How to Choose a Medical Alert System for Seniors

How to Choose a Medical Alert System for Seniors

Knowing how to select a medical alert system for seniors will provide you with peace of mind and help ensure the safety of your loved one. There are various types of medical alert devices available, as well as various monitored plans. It is critical to match the type of device and plan to your senior’s specific needs. Before you sign a contract with a company that provides medical alert monitoring services, you should ask several important questions.

Part 1 Deciding What Level of Monitoring Your Senior Needs

1. Choose who should be notified. You may or may not choose a system that includes monitoring services depending on where you live and how independent your senior is.

Many systems on the market are linked to call centres, allowing emergency response teams to be dispatched directly to the senior’s home when activated. These products are typically charged on a monthly basis.

If you do not believe your senior requires this level of monitoring, or if there are many close friends and family members nearby who can check on the senior, you may want to consider a wearable product that automatically calls a list of pre-programmed phone numbers, allowing your senior to call loved ones for assistance without having to get to the phone.

2. Take into account automatic detection features. Many systems include a simple push button that allows seniors to summon assistance whenever they need it. However, there are newer products on the market that provide a higher level of protection.

Many companies now offer units with automatic fall detection, which means your senior will receive emergency assistance even if she is unconscious or otherwise unable to press the emergency button.

Some units can also automatically summon emergency assistance if they detect fire or carbon monoxide.

3. Determine whether you need to track your daily health and activities. If you want to check on your senior’s health on a regular basis, even if there isn’t an emergency, you might want to consider a monitoring device that tracks the senior’s movements and vital signs. These products enable you to view data on your computer or via a smartphone app, allowing you to determine how long your senior has spent sitting or lying down, as well as whether there are any abnormal vital signs.

There are also products available that will send health monitoring data directly to the senior’s doctor.

If you’re concerned that your senior will forget to take her medications, look for a system with a pillbox monitoring function that will send an alert if the pillbox is not opened.

If you want to keep an eye on your senior from a distance, video monitoring is another option.

Part 2 Taking Lifestyle Into Consideration

1. Consider mobility. You must determine where you want your senior to be monitored. If your senior does not leave the house alone frequently, you can opt for a home-based unit that is linked to either a landline or a cellular connection and only connects the senior to monitoring services within a certain range. If your senior is more active, you might want to consider a GPS-enabled device, which will allow her to signal for help from anywhere and will notify emergency responders of her precise location.

If you’re thinking about getting a home-based unit, find out if the base unit can be easily moved to a different house. This is important if your senior moves one day, spends the winters in a warmer climate, or simply visits out-of-town family on occasion.

Check the range of home-based units because they are all different. Some may permit a connection while the senior is in the yard, while others may not. If your senior spends time in the yard, you’ll want to make sure this area is well-protected.

Some GPS-enabled devices may also allow caregivers to view the senior’s location via a mobile app, which could be useful if your senior is prone to becoming disoriented.

2. Inquire about your personal preferences. When selecting a medical alert system, one of the most important factors to consider is whether or not your senior will actually wear the device. Pendants, bracelets, belt clips, and other accessories are among the many options available. Some are more fashionable than others, which may persuade a hesitant senior to wear them. Even the best system will be useless if the senior does not wear it on a daily basis, so make sure she is comfortable with it and agrees to wear it every day.

Some systems allow for stationary buttons to be placed throughout the home. If you are concerned that your senior will not wear a pendant or other wearable device, consider placing emergency buttons in areas of the home where she is most likely to trip.

There is also a wide range of products on the market that include automatic home sensors. You can monitor things like movement in the home and temperature, and you can even get alerts if your senior leaves the water running or doesn’t close the refrigerator, which can be great cues for you to call and make sure everything is fine.

In the event of an emergency, some seniors may panic and forget to use their medical alert device. If you believe this is likely to happen to your senior, you should consider automatic detection options.

3. Make a plan for the future. Make sure to consider not only how the medical alert system will function for your senior now, but also how it will function for her as she ages.

The senior may be able to press a button to summon assistance or reset the system today, but not a year from now. Consider what other options the system provides.

Make sure your contract is adaptable, allowing you to make any necessary changes so that the plan continues to meet your needs in the future.

4. Ascertain that your senior understands the system. Take care not to select a system that your senior will be unable to use. Choose a more user-friendly device if she is not tech-savvy. Whatever system you choose, go over the operation with her so she knows exactly how to use it in an emergency.

Requesting a system trial is a good idea, especially if you are unsure whether your senior will be comfortable with the technology.

Part 3 Choosing the Right System

1. Inquire about the cost. Depending on the system, you may be able to purchase or lease the equipment. Learn about the initial and ongoing costs for all of the systems that will meet your senior’s needs.

Inquire about false alarm charges. Determine whether you will be required to pay a penalty if the senior accidentally presses the alert button or uses it for any minor issue.

Medicare does not cover the cost of medical alert plans in the United States. Most private insurers will also refuse to cover the plans, but check first. In some cases, Medicaid will cover the costs.

2. Check to see if there is a long-term commitment. Inquire whether you must sign a contract, whether there are cancellation fees, and whether you must pay for a minimum number of months. Some systems may present you with a number of contract options; choose the one that makes the most sense for you.

If you only need temporary monitoring for your senior, such as while she recovers from surgery, be especially cautious to avoid being charged any additional fees.

3.Discover the truth about monitoring services. In order to ensure that you are getting the best quality service for your loved one, ask the companies detailed questions about their services.

Inquire about response time. It will be critical to know how quickly your loved one will receive assistance in the event of an emergency.

You should also be aware of the systems required for the device to function. If the system is linked to a cellular network, but your senior has poor cell reception at home, this may be a poor choice.

Determine whether the company handles monitoring in-house or outsources the service. Inquire about how they train their employees if they do it themselves. If they outsource monitoring services, look into the company as well.

If you want and can afford round-the-clock monitoring and service, look for a plan that provides 24/7 coverage.

4. Inquire about the technology in detail. You’ve probably learned a lot about the medical alert systems that are a good fit for your needs by this point, but there are still a lot of technical questions you’ll need to ask the providers.

Check to see if there is a warranty on parts or service and if the company provides technical support.

Determine whether the battery is rechargeable or replaceable. If it’s rechargeable, find out how frequently it needs to be charged.

Inquire if waterproof monitoring devices are available.

Inquire whether the system tests itself automatically. It is critical that the system be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Determine the location of the speaker. Some devices allow seniors to communicate with the response team via a speaker built into the wearable device, while others have a speaker built into the phone.

If you want to monitor two or more seniors in the same house, find out if the system can handle your requirements.

5. Examine the feedback. Investigate the company online to see if it is reputable and what others are saying about their services. Consider how long they’ve been in business and how their prices compare to those of their competitors. If at all possible, contact people you know who use the system.

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