Medical Alert Systems or Emergency Response Monitors
Medical Alert Systems were first created in the 1970s with the aim of helping seniors in the event of an emergency. They are sometimes referred to as personal emergency alert devices, or emergeny response systems. Emergency response systems help seniors receive immediate help and medical attention in the event of an emergency. They are much smaller and more inconspicuous than they originally were during the 70s, and can either be clipped on like a pager or worn around the neck. There are even medical alert systems that sync with smart phones for those tech savvy seniors. Currently, most emergency response systems have a sensor that detects falls, as well as a button one can push in order to communicate directly with a consultant to determine the level of help needed.
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Reasons to Use an Emergency Response System
- One out of three seniors fall every year.
- About half of all seniors have a fear of falling.
- Emergency response systems allow seniors to live independently.
- They give reassurance to the family and friends their loved one is protected.
- Emergency response systems provide peace of mind to seniors that help is easily accessible, should they suffer from a heart attack or stroke.
When Is It Time to Consider a Medical Alert System?
If you are over 65, you may be considering investing in a medical alert system for your home. Age, however, isn’t the only factor to keep in mind when making this decision. Both seniors and their care networks and families can benefit from the safety and independence a medical alert system affords. Additional considerations when deciding to get a medical alert system may include whether:
- You have fallen at least once in the past year
- You use a mobility aid like a walker, cane, or wheelchair
- Your medicine has side effects of dizziness, low blood pressure, or drowsiness
- You have gone to the E.R. or been hospitalized in the past year
- You have one or more chronic conditions (i.e. diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s)
- You need assistance with your day to day activities
Ultimately, if you are looking to “age in place” as long as possible, a medical alert emergency system may be helpful even if you have no serious health concerns or history of injuries.
How do Medical Alert Systems Work?
Depending on the type of alert system you get, you may have access to features like contacting caregivers with the touch of a button, alerting local emergency responders, having your location tracked by GPS so you can be found in the event of an emergency, and sending off loud alarm sounds and flashing lights if you feel you are in danger.
Medical alert systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but at their most basic typically offer you a free-standing device which remains in your home and then a pendant or other wearable device you can take with you on the go. The free-standing devices are most often one-touch dialers that you can pre-program with a list of emergency contact numbers. In the event of an emergency, you can simply press a large button and it will start contacting your selected list until someone answers and you can speak with them and ask for help.
Personal alert systems can be worn on your person as a necklace, clip, etc and will give off loud sounds and noises to let others near you know you’re in trouble (and to ward off attackers). And the final grouping, call buttons and pagers, is more like what you might find in the hospital. A senior who is bed or chair-limited may use this type of device to alert or page a caregiver in the home with them to ask for help. Some medical alert systems are even engineered to send out signals requesting help when a senior experiences a fall.
Price for Emergency Response Systems
Each system is different and the pricing usually depends on the quality of equipment, the amount of equipment setup, and pendant. Most emergency response systems are have an initial installation fee and are priced by month. In the digital age, you are bound to find a slew of medical alert systems online with helpful reviews and competitive prices. You can also look in your local pharmacy or big box store for purchasing as well. Ask friends and relatives who have their own medical alert systems which types and brands they recommend, but remember, what works for someone else may not be the exact right solution for you.
Medical alert systems can help seniors feel safer in their homes and when they venture out, as well as provide caregivers peace of mind knowing that their loved ones have an easy way of contacting help in the event of an emergency.