Medical Alert Systems for Seniors

Medical Alert Systems for Seniors

The complete guide

Buying the right medical alert system can feel daunting with so many devices and services from which to choose. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the process, and help you pick the best system for your needs.

Everything You Need To Know About Medical Alerts

  • 25%
    Seniors

    In the United States 65+ fall at least once in a given year

  • 11
    Seconds

    How often an elderly person goes to the ER for a fall

  • 3.4
    Million

    Use a medical alert system to protect them from falls

25%
Seniors

In the United States 65+ fall at least once in a given year

11
Seconds

How often an elderly person goes to the ER for a fall

3.4
Million

Use a medical alert system to protect them from falls

Medical Alert Systems for Seniors

Emergencies happen

For seniors, emergencies can be fatal.

That’s why wearing a medical alert system for seniors is crucial.

A medical alert for seniors could save your life, alert your loved ones if you fall and, provide peace of mind knowing that help is just the push of a button away.

Picking the Right Medical Alert System

There are dozens of medical alert companies from which to choose. Each offers their own equipment, price, service, and quality.  With so many options and features, it can be hard to pick which one system is best for you.

Narrowing down your choices can be tough. To help make your life easier we’ve put together this comprehensive, A to Z guide.

Using This Medical Alert Buying Guide

We’ll cover everything you need to know to give you the power to find the best medical alert, including: who should get a medical alert, pricing, mobile units vs. in-home units, features, monitoring centers, and questions you should ask before buying a medical alert device.

Use the table of contents on the left to scroll through the different sections.

If you have any questions, call (800) 554-4600 and talk to a medical alert system expert who can guide you to picking the best system for you.

What is a Medical Alert System?

The Basics of Medical Alerts

When choosing which medical alert is best it’s always good to start with the basics: What is a medical alert system?

Medical alert systems are a personal emergency response system (PERS) that use an electronic device to connect the user to an emergency contact or 911 emergency dispatchers. In other words, a medical alert system allows you to summon help at the press of a button during an emergency.

Today’s systems employ a combination of hardware and software to send a signal to emergency services that call for help, usually in the form of a help button worn like a necklace or around the wrist like a watch.

What Else are Medical Alerts Called?

Medical alerts are also sometimes called life alerts, medical alarms, personal emergency response systems (PERS), medical emergency response systems (MERS), senior fall monitors, fall monitoring systems, help buttons, help pendants, fall alert, senior alert, emergency button, emergency communicator and many more.

Whatever you call them, a monitored medical alert system helps seniors stay independent longer while giving friends, family members, and caregivers, peace of mind.

How Many People Use Medical Alert?

There are an estimated 3.4 million medical alert device users around the world.

Out of those, there are approximately 2.4 million users in the United States alone.

Each year, tens of millions of help button presses take place for those in need.

The primary purpose of medical alert devices is to call for help because of a fall. Senior citizens represent the largest group of people at risk of falling. As such, it should come as no surprise that seniors and elderly people make up a vast majority of those who use these systems.

While you are more likely to find a PERS device around the neck of an elderly person, there are many younger adults with medical conditions that utilize a system.

How Do Medical Alerts Work?

What happens when you press a help button?

Medical alert systems work in different ways from one provider to the next, but the basic premise is this:

  1. When you press the help button on your device, a signal is sent to a central monitoring center through landlines or a cellular network.
  2. In a matter of seconds, an operator comes on the line and asks if the user needs help.
  3. If there is an emergency, the operator goes through a list of emergency caregiver contacts who need to be notified.
  4. If an emergency contact cannot be reached, or if there is a life threatening situation, the operator connects to the local 911 service.
  5. Emergency medical services are dispatched.
  6. Help is on the way.

Each provider’s monitoring center may follow a different procedure when it comes to what happens when a help button is pressed. When ordering a system, make sure you ask what procedures they use to ensure 911 is only contacted for a real emergency.

Ready to Order? Talk to a Medical Alert Expert.

Call (800) 554-4600

The Medical Alert Monitoring Center

Who Watches Over Me If I Fall?

Many people think they’re just ordering the medical alert device, but what they’re also buying is a professional emergency monitoring service.

The monitoring center is an essential part of the medical alert service.

Without a monitoring center behind it, a medical alert device is limited in its ability to quickly access critical help for loved ones.

