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MedicAlert Awareness Month: How to Choose a Medical Alert System

By Jessica Deng

August is MedicAlert Awareness month and it’s a good time to educate yourself and your loved one on the importance of how a medical alert system works as providing peace of mind. Medic Alert Awareness month is a good opportunity to know more about Medic Alert medical IDs, but that’s not the only method of ensuring a loved one is taken care of during emergencies.As our loved one’s age, they may choose to age in place. The thought of them being by themselves and without help if an accident occurs is enough to worry anyone. Today, we will be discussing what the two typical medical alert systems are, how to choose a medical alert system, and specific features your loved one may be interested in.

A medical alert system often referred to as a personal emergency response system (PERS), medical emergency response system (MERS), health monitor, or fall monitor – can provide increased independence for loved ones and peace of mind for family caregivers. Below are different types of medical alert systems:

  • In-home systems
    • In-home systems come with a base station and a wearable component like a necklace, bracelet, or belt clip with an emergency button. The base station may be plugged into a phone jack or operate on a cellular signal for those without a landline. It protects the users both in and around their homes. Through a combination of help buttons and a speakerphone-equipped base station, these systems allow you t connect quickly to monitoring agents. These devices set a range of how far away the user can be for the wearable component to reach the base station.
  • Mobile Medical Alert Systems
    • Mobile systems are designed for more active seniors who spend a lot of time outside of the home or traveling. They are portable devices and do not have a set range. These systems can place emergency calls about anywhere if there’s good reception. Mobile systems often are equipped with GPS technology, allowing a call-center agent to relay your location to emergency responders. A person will still need to wear a device that has a personal help button, but they do not need to be within a certain distance of a base station for the device to work.

If you are considering purchasing a medical alert system for a loved one, you have plenty of options to choose from. As a rule of thumb, before you decide. It’s important to consider what is important to your loved one. Here are some key things to think about and questions to ask in choosing a medical alert system. Once you’ve selected it, be sure to monitor how it is working for your loved ones.

  • Fall detection
    • Falls is perhaps the most common motivator for obtaining a medical alert system. Some devices automatically detect falls and summon help, without the wearer needing to do anything. Most senior-related falls aren’t incapacitating, but some are.
  • Medical reminders
    • Some systems will allow seniors or their caregivers to program medication reminders. The system will sound an alert at the preprogrammed time, reminding seniors to take their medication. This can be extremely helpful for seniors living with chronic conditions or who otherwise have a complicated medication schedule.
  • Activity Tracking
    • Activity tracking gives peace of mind that whoever issuing the system is moving around as usual. Lack of movement could indicate a problem. It’s a helpful feature for those who tend to wander or if a loved one lives out of a town and wants to know if their monitored family member is moving around as usual. Activity tracking also has key features like step counters, healthy activity, and fitness goals.
  • GPS Detection
    • Seniors today are more mobile and independent than ever before, so a medical alert system must be able to detect where they are. A device with GPS is especially useful if your loved one is still driving and relatively independent.
  • Call for help
    • Devices with help buttons can connect the wearer to a live person at a response center or emergency services such as the police or fire department. The button sends a signal to a base unit connected to a phone, which makes the call.

One of the primary concerns older adults have about aging at home is safe and knowing how and which medical alert system for seniors will give you peace of mind and help ensure that your loved one is secured. There are a wide variety of devices and plans for the specific needs of your loved one. We encourage you to speak with our client care coordinators and/or your caregiver to see which device and plan works for your aging loved one.

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