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We've all seen the television commercials: an elderly woman who is home alone falls, realizes her hip is likely broken, and can't reach a telephone. It could be hours or even days before anyone finds her. What does she do? She activates her emergency medical response device and calls for help.
While the commercial may be corny, the idea behind it is lifesaving.
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.
There are many emergency alert systems on the market today, and it can be confusing as to which is the best option for your individual needs. All of the ads and promotions found when a website search is conducted for emergency alert systems can be enough to leave a person's head spinning for hours. So what is available and how do these systems work?
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 an alert 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 equipment you may expect to find in a medical alert system includes a wearable device that is durable and waterproof, allowing it to be worn while in the shower or even in the pool. It can be activated by pushing a button. A signal is sent from the device to a medical alarm speaker. Once the button is pushed, the call center is alerted, and they will be able to speak to you through the device to determine what kind of emergency is being experienced and what kind of assistance is required.
Another fetaure you may find in a medical alert system is a wearable device which helps to detect if the person wearing it has fallen. Wearing a device that requires the user to push a button for assistance is only helpful if the person is still conscious and able to do so. Some companies will send out a technician, who will install the system for you, while others require the user to install the equipment themselves.
Some home alarm companies also are jumping on the medical alert bandwagon. These can be some of the most technologically-advanced systems - but they also are some of the most expensive to install and operate.
When choosing a medical alert system, be sure to check reviews, ask for references and choose a plan that is affordable to you. As a general rule, if you are uncomfortable with anything being proposed or feel that you are being forced to accept a long-term contract in order to be provided with service, then the company is one that you should probably avoid.
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