For companies that employ a central monitoring center for their users, some have their own in-house monitoring facility, while others use a third party service.

At every monitoring center, you’ll find a bank of operators, each armed with a computer and a connected phone. When a button press occurs, the user’s information is sent to the emergency operator so that they can assess the situation quickly and know exactly where the user is located. With that information in hand, they can deploy help as needed.

Contact Lists and Custom Protocols

Not every button press requires a call to 911.

Using a professional, certified monitoring center is crucial because unlike a direct call to 911, operators are trained to make sure the proper channels are alerted before emergency services are dispatched. Not all emergency situations need an ambulance or the police dispatched.

That’s where contact lists and custom protocols come in handy.

When you sign up for a medical alert service, you’re asked to provide a list of contacts who should be alerted in case of an emergency such as a fall. These contacts can be friends, family members, neighbors, or other caregiver services. (Make sure they’re aware you’re putting them down as an emergency contact.)

The individuals on the contact list can be notified before, or even after emergency responders are contacted. It all depends on how you want to order the call list.

What About Non-Monitored Medical Alerts?

There are also some non-monitored medical alerts on the market. However, most senior care experts would not recommend relying on them. Non-monitored devices which contact 911 directly increase the likelihood of calling an ambulance for a false alarm. Worst of all, by not having a monitored device, the user is at risk of someone not answering the call when it’s needed most.

Medical Alert Equipment

Get to know these life saving devices

Medical alert equipment is fairly standard across different companies. Just about every system consists of two parts: A help button to activate the device, and a microphone with a speaker for two-way communication between the user and an emergency operator.

Before the advancement of GPS and cell phone towers, the only option was an in-home system connected to a landline. Now with newer technologies, elderly people have the option to use a mobile medical alert device that allows them to go anywhere and take their fall protection on the go.

When deciding which system to purhcase, the first thing to ask yourself is, do you need an in-home or mobile system?

In Home Medical Alerts

Stay Safe from a Fall in and Around Your Home

As the name implies, an in-home medical alert system works in and around your house or apartment.

The system consists of two parts: the help button and the main console.

The help button is a wearable emergency pendant that you press if you slip and need help. The pendant is wirelessly connected to the main console. Because it’s only active when you press the button, the battery life in the electronic pendant lasts over 3 years.

How Do In Home Senior Alert Devices Work?

The main console houses the heart of the system. Contained in the main unit is the microphone and speaker which allow seniors to communicate with trained operators on the other end. The speaker and microphones are quite powerful, so they can work all the way from another room. It is even loud enough that elderly who are hard of hearing can use the at home medical alert.

The console is plugged right into a power outlet. It contains a backup battery, so even if the power goes out, you can still use the call for help button.

The console also plugs into the landline phone jack which allows the device to call the monitoring center when the button is pressed. This is why you’ll sometimes hear the in home units referred to as landline medical alert systems.

Most indoor medical alert buttons have a signal radius of around 400-1000 feet. That’s enough to cover most houses and apartments. It even allows seniors enough range to get their mail or spend time in their yard and still be protected. Even if you can’t hear the console because you are very far away, pressing the button will still summon help from monitoring center operators.

No Landline? No Problem!

What if you’re a homebound senior who doesn’t have a landline phone? Can you still get fall protection in your home?

Of course you can!

For coverage in and around your home, there are medical devices which connect wirelessly to a monitoring center. Instead of using the landline phone jack, the wireless device uses a cellular signal like a mobile alert system.

Similar to the in-home systems that use a landline, these systems have a base console and a wearable help button. The base console contains the speaker and microphone so you can communicate with the monitoring center when you press the help button.

Check Out Our In-Home Medical Alert.


In Home Medical Alert

Mobile Medical Alerts With GPS

Fall Protection Where Ever You Go

For many years, elderly people were constrained to their homes because their medical emergency response systems had a limited range.

This just doesn’t work for active seniors who desire to leave their homes and live life to the fullest. Older people still want to be able to attend church, visit their friends, and go to the supermarket. They want to leave the house.

Mobile medical alert systems are great option for seniors who want to live a safe, independent life in their golden years.

How Do Mobile Systems Work?

These devices use cellular signals to connect you with the emergency operators in the call center. Essentially, the apparatus works like a cellphone.  This allows you to take your device anywhere outside, and your portable emergency response button will still provide you with the safety and protection you need.

