You’ve gone from ignoring advertisements about medical alert systems to needing one for either yourself or an aging loved one, but with the multitudes of personal emergency response systems (PERS) on the market how do you know which medical alert is right for you?
There are two main types of home medical alert systems: emergency response systems with monitoring and without monitoring.
There are numerous terms for medical alert systems (such as PERS) and we’ll use several throughout this information so you’re already familiar with them when you compare medical emergency response systems. PERS consist of three components: a wireless transmitter (which is worn around your wrist, neck, on a belt, etc.), a console which connects to your telephone (usually you need a land line telephone), and an emergency response center.
The transmitter is battery operated, light weight, and may also be referred to as a pendant, necklace, or bracelet (among others).
When the person wearing the transmitter activates it (often in the instance of a fall), the transmitter sends a signal to the console (often called a “base”) connected to your telephone, and the telephone automatically dials out to the emergency response center.
When you are using a home medical alert system with a monitoring service, there is a company that monitors the system and when they’re called (after the transmitter is activated) the monitoring company contacts emergency personnel or other people you have pre-designated.
If you decide to use a personal alert safety system with a monitoring company you will purchase the three components of the system, and pay installation and monthly fees to the monitoring service company. The Federal Trade Commission advises you contact your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General, and the Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against the monitoring system company you’re considering entering into an agreement with.
Some seniors prefer using a medical emergency response system that doesn’t involve a monitoring service. In that case, when the transmitter is activated and the console (connected to your telephone) receives the signal your phone automatically dials 911 or to a family or friend (which you’ll have pre-determined). This is a more affordable option because there is no installation or monthly fees, and the only added cost is battery replacement periodically.
When considering a medical alarm/alert system it is very important to do your homework, and always ask the following questions of each home medical alarm system:
Can I speak AND listen to the operator through the transmitter/pendant?
If I’m outside when I activate the transmitter can I speak to the operator outside of my house?
Is the monitoring center open 24/7? Have the people answering the phones gone through emergency medical technician (EMT) training?
What happens if I fall in the bathroom and the door is closed? Will I be able to hear (and be heard) through the transmitter still? Is the transmitter waterproof? (not the same as water resistant)
What if I move to another city of state? Can I use the same system with other monitoring services elsewhere?
What is the average life of the batteries in the system? Is there a warning for low batteries?
How long will the operator stay on with me? As long as I need them?
How many transmitter units can one base unit (or console) support?
What features does the system provide if I activate the transmitter but lose consciousness before help arrives?
If you’re finding you like some of the features of both monitored and unmonitored personal emergency response systems, the SilverCare Personal Safety Emergency Alert Device offers a comprehensive elderly alert system without monitoring (so there aren’t any fees or contracts) but will also work with a monitoring service (of your choice) if you want to go that route. SilverCare utilizes state-of-the-art technology and offers everything from medication reminders to remotely turning on/off lights (while remaining incredibly easy to use).
As with all independent living aids, there are numerous options and the right product for each individual is an individual decision. Personal safety alert systems allow the wearers, caregivers, and family members priceless peace of mind. To view an assortment of home medical alert systems, click here. If you have additional questions about which home emergency alert device is the right one for you, feel free to call 1-800-377-8033.