Your health matters. Without it, life just isn't going to have the same gloss. Unfortunately, we all have times in our lives when our health fails us, whether it's due to an accident or something more persistent. If someone lives alone, this can be a difficult experience for them and their family. The sad fact is that we can't be there 24/7 for everyone we care about, even though we might like to be. If something should happen, whether it's an allergic reaction, a slip in the shower or just a fall in the kitchen, a quick medical response can make all the difference, even the difference between life and death.
Why choose a medical alert system?
With the aid of modern sensors and communication technologies, medical alert systems help you to get medical assistance quickly when you need it most. So how do medical alert systems work? Most of them provide portable devices that allow you to simply press a button and then be connected to a professional member of staff who can call out the emergency services for you. These devices range from pendants and bracelets, to wall mounted buttons, fall detectors or even pressure pads.
You'll be greeted by a calm and collected human voice at the other end, who will talk to you about a problem you might be having, and send the emergency services to your aid if needed. It's no wonder that this simple system has been adopted by thousands of Americans, particularly for elderly relatives, as it provides an emergency response at any time of the day or night, without the need to remember phone numbers and push buttons on a telephone (which can be difficult if you're hurt, in shock or simply unable to move or speak).
We've looked at a wide variety of medical emergency services that are available to you, and have considered their various pros and cons. Whilst many of them seem similar on the surface, there are a few key differences between each of them, and whilst one company might be ideal for you, it might not be exactly what someone else is looking for. Subsequently we've written this buying guide to help you to understand how we have reviewed each medical alert system, and how you might go about choosing the one that will suit your needs.
Nearly all of the medical emergency services we've reviewed will provide a pendant and bracelet communication device. This is fine if all you want is a simple and quick way to contact the support team to request help. However there are a wide range of devices available that may be of use. Fall sensors, for example, will alert the emergency services if they detect that you have fallen over.
Meanwhile you might wish to take advantage of home security features such as automated locks, allowing access to paramedics, or temperature controls which will make sure your rooms don't get too hot or cold, preventing some medical emergencies from occuring. We recommend taking a good look at the devices available and how they function, before deciding to make a purchase.
24/7 monitoring is fairly standard in this business. This means that you can always make contact if you're having a medical emergency, any time of night or day. We consider the response times of each company, and how satisfied customers have been with their service.
Also, you might wish to know whether or not the staff member will remain on the line until the emergency services arrive, and whether or not they will contact your family and friends if something happens to you. Some companies also keep your medical records so that they can tell a paramedic your details, helping to prevent the risk of incorrect diagnosis on their arrival.
Pricing: what to look out for
There are a few different pricing strategies used by medical alert service websites, and they're not always that clear. We've tried to explain any abnormal systems in a way that makes them a bit more approachable, as well as providing a star rating to express "value for money". If you like the look of a particular device or service then it's wise to check the price of the service, the equipment and the activation or installation.
Sometimes you will be offered an all-inclusive monthly fee, so everything is covered. Other sites will simply sell you the equipment you want, which you then own. Other websites might offer a combination of the two, selling you equipment and then charging you a fee for their services. Read the small print, and if you're in any doubt then contact the sales team for clarification
Tailoring your medical alert system
Not everyone has the same medical problem, and as such you may find that not every medical alert system will offer you the features and services you need. If you think you might need a specialist piece of equipment then check whether or not a specific company actually offers it. For example, some clients may have a bit of a problem remembering to take their medication, so you'll potentially want to find a service that provides automated medication dispensors.
Meanwhile if you have a family member who isn't that steady on their feet then you may wish to look specifically for a company that provides automatic fall detection. Of course these things can cost a bit more, but when it comes to your health, or the health of your loved ones, it can be dangerous to cut corners just to save a few bucks.
The Bottom Line
We recommend that you take your time in deciding which service to opt for. Check out several of our reviews, and several of the websites. Whilst one website might be more popular than another this doesn't meant that it necessarily offers what you are looking for.
If you're in any doubt about what you're receiving or how to use it then don't be afraid to contact the sales teams. There ought to be a product and service range to suit most budgets – we've tried to scour the internet for a diverse selection to offer you the most choice possible. Here's wishing you good luck, and good health!