It also includes GPS tracking which allows emergency responders to locate you quickly wherever you go.

Unlike an at-home medical alert, the speaker and microphone are both contained in the mobile help button. This allows for clear 2-way communication.

Because mobile systems are persistently connected to a cellular signal, they do require charging. The top mobile medical alert devices only need to be charged as little as once every 4-5 days, though it’s always recommended to charge them daily to ensure the battery has full power.

Whether you’re at home or on the go, you can get emergency help with the push of a button.

Check Out Our Mobile Medical Alert.


On The Go Medical Alert

Mobile vs. In Home Medical Alerts

Which System is Right for You?

When deciding between ordering a mobile or in home medical alert system, there are several questions to ask that will help you decide:

  • How often do you go out on your own?
  • How far from your home do you go?
  • How tight is your budget?
  • Do you have a landline?
  • Does your area have good cell reception?
In Home vs. Mobile Medical Alert Systems
In Home System Mobile System
Price Less expensive More expensive
Range Limited range (400-1000 ft) Can be taken anywhere
Weight Extra lightweight pendent (About as much as 2 quarters) Lightweight pendent (About as much as an egg)
Communication Powerful Microphone and speaker are in the main console Microphone and speaker are in the button for 2-way communication anywhere
Power Supply Console plugs in to an outlet Uses a battery that needs to be recharged
Battery Life Help button lasts 3-5 years and doesn’t need to be recharged Battery lasts 4-5 days
Constraints Must be within certain to base unit Needs cellular reception
Location Tracking No Yes
Power Outages Landlines work during a power outage Cellular systems cannot be recharged during power outages

So, What Kind of Device Should I Get?

Ultimately, the choice of an at-home vs. mobile system comes down to the lifestyle of the user.

Senior Lifestyle Best System
Active senior who leaves the house by themselves on a regular basis Mobile
Homebound senior who lives alone In home
Elderly parent who lives with their child and rarely leaves without accompaniment In home
Dementia or Alzheimer’s patient at risk of becoming lost Mobile
Senior who lives in an area with poor cellular reception In home
Senior who rarely leaves their home and doesn’t have a landline In home wireless
Senior lives in a rural area at risk for extended landline outages Mobile

Our Experts Are Ready to Help.

Call (800) 554-4600

Medical Alert Necklaces and Bracelets

You Choose How You Want to Wear Your Device

For a medical alert button to be useful and effective, it needs to be on the elderly person when they fall. It doesn’t do much good if the button isn’t in reach. So, senior medical alarms are designed to be lightweight, comfortable, and wearable so they actually get used.

You have two ways to wear your button: as a necklace, or as a bracelet. Though some devices are easier to switch than others, most devices can be worn either way.

Medical alert necklaces are typically made of nylon. The hypoallergenic nylon strands are smooth to prevent irritation, and designed to breakaway in case they get caught on something.

Medical alert bracelets are usually made of silicone. The wristbands are adjustable so they fit a variety of wrist sizes. Some even have wrist straps designed to be replaced with regular watch bands.

Is It Better to Wear a Medical Alert as a Necklace or a Bracelet?

How you wear your button partially comes down to a matter of preference. Some people prefer to wear it around their neck, while others like it on the wrist.

Overall, we’d recommend wearing the device as a medical alert necklace because it’s slightly easier to access the button if you fall and somewhat less likely to accidentally get pressed.

Additionally, a key advantage of wearing the device around your neck is if you want to have automatic fall detection. The medical alert devices with fall detection are calibrated for people wearing the button as a necklace. It’s much harder for fall detection on a bracelet to work accurately because of how much we move our arms.

Another thing to note is that when you wear the pendant around your neck, it’s recommended to wear the button outside of your shirt or blouse as it makes it easier to press if you have a fall.

