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Are Medical Alert Systems Reliable?

Wednesday, September 28th

Are Medical Alert Systems Reliable?

As a growing segment of the population in the United States continues to age, the need for medical alert systems also is increasing. Baby boomers and the generation beyond want the option of staying in their homes - rather than being forced to live in a nursing or personal care home - for as long as possible.

But with age come new challenges and illnesses which can make it difficult to remain in your own home, especially if you live alone. Adult children of aging parents also face the unique challenge of being able to help their parents remain independent, even if they do not live close enough to regularly check on them in person.

So how does an aging population maintain its independence without stressing out friends and family?

Enter the medical alert system, and all of these stressors are greatly diminished.

There are a variety of medical alert systems on the market today, but they all basically work the same. The person wears or carries with them a transmitter, which communicates wirelessly with a remote device which is plugged into a landline telephone jack. If a person requires assistance, they simply push the button on their wearable device. That sends a signal to the remote base, which in turn contacts the call center associated with the medical alert system.

Most medical alert systems have their own operations centers, so calls go directly to them, rather than being routed to 911. The person who activated the device can then speak to the communication center, indicating the nature of their problem. The person at the communication center must then decide whether to call for an ambulance, or to alert a friend or family member who can assist in person.

Some medical alert systems even are designed to detect when a person wearing them falls. In these cases, the person may be unconscious and unable to push a button to request help, so the device automatically will send a report to the communication center.

Sounds great, right? In theory, these kinds of systems seem like the perfect solution to those who wish to remain in their homes, with the added security of knowing help is just a button push away. But how reliable are these kinds of systems?

According to the companies which sell them - and the various testimonials posted about them - the devices are incredibly reliable. The wearable units, of which the majority is waterproof, have a battery life span of three to five years on average. So there is little concern the unit will require frequent battery changes, or that the user will be unprotected while it charges.

Even during a power outage, customers are protected for 24 to 36 hours, depending on the brand name of unit they purchased. Most devices now come with a back-up battery supply for such times. The only time this will be an issue is if the person using the medical alert device does not have a traditional landline telephone, but rather has Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, service through a cable company. Modems which operate VOIP systems lose power during a power outage, which will prevent the medical alert system from functioning. Those who wish to ensure their safety during a power outage should connect their devices to a traditional telephone landline.

The Best Medical Alert Systems Compare Medical Alert Systems Compare Medical Alert System Reviews What are the best Medical Alert Systems Best Medical Alert System Reviews

Medical Alert System FAQ

A medical alert system is often used by seniors who want to "age in place" rather than move to an independent/assisted living facility. Using a button on a pendant or wrist strap, they can let loved ones and/or emergency responders know that they need help due to a fall or medical situation.
Most systems on the market include a wearable panic button and round-the-clock remote monitoring. You can choose a plan that covers in-home use only or one that includes coverage when the wearer is out and about.
That depends on the person using the system and what kind of help they might need. Some medical alert systems include automatic fall detection, GPS tracking, and even smartwatch features like heart rate monitoring and tracking health goals.
Pricing varies, but you can anticipate monthly service fees ranging from $19.95 to $56.95 - the higher your coverage, the more you'll pay per month. You'll also need to factor in equipment costs: some service providers let you choose between buying it outright (lower monthly fees) and renting it (higher monthly fees).
Unfortunately, you won't get coverage for a medical alert system through Original Medicare or Medicaid. But, if you have a supplemental insurance plan, you might be able to get a discount. Check with your carrier if this applies to you.
The majority of medical alert systems come with a 30-day trial or money-back guarantee. However, with respect to the equipment, you'll want to read the fine print to understand your provider's terms if something goes wrong with your panic button or with any other devices down the line.
Yes. Very few medical alert providers lock you into a long-term contract. Most often, you'll get a prorated refund for any prepaid months of coverage once you return rented equipment. Plus, you have that initial trial period of 15-30 days that's offered by most medical alert services.
Your best bet is to see what other customers have to say. Look for reviews, preferably on third-party sites not affiliated with the provider. Another great resource is the Better Business Bureau: an "A+" rating and accreditation are good signs that you or your loved one will be well-protected by a particular medical alert service.

Compare Medical Alert Systems

Select any 2 Medical Alert Systems to compare them head to head

best-medical-alert-systems
  • Bay Alarm Medical
  • LifeFone
  • LifeStation
  • MobileHelp
  • ADT
  • Medihill
  • Alert 1
  • Philips Lifeline
  • Medical Guardian
  • Life Alert
  • ResponseLINK
  • Rescue Alert
Bay Alarm Medical vs LifeFone Bay Alarm Medical vs LifeStation Bay Alarm Medical vs MobileHelp Bay Alarm Medical vs ADT Bay Alarm Medical vs Medihill Bay Alarm Medical vs Alert 1 Bay Alarm Medical vs Philips Lifeline Bay Alarm Medical vs Medical Guardian Bay Alarm Medical vs Life Alert Bay Alarm Medical vs ResponseLINK Bay Alarm Medical vs Rescue Alert LifeFone vs LifeStation LifeFone vs MobileHelp LifeFone vs ADT LifeFone vs Medihill LifeFone vs Alert 1 LifeFone vs Philips Lifeline LifeFone vs Medical Guardian LifeFone vs Life Alert LifeFone vs ResponseLINK LifeFone vs Rescue Alert LifeStation vs MobileHelp LifeStation vs ADT LifeStation vs Medihill LifeStation vs Alert 1 LifeStation vs Philips Lifeline LifeStation vs Medical Guardian LifeStation vs Life Alert LifeStation vs ResponseLINK LifeStation vs Rescue Alert MobileHelp vs ADT MobileHelp vs Medihill MobileHelp vs Alert 1 MobileHelp vs Philips Lifeline MobileHelp vs Medical Guardian MobileHelp vs Life Alert MobileHelp vs ResponseLINK MobileHelp vs Rescue Alert ADT vs Medihill ADT vs Alert 1 ADT vs Philips Lifeline ADT vs Medical Guardian ADT vs Life Alert ADT vs ResponseLINK ADT vs Rescue Alert Medihill vs Alert 1 Medihill vs Philips Lifeline Medihill vs Medical Guardian Medihill vs Life Alert Medihill vs ResponseLINK Medihill vs Rescue Alert Alert 1 vs Philips Lifeline Alert 1 vs Medical Guardian Alert 1 vs Life Alert Alert 1 vs ResponseLINK Alert 1 vs Rescue Alert Philips Lifeline vs Medical Guardian Philips Lifeline vs Life Alert Philips Lifeline vs ResponseLINK Philips Lifeline vs Rescue Alert Medical Guardian vs Life Alert Medical Guardian vs ResponseLINK Medical Guardian vs Rescue Alert Life Alert vs ResponseLINK Life Alert vs Rescue Alert ResponseLINK vs Rescue Alert
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