Medical alert systems have been helping seniors stay living in their homes longer knowing that if they should fall or have any other type of emergency they would be able to push their medical alert pendant and notify 911 of their predicament and also notify their loved ones.
No longer does a family member have to worry about mom, dad, aunt or uncle worry about whether their loved one might be lying in the middle of the floor yelling, “Help I’ve Fallen”, and not be able to reach the phone for help. It is difficult for a relatives living a distance to be comfortable with their parents staying at home alone when they fear that they could have a heart attack, stroke or just fall due to an emergency and lay on the floor… sometimes for days.
Back in the late 1970’s medical alert systems were crude systems that had a non-waterproof large heavy bulky pendant worn around the neck that could not be taken into the shower or the tub. As time progressed by the 1980’s, as all technology does, the medical alert pendant transmitter started to shrink in size and weight. But still, the pendant transmitters were not waterproof. Usually a hook was hung low near the tub or shower so that if a senior should fall and not be able to get up, the help button would still be within reach.
From the 1970’s till the early 1990’s these medical alert systems were sold for $1000 to $3000. They were mainly sold directly in the home by salesman who worked on commission. Some companies were very honest but others would not leave the elderly seniors alone until they were worn down and purchased the medical alert systems. On top of the purchase there was a medical monitoring device service fees that ranged from $15.00 to $49.00 per month depending on the program the seniors chose. Some of these had contracts that made it very difficult to be released from the obligation.
Today, medical alerts are usually not purchased; they are rented for the cost of the senior medical monitoring service. And today medical alert systems are waterproof and are meant to be worn in the shower or tub. Even more importantly today’s medical alerts have a voice-to-voice channel that allows the senior to speak up and back with the medical monitoring center without the senior ever having to touch the phone. The client can be heard by the operators and they can hear the operators in a 3 story home. The pendant transmitter can be picked up outside the house as far as 400 feet depending on the surroundings (although outside of the house the medical monitoring service knows they are in trouble but are unable to speak to the senior directly), in this case, the monitoring center assumes that the client is in trouble and dispatches the local 911 first responders.
If the senior is capable of talking they may tell the operator through the speaker box that they do not need the paramedics they may have simply fallen and request that their neighbor or friend be called to help them up. The choice is theirs. If the monitoring center cannot hear them help is immediately sent and the family or whoever is on the call list is notified.
The average age of a senior using a medical alert system has risen from an average age of 70 all the way up to the 80’s. More seniors are electing to stay in their own homes where their wonderful memories are because they can get help when they need it.
In a nutshell, the elderly live longer and feel peace of mind with the protection of a personal alarm known as medical alert systems.
The most important issue in choosing a good medical alert company is making sure there are no long term contracts and that their monitoring center is at a minimum UL Listed and certified and has a redundant backup monitoring center in another location.
Be sure to check your gut instincts when you talk to different medical alarm companies. Don’t let them pressure you. Don’t let them scare you. If they speak badly or warn you about other companies, put them in the suspicious category. There are many good companies out there that won’t pressure you, won’t stick you with a contract that cannot be canceled and aren’t easily dealt with when your system needs servicing. Take your time, read everyone’s brochure and make sure that your instincts tell you that the company is a good one.