Thursday, May 12, 2016

Medical Alert Systems: A Guide

Medical alert systems may have come to prominence with a series of commercials featuring the line, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up,” but the security and peace of mind the systems offer is not a joke.

It can be difficult to talk to your loved one about getting a medical alert device, but the Consumer Affairs community offers insight on how to start this conversation. A fall or injury can be devastating to an elderly person. Faster treatment can mean the difference between a full recovery and a long-term disability. Medical alert systems can help reduce response times, even when someone lives alone.


Who would use a medical alert system?

  • Seniors living alone or who may be left alone at times; a fall or other simple injury could have dramatic consequences.
  • Persons who have recently retired are in generally good health, but they may spend too much time alone at home and their mobility may become decreased.
  • Persons with newly diagnosed or severe epilepsy generally respond very well to medication, but children and adult-onset patients may not be seizure-free until doctors find workable medication.
  • Persons with uncontrolled diabetes can fall into comas or have seizures when their blood sugar goes too far outside the normal range. They may not be able to dial 911 to summon help.
  • Persons who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease (or another dementia) often wander which can meet with tragic results as the person may not know where they are, how to get back home or how to find help.
  • Caregivers of aging parents or loved ones who are ill may find great relief to know that if an accident occurs, their loved one will be able to receive help quickly.

What are the basic system types?

  • Monitored: Like alarm systems designed to protect the home, a monitored medical alert system has a live person tracking activity on the other end. Monitoring helps ensure that there are minimal false alarms and 911 calls.
  • Unmonitored: Unmonitored systems have a series of numbers pre-programmed to call when the alarm is triggered. Instead of getting a guaranteed answer, the system just calls through the list until it reaches the final number, which may be 911.
  • Monitored with fall alert: This system is just as described; it is a monitored system that automatically detects falls. If the wearer falls and doesn’t manually trigger the alert, the system will still notify the monitoring company which will then try to contact the customer before notifying emergency services.
  • Unmonitored with fall alert: This type of system starts calling as soon as a fall is detected. The immediacy removes the necessity of pressing the trigger and can get help to a senior faster in the event of an emergency.
If you think you or a loved one could use a medical alert system, check out this link for lots more info, including product reviews and much more: ConsumerAffairs.com



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