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Are Medical Alert Systems Worth The Money?

The statistics are staggering: one in three people aged 65 or older fall each year, causing injuries which require immediate assistance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of those who fall, two-thirds are at greater risk for falling a subsequent time within six months of the original incident.

Broken bones and head trauma are common results of a fall, and require immediate attention. For someone living alone, the ability to call for help without having to first reach a telephone can be a life-saving option. For those people, a medical alert system is worth its weight in gold.

So what is a medical alert system and how does it work?

The first medical alert system was created in the early 1950s. Thanks, in part, to advancements in technology over the last 60 years, the systems have shown great improvement and offer more "bells and whistles" than ever before.

Medical alert systems may differ in some respects, but they all work in the same general fashion. When activated - usually by pushing a button on a device you are wearing or through a voice-activated system - they send a signal to a base unit located in your home, which then contacts the device's monitoring center. It is the job of the people who operate the monitoring center to assess the medical situation, then to call in the appropriate personnel to handle it. If a client requires medical attention, a 911 call will be placed on their behalf and the proper authorities will be dispatched to the scene. Some medical alert systems also will contact a designated friend or family member in the event of an emergency.

Some home alarm companies also are getting into the mix, offering their own versions of a medical alert system in conjunction with their home alarm services, or as a stand-alone service. They can offer package deals to customers who choose a home security system and a medical alert system. Keep in mind that with most companies, there is additional cost for the equipment and its installation.

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