Features and Add-ons

Take Your Medical Alert System to the Next Level

All medical alerts come with a help button, but there are often optional features and add-ons you can add to your system for increased safety and convenience. Here are some of the popular ones:

  • Fall Detection¹
    Some devices offer automatic fall detection as an additional service. While it can’t prevent a fall, a medical alert system with fall detection can summon help automatically when you can’t press the button. This is an essential feature for many users and caregivers.
  • Location Tracking
    If you or your loved one is active and likes to go for walks or take trips to the store, having a medical alert with GPS tracking is indispensable. Some systems even let caregivers check to see where the user is in real-time on demand. This provides peace of mind knowing that they can easily be located if there is an emergency.
  • Lockboxes
    A medical alert lockbox or key safe is a simple storage device about the size of a deck of cards that is attached to an outside door handle or wall. A house key is locked into the container and is opened with a code in case of an emergency.
    When you press your emergency button, the operators can share the code on the lockbox with caregivers and emergency responders. This allows them to access the user’s home if it’s locked. More importantly, it lets them get in without needing to damage your door or window.
  • Automatic System Testing
    With automatic system testing, your device sends a signal to the monitoring center to ensure that the device is working properly. However, we still recommend proactively testing your system on a monthly basis to make absolutely sure that everything checks out.
  • Wall Buttons

    There are going to be times for elderly people that the medical alert button isn’t being worn. Seniors who take the alert device off to sleep don’t always remember to put it back on, especially if they get out of bed at night to visit the bathroom or get a drink of water. That’s when wall buttons become crucial.

    Emergency wall buttons are devices mounted on the wall that are connected to the medical alert system. Pressing the button on the wall triggers an emergency response to the monitoring center as if you pressed the button on your pendant.

    We recommend putting a wall button in the hallway and in the bathroom. We also suggest that you place the emergency wall button low on the wall. While this might seem counter-intuitive, if you fall on the ground and can’t get up, you need the button easily within reach.

  • Smartphone, Smartwatches, and Alexa Integration

    Integrating medical alerts with smart devices is becoming an important development of the medical alert industry. These smart technologies make it easier for caregivers to stay connected to their loved ones.

    Some companies are combining smartwatches with medical alert systems for stylish, wearable devices that can provide the same level of protection as a pendant button.
    Smart home devices such as the Amazon Echo aren’t replacing medical alert systems, but rather they are helping users and caregivers stay on top of their loved ones on-demand.

  • Spouse or Additional Coverage
    If you and your spouse live together, you can often easily add on an additional button.
    What better gift is there to protect your spouse than his and her medical alert necklace!

Setting Up Your Medical Alert Equipment

Medical alert equipment is made simple so anyone can set up and install their system.

Getting started with a mobile medical alert is extra easy! All you need to do is plug the charging base into the wall and call the company’s customer service to activate the device. It’s pretty easy.

Installing a landline isn’t much different. To set one up you just need to plug the emergency console into the electric outlet, plug in landline phone jack, then call the service number and your system will be activated.

If you need it, customer service reps should be able to walk you through the set-up step by step.

Testing Your Medical Alert Button

In an emergency situation, you want to know that pressing your button is going to work. That’s why testing your system on a regular basis is crucial to do.

We recommend testing your unit once per month.

To test your device, simply press the help button and tell the operator that you’re just testing it.

Need More Information? Talk to a Medical Alert Expert.

Call (800) 554-4600

How Much Do Medical Alerts Cost?

How do you know if you’re getting a good deal on the price of your medical alert system?

The cost of a medical alert system is often a deciding factor when making a final choice.

The lower priced medical alert system on the market which connect directly to a monitoring center cost around $20 per month.

From there, costs can increase depending on the add-ons, optional features, and functionality you choose. Many businesses offer premium features like fall detection and device protection plans for an extra fee.

Be aware that some monitoring companies charge for shipping or an initial set up fee.

What About the Cost of a Mobile Medical Alert?

The price for a mobile system typically costs $35-$70 per month. As discussed earlier in the guide, these devices work anywhere that cellular service exists.

What Does the Price of a Medical Alert System Include?

The monthly price of a medical alert system pays for ongoing the cost of the 24/7 monitoring center, operation and management of the device, and features that you choose.

Does AARP Recommend a Medical Alert System?

While AARP highly recommends medical alert systems to help seniors live longer, more active lives, they don’t endorse any specific system.

Are Medical Alert Systems Worth the Price?

It’s hard to put a price on saving a life, but that’s exactly what medical alert companies aim to do.

Ultimately, you’re paying for the peace of mind knowing that if you have a fall, help is there with just the push of a button. Whether a medical alert is worth it comes down to your specific situation and caregiving needs.

Ready to Order? Talk to a Medical Alert Expert.

Call (800) 554-4600

How Do I Find The Best Medical Alert System?

