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Who Needs A Medical Alert System?

For most people, when the discussion turns to medical alert systems, they can't help but think of an elderly person living alone, who has "fallen and can't get up."

While it is true that elderly residents who live alone can have peace of mind with a medical alert system, they aren't just for the older generation.

Medical alert systems are good for a variety of reasons. Before we discuss them, let's first explain how a medical alert system works.

Medical alert bracelets and home emergency response systems have existed in some form or another since the early 1950s. As technology improves, so do the offerings for such systems, expanding the ways in which these devices can be used, as well as the response time by medical personnel when they are activated.

Medical alert systems may differ in some respects, but they all work in the same basic way. 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 in your home, which then places a call to a 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 medical alert devices are designed to detect a fall, making it possible for it to automatically dial the monitoring center if the user has become incapacitated.

So who should consider installing a medical alert system in their home?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, anyone over the age of 65 should consider installing an emergency alert system in their home. The center provided statistics which indicate that one in every three adults age 65 or older will fall within the next year. Of those who fall, another two-thirds of them are at risk for a second fall within six months or less of the original incident.

Falls, especially in older people who may have weaker bones and joints, can cause significant injury. Therefore, those who are in the age 65 or older age group should consider having one of these systems in their home.

People who live alone - regardless of their age - also are prime candidates for an emergency alert system. Whether you are 25 or 75, living alone increases the risk of accident or injury which can go undetected for long periods of time. If you are among the nearly 33 million Americans who live alone, investing in one of these systems could be a life-saving decision.

Another category of people who should consider owning a medical alert system are those with chronic illness or injury. Medical emergencies are not limited to falls, and those who have pre-existing medical conditions may find having a medical alert system handy if they are alone and find they are in need of medical assistance.

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