A fall or a medical emergency is a common concern faced by everyone as we age. Being alone during a medical emergency or fall is even more worrisome. Fortunately, today’s technology provides numerous options to monitor and respond to medical emergencies. Medical alert systems–also referred to as a personal emergency response system (PERS), a medical emergency response system (MERS) or a fall monitor–can provide increased independence and peace of mind. We believe they are an important part of a total care plan.
Researching Medical Alert Systems
So, where do you begin? For starters, AARP suggests you begin with these 5 considerations:
What do you need the system to do?
Today’s devices offer many capabilities. They can call for help at the push of a button, offer medication reminders, and use GPS tracking to monitor a person’s location, to name a few.
What type of equipment would work best?
A wearable device that’s comfortable and unobtrusive should be your first consideration. Beyond that you might want to consider technological features such as battery life, connectivity, remote access by family members, and the logistics of setting it up.
How are calls responded to and monitored?
You’ll want to know what response times are (think seconds, not minutes), if call routing can be customized, and how does a company’s ongoing customer service measure up.
How much will it cost?
With the total cost of a system, expect to pay for the device, installation, and monthly fees (which range from $25 to $45 per month or about $1 per day). Discounts may be available for multiple family members in the same household, veterans, or low-income clients.
Is the service available in your area?
Do not forget to inquire if national companies offer service in your area. If a home security is already in place, your provider may offer medical alert services.
Four Systems at a Glance
We’ve collected some information on 4 well-known brands of medical alert systems to help you start your search. For additional systems, check out ConsumerAffair’s list. In addition to using this table to assist your research, you’ll also want to ask the following questions:
1. What is the length of a contract?
2. Are sound alerts loud enough for someone who is hard of hearing?
3. Will Mom or Dad actually push the button? Look for a brand that can monitor activity, provide activity information and reports, and set custom alerts. This allows you to be proactive and eliminate the need for a button to be pushed. SafeInHome is one brand we have found that offers this feature.
Nurse Next Door Can Help
We recently installed a home monitoring system for a client who had mild dementia. The medical alert system allowed the daughter to see where mom was by using motion and pressure sensors (no cameras). It also allowed her to set parameters for when to get alerts. For example, if mom left the house between 10pm and 6am, the daughter would get an alert. All alerts were customized for different situations and the daughter was able to give us access to the medical alert system as well. This system, along with Nurse Next Door caregivers being present 3 hours a day, allowed Mom to stay home for months longer than anyone thought possible.
Home monitoring systems and or medical alert systems, in coordination with other resources and hands-on care that Nurse Next Door provides, are all part of an effective plan to age in place. At Nurse Next Door, we can assist in the selection and implementation of a system that works best for our clients’ needs. As caregivers, we pride ourselves on the personal, human touch that we give to our clients. But we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge–and promote–the important role technology plays in caregiving.
Aging in place, while happy, is all about resources. What is the custom care you or your loved one needs to stay happy at home?
We support seniors independence by keeping them happy and safe at home. Call us toll-free at
+1(877) 588-8609 to learn how Nurse Next Door home care services can help keep Mom or Dad safe!
The Senior-Friendly Guide to Medical Alert Systems by Reviews.com
10 Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors by Nurse Next Door