Medical Alert Systems A Life Line for Seniors

A personal emergency response system can save your elderly loved one’s life in the event of a sudden illness or accident. How do you choose the best senior alert system? In today’s feature, we’ll review the most popular senior alert systems.

A personal emergency response system can save your elderly loved one’s life in the event of a sudden illness or accident. How do you choose the best senior alert system? In today’s feature, we’ll review the most popular senior alert systems.

Med Alerts for Seniors

More and more seniors are living alone and wish to maintain their independence. They don’t want to leave their home and move in with relatives or go into a senior residence. But if you’re like millions of people who worry about an aging loved one, you need to know they’re safe and sound. Luckily, today’s medical alert devices can help you and your special senior citizen make safe independent living practical.

Medical Alert Systems: How They Work

Senior medical alerts systems are comprised of a push-button call device that activates an intercom device. The push button is worn around the neck as a pendant, around the wrist like a watch or clipped on the belt. Most companies offer all three choices.

When the call button is pressed it activates the monitoring system, which is essentially an intercom device that connects the senior with the monitoring company. The monitoring company’s call center then calls the home and attempts to speak with the senior. Based upon the response they get from the senior, the company will follow a predetermined protocol. For example, if the button was pressed accidentally  or just to test the device the call center will note the incident – they will not send 911 every time the button is pressed.

What You Need To Know

The call-button has a limited transmission range which is adequate for most homes. But if you wander out of range, the push button will not work. Some monitoring services will be alerted when the transmission device stops working (whether it is because the device is out of range, the battery is dead or other malfunction) – but many cheap monitoring systems do not have this feature. Make sure you pick the right one.

We like the LifeStation for most seniors living alone. It’s easy to use and reliable and offers safety and peace of mind. Read more about it here.

Another important point, with standard senior alerts if the wearer does not or cannot push the panic button, help won’t come. If the wearer is unconscious, disoriented and can’t push the button, the device won’t be of much use. That’s why many people choose a device with fall-detection. Many providers advertise “fall detection,” but research shows that too often these devices don’t detect falls in the real world. That’s because these devices are only triggered by a sudden, violent drop – and that’s not always the way falls happen in the real world.

Many elderly people fall down by slumping down to the floor. They might feel dizzy so they hold on to the wall and slump to the floor rather than dropping from upright to flat out. When people fall like this, these so-called “fall detectors are useless. So, what is the solution?

We like myHalo for true fall detection. Their device is worn under the clothing and besides being a call-button, it can detect when the wearer stops moving unexpectedly, when their skin temperature is outside the norm and even heart rate changes.  It’s an affordable service that offers more protection than the standard panic button system. But – since it has to be worn under the clothing and against the skin you may find that your elderly relative may resist wearing it at first.  The good news is that it is light-weight and they will get used to wearing it. After a while they won’t even notice they’re wearing it.  Find out more at myHalo

For reviews of med alerts, click here.

What do you think is the best medical alert device? We’d love to hear from you, leave a comment below.

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