When caring for a loved one, sometimes there is the added stress of that loved one living on their own without in-home help for extended periods of time. As if there isn’t enough to worry about, having the additional fear that your loved one may fall or injure themselves when they are alone is not something that you should have to add to your already full plate. Luckily for you, there are many options out there for medical alert systems that can ensure that your loved one is safe when you are not available and take some of that worry and let you channel it toward more productive things.
When looking for a medical alert system for your loved one there are many things to consider. We’ve all seen the old “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” commercial where the woman who has fallen presses a button that connects her with emergency personnel. Well, medical alert systems have come along way since that single-button, worn-around-the-neck device that’s pictured in that commercial. Today there are options such as GPS capability that can help locate you if you are travelling and wristbands instead of neck lanyards, which can cause a strangulation hazard.
Some things to look for specifically are whether or not the device will work for a person who has decreased mobility in their arms and fingers, for instance. If your loved one has had a stroke and has limited movement in their right hand, let’s say, then you will want to look for a device that can be activated with one hand and that has buttons that are easy to depress. And make sure the device has battery back-up in case of power outages or in case your loved one forgets to recharge it one night. You definitely do not want to get stuck with an uncharged device!
You’ll also want to decide if it is worth it to look into systems that have wall mounted alert buttons in addition to the wristband or neck lanyard. The wall-mounted devices are usually placed near the floor in multiple rooms so that they are easily accessible in case of a fall. These may be beneficial if your loved one has a tendency to fall more often due to vertigo or an unstable gait. Many companies also offer the ability to add friends and family members to your alert service so if an ambulance is not needed, friends or family that you have preselected can be contacted so that they can come to your loved ones aid. Making sure that the device has a decent range is also important. If your loved one likes to garden and has a cardiac emergency while outside, you want assurance that the device will still work.
When it comes to the company who does the monitoring, look for a company who uses its own emergency professionals, not one who contracts its work out and who is also certified by Underwriters Laboratories – a non-profit safety and consulting company.
Finally when it comes to price call around and ask for quotes but make sure you get your quotes in writing as they have a tendency to change often. Most devices range from $30 to around $45 monthly with additional charges for things like GPS capability and added fees for activation or cancellation.
Check out this chart for some helpful comparisons by company and services offered. It helps to break down some of the things that we discussed.
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