Which senior alarm service should I use?

If you’re considering a medical alert system, which one should you choose? Which is the best? How do I compare the options?

The wide variety of features, service options and fees can make it tough to pick the best system for you or your loved one.

These are the main attributes to look at to help you decide:

  • The Best Fit for Your Lifestyle
  • Price and Affordability
  • The Alert Monitoring Center
  • Customer Service
  • Features, Add-ons and Technology

Picking the Senior Alert System that Best Fits Your Lifestyle

The first question you should ask when buying a medical alert is, “do I need an in-home unit or a mobile device?”.

For someone who typically doesn’t leave the home often or alone, an in home device will be the best fit for them. While a more active user will value the added protection outside the home that our Mobile LTE device can provide.

You can learn more about choosing an in-home vs. mobile medical alert system above.

Price and Affordability

When it comes to picking a medical alert device, price and affordability are often on of the main determining factors.

Although these devices are priced to be as affordable as possible, on a fixed income it can be hard to afford some of the more expensive options. If that’s the case, it can help to focus on an in-home medical alert device as there are typically more affordable. Most in-home devices will still cover beyond the front and back yards of most homes.

You can learn more about the cost of a medical alert above.

What to Look for in a Medical Alert Monitoring Center

There are different levels of quality and operational standards for monitoring centers. Here’s are a few indicators to look for.

  • What are the response times?
    In an emergency, seconds matter!
    The average response time for most medical alert monitoring centers range between approximately 20 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Does the operator hold the line?
    It can be frightening for seniors to be left alone, even after help is on the way.
    The best monitoring centers will have the operator stay on the phone with the user until help arrives. This assures the user that they are not alone and help is on the way.
  • Is the monitoring center listed with Underwriters Laboratories (UL)?
    UL sets safety and reliability standards for millions of American products. They certify that a monitoring center is secure and reliable.
  • Are the operators TMA Certified?
    The Monitoring Association certifies specialized training programs, so you know the monitoring center operators will provide the highest levels of service to you.
  • Is the monitoring center located in the USA?
    An operator located outside the United States may not understand and be able to provide you or your loved one the highest quality service.
  • Does the monitoring center have contact protocols?
    An ambulance may not need to be dispatched each time a button is pressed. A monitoring center with a contact list in place will have the ability to contact a local family member, neighbor or caregiver before resorting to 911.

Getting Great Customer Service

Great customer service is one of the most important aspects of the best medical alert companies. It separates the good ones from the great ones.

These are some of the things that can help you determine the quality of a company’s customer service.

  • Is the customer service 24/7?
  • Does the company have customer service agents separate from the monitoring center operators?
  • Are customer service calls answered by a live person?

You can read reviews online and call to ask questions from their sales reps to get the full picture of a company’s customer service.

