Medical alert systems can save your life in an emergency. Anyone prone to falling or needing immediate medical attention can benefit from a medical alert system. These devices are invaluable; they can provide you and your family with important peace of mind while helping seniors feel safe. The guide below answers some common medical alert system questions – from how they work to what they’re limits are.
What Are Medical Alert Systems?
Medical alert systems are typically a wearable device, such as a wristband or pendant, with an emergency button and a wirelessly connected speaker system. Pressing the button connects the person with an operator who sends emergency help to your location. The communication function of the device helps the operator understand what kind of assistance you need.
The best systems offer 24-hour service and respond whenever you have an emergency. These devices are popular with elderly people who may live alone or who have delicate medical situations.
How Much Do Medical Alert Systems Cost?
The monthly fees for these systems vary depending on the provider and the type of service. You can expect a monthly subscription fee for the 24-hour monitoring ranging from $20-$40. This price goes up by about $10 per month if you opt for automatic fall detection.
Some providers charge an up-front, one-time price for the physical device and a one-time activation fee. The basic button and speaker do not cost the user much. However, some providers are beginning to offer a smartwatch alert system which can be more expensive, given the enhanced technology. We don’t recommend relying on smartwatches or unmonitored medical alert systems. They can be difficult to use and hard to rely on, especially for technology-challenged seniors.
What Are the Limits of Medical Alert Systems?
Range of service can be a limitation of medical alert systems. Some systems are only for in-home use. This means that the coverage does not follow you out to the grocery store or park. Others have on-the-go capabilities, which cost more offer more flexibility. For GPS-enabled systems, the coverage is typically nationwide. However, cell phones must maintain a reliable connection. Loss of cell phone service is a risk to the system properly working.
Battery life is another limit of some medical alert systems. Some systems require a battery change every week and others have a long-lasting battery that keeps its charge for years. You will need to keep a battery schedule to make sure your device stays working. Luckily, most medical alert system providers give members information about how often to charge or replace the battery.
The price of the system can also be a limit for those on a tight budget. Insurance typically does not cover medical alert systems. So, the user would have to cover the cost of the device and monthly subscription. This can be a strain for many.
Overall, medical alert systems have their benefits and drawbacks. No system will be perfect, but a medical alert system is a good safety net which may help save someone’s life.