’re under a time crunch.
Furthermore, the best medical alert products won’t be the same for every senior as the “best” one will be the model that meets all or most of the individual’s needs.
To help you find the right medical alert device for the elderly person in your life, use this quick guide.
Home-based system versus wearables
The first medical alert devices were designed to work inside the home with a landline phone. With technological advances, medical alert systems for seniors work with cellular networks just as well as the traditional versions.
Home-installed systems, however, have a limited range of about 500-1500 feet. Thus, these systems are best suited for older adults who are not mobile or do not go out a lot.
For a senior who is fairly active, goes for walks, social outings, community events, or hobby classes once in a while, a portable medical alert device is likely a better option than a home-based. It enables them to get timely emergency assistance wherever they are.
With GPS technology, a wearable makes it easy to track a senior if they get lost too. Choose between an at-home system and a wearable medical alert device depending on your parent’s lifestyle and health status.
Some wearable devices have a fall detection feature built into them. That means that it’s programmed to sense a fall and automatically contact emergency services if that happens, right away. The feature comes at a monthly cost, but it can be useful for a frail senior who is prone to falls.
In addition, some systems come with other special features, such as:
- Medication reminders
- Motion detectors
- Monitoring of vitals
- Daily personal or online check-in
- Other health tracking tools
The best way to go about selecting the best medical alert products is to make two lists, one of the must-have features for your older relative and another one of optional features. Then shortlist systems that fulfill the most needs.
If your loved one needs 24-hour support, then you’ll want to look for a system that comes with round-the-clock monitoring from a dispatching center. The call button on such devices connects the caller with the dispatcher who then summons emergency services. With an unmonitored system, the call button will connect you with a family member or friend.
A monitoring service comes with a monthly fee. For an older adult who needs 24/7 care, a monitored system may be a better choice.
For a ready comparison, take a look at the best medical alert systems for 2019 to know exactly what is out there. The in-depth reviews explain exactly how the medical alert products for seniors differ from one another.
Ask these questions to find the best medical alert products
Aside from the essentials discussed above, here are some key questions to ask when buying a medic alert system:
- What is the distance or range of the device?
- How long will the battery last?
- Is the device waterproof?
- How easy is it to set up?
- Can it connect to a family member’s mobile phone or computer?
- What are the monthly fees for mobile, web, and GPS connectivity?
- Are there any hidden charges?
- Is there an activation or cancellation fee?
- Do you have to commit to a long-term contract?
- What languages do the dispatchers speak?
- What is the quality of customer support?
- Does the system include a lockbox for use by emergency responders when the senior can’t open the door?
Also, ideally, look for a unit that comes with a trial period or money-back guarantee. That way you’ll be able to really test it out to make sure it’ll meet your beloved senior’s needs in a real emergency, should that ever happen.
As the quality and service of a medical alert system will make a big difference in the life of a senior, take your time to find the right system. The “best” option will be one that is affordable, effective, and easy for the senior citizen to use in a time of need.
Have you ever looked for medical alert products? What did you find to be the most important features?