Features and Qualities of the Best Medical Alert Systems

  • Weight, Comfort and Wearability
    One of the first questions many older folks ask regarding the system is, “Is a medical alert device comfortable to wear?”.
    That’s why the medical alarm button needs to be lightweight and comfortable to wear. A lightweight unit allows you to go about your day without feeling weighed down by your pendant or wristband.
    Look for lightweight medical alert buttons that weigh less than 2.75 ounces.
    While it might not seem like a big difference, a pendant over 3 ounces can be uncomfortable to wear all the time.
    You should also look for an emergency button that is versatile and can be worn as either a necklace or a wristband.
    Comfort is key when making sure your loved one would wear a device or not.
  • 24/7 In House Emergency Monitoring
    Most medical alert devices come with monitoring all hours of the day. The best medical alert companies don’t outsource their monitoring to third party  monitoring centers, instead they own and operate their own.
    Some companies claim to have their own in house monitoring centers when in fact they use a third-party company. These outsourced companies typically focus on burglar and fire alarms. They don’t specialize in responding to medical emergencies. Some of them aren’t even in the United States!
    Make sure to ask if their monitoring center is in the same building as a company’s sales and customer service teams.
  • Waterproof Medical Alerts
    Around 80% of falls happen in the bathroom. So, it’s crucial for your senior alarm system to work there too.
    That’s why you need to make sure the medical alert button you decide to go with is waterproof. This way you can wear the button in the shower or tub.
    However even waterproof medical alert buttons are limited as to how deep or how long they can be submerged in water. Not all devices are not meant to be used while swimming or for long soaks in the tub.
  • Battery Life
    With any electronic device, battery life can be a concern. Medical alerts are no different. However, with medical alerts a dead battery can be the difference between life and death.
    The battery life for Mobile PERS devices are a bigger concern than it is for in home units. This is because the in home safety pendant doesn’t need to be charged and those batteries can last up to 5 years.
    Mobile medical alerts with GPS on the other hand are constantly tracking your location in order to share that information with your call center in the event of an emergency. That’s why mobile devices need to be charged on a regular basis, most companies recommend charging your device daily even though they battery life can support multiple days of activity.
    If you’re looking at ordering a mobile medical alert system, ask about the device’s battery life. The best mobile systems have a battery life that can last up to 5 days on a full charge.
  • Long Range Signal and Cellular Coverage
    If your in home help button is out of range of the main console’s signal pressing your button won’t do anything! So, having a long-range medical alert is essential. Look for a medical alert system for your home that has a signal range of at least 500 ft. This way it covers your entire home and your average yard space.
    For mobile medical alerts on the other hand, the signal range isn’t limited to a console. Instead it uses a cellular signal and will cover you all over the country. It’s so important to have a reliable cellular carrier so most medical alert companies use AT&T with their nationwide coverage.
  • Easy Set Up
    It’s important to find a medical alert that’s easy to set up. Most users should be able to set up or troubleshoot their own system in less than 10 minutes.
  • Contracts, Cancellation and Return Policies
    When it comes to medical alerts, no one wants to be locked into a long term contract. Some companies make you sign a 3-year agreement!
    You want to know that if your situation changes, you won’t be on the hook to pay for service you no longer need or early termination fees.
    The best medical alert systems are billed monthly and allow you to cancel anytime without any extra fees.

Ready to Order? Talk to a Medical Alert Expert.

Call (800) 554-4600

Who Should Get a Medical Alert System?

Are Medical Alerts for Elderly People Only?

Some falsely believe that medical alert systems are only for the elderly or those who have serious medical conditions.

In truth, many healthy active seniors wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet in order to be proactive about their health and give their families some peace of mind. It’s always better to have a fall button and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

When Do People Get Medical Alerts?

A life-changing event of medical or personal nature often prompts the decision to get a medical emergency response system.

Some of these events include:

  • A major fall
    Falling at home alone can be a frightening and destabilizing experience that no one wants to experience. Around half of senior citizens who take a tumble experience another fall. Each fall increases the risk of another fall happening again, compounding the risk of serious injury.
    A medical alert system offers the peace of mind to those who have fallen to return to their daily lives at home or on the go once with a sense of confidence.
  • Getting out of the hospital
    Some may feel unstable after being discharged from the hospital. One study found that around 14% of senior patients fell within a month after being discharged from the hospital.
    Medical alert systems provide the 24/7 security of knowing someone is watching over them without needing a family caregiver, nurse or home health aide around them all the time.
  • Change  in marital or family status
    Once children move out of the house or a spouse passes away, seniors may suddenly find themselves alone at home, without the sense of safety provided by others being present in the house.
    A medical alert system can help quell these concerns by ensuring around-the-clock access to help should an emergency arise.
  • After family gatherings
    Often one of the motivating factors for getting a senior fall alert is seeing the condition of your mother or grandmother at a family gathering like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Seeing your loved one with limited mobility can be the trigger for finally getting them a medical alert device.
  • Maintain independence
    As part of the growing aging in place movement, some seniors do not want to move into an assisted living facility or nursing homes, even if medical issues make them more vulnerable to falls.
    The simple one-button design of a medical alert system ensures that help can be on the way in minutes, without sacrificing the independent lifestyle seniors desire.

How Often Do Seniors Fall?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 30 million older adults fall each year. A senior citizen in the U.S. falls once every second — that’s 60 falls per minute, 3,600 falls per hour, or 86,400 falls every day!

Senior Fall Risk

Seniors aged 65 and older are more vulnerable to fall than any other age range. And this danger increases dramatically as people grow further in their golden years.

Around 20 percent of falls result in serious injury such as breaking a bone or a concussion or similar head injury. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury and death among the senior population. Approximately 30,000 die each year as a result of injuries sustained in a fall!

Even if an older person falls and doesn’t injure themselves, they may not be able to get up. Being trapped on the ground without help is a terrifying ordeal. If they can’t call for assistance it can become fatal. This is why buying a medical alert system is so essential.

While some may be quick to attribute falling to just a normal part of aging, falling can be symptomatic of other health related issues.

What Causes Falls in the Elderly?

  • Loss of Balance. As we age, we lose balance and function through loss of sensory elements, the ability to integrate information about our surroundings, the ability to command our muscles, and we lose musculoskeletal function and conditioning. All of these aging factors lead to a loss of balance in the elderly.
  • COPD. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the second-leading chronic condition which causes falls. Difficulty breathing prevents well-oxygenated blood from circulating the body, which in turn impacts proper function and could lead to a fall.
  • Diabetes. This common condition can reduce circulation in the extremities and cause neuropathy or other issues in the feet. This makes it more difficult for seniors to walk and can affect their ability to move safely.
  • Heart conditions. Congenital heart disease, low blood pressure, and poor circulation are just a few of the many heart conditions which could cause someone to fall.
  • Medications. Side effects of some medications include dizziness, low blood pressure, and drowsiness, all of which make a senior more at risk of falling.
  • Decreased vision. When it’s difficult to see, seniors may increase their chances of tripping over objects or bumping into items that could throw off their balance and cause them to fall.
  • Needing a walker or cane. While canes and walkers can prevent many elderly falls, they are a clear indicator that it’s time to order a medical alert.

Even with a` walking device, rugs, thresholds, or any ordinary loose object on the floor can create a hazardous condition for a senior citizen. If these items impede the use of a walking device, a senior could trip and suffer an injury.

Ready to Order? Talk to a Medical Alert Expert.

Call (800) 554-4600

History of Medical Alarms

From Humble Roots These Devices Have Saved Millions of Lives

Medical alert systems were first introduced to the public in the 1970’s—you may even remember the commercials that aired on television to promote them.

In the early 1970’s a German inventor named Wilhelm Hormann was trying to develop an ambulatory care system for the elderly, disabled, and those who lived alone.

Simultaneously, the American International Telephone Company (AITC) was working on an emergency home phone system, which they unveiled to the public in 1975. The emergency response system created by AITC allowed users to push a button on a medallion they wore around their neck, which sent pre-programmed messages to several different phone numbers. It was basically an early version of the modern-day text message.

Medical alert companies like LifeStation, Medical Guardian and LifeLine saw the potential of these inventions and worked to perfect the systems. Instead of calling a home phone number, the device button presses were routed to an alarm monitoring center where either a caregiver could be summoned, or the emergency operator could dispatch local emergency medical services to help the elderly person who fell and couldn’t get back up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQlpDiXPZHQIn 1989 medical alert systems fell into the mainstream media conscious. The senior alarm company LifeCall started running commercials that contained an elderly woman named Mrs. Fletcher who after falling says into her alert pendent “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

After LifeCall went out of business in 1993, another company, Life Alert capitalized by trademarking the phrases “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” and “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” In 1992, former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop appeared in commercials for Life Alert.

Advancements in technology over the past quarter century have allowed for new features to be added to medical alert systems, such as not having to rely on a landline telephone connection, automatic fall detection, and GPS-enabled mobile senior alerts.

So, What is the Best Medical Alert System for Seniors?

Questions to Ask When Picking a Medical Alert System

We may be a bit bias, but we would say LifeStation is the best medical alert service out there. But with such an important decision you need to think about these essential areas that make up the best medical alert system for seniors.

Here are the questions you need to ask:

  • Monitoring Center
    Does the company have 24/7 in house senior emergency monitoring?
    What are the response times?
    Does the operator hold the line?
    Does the monitoring center have contact protocols?
    Is the monitoring center listed with Underwriters Laboratories (UL)?
    Are the operators TMA Certified?
    Is the monitoring center located in the USA?
  • Customer Service
    Is it 24/7?
    Are all of the reps in the U.S.?
    Does the company have customer service agents separate from monitoring center operators?
    Are customer service calls answered by a live person?
  • Qualities and Features
    How much does the medical alert cost per month?
    Is the medical alert comfortable to wear?
    Do you offer a risk-free trial?
    Is the device waterproof?
    How long does the battery last?
    What are the company’s contracts, cancellation and return policies?

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