Why a Medical Alert System Could Help in an Emergency
People who have elderly parents may worry about their safety when they are alone. The National Council on Aging reports that more than 80 percent of elderly adults in the U.S. suffers from at least one chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease. These conditions can make older adults likelier to fall or to have other emergencies. For people who are older than age 65, falling is the leading cause of injuries and deaths.
Medical alert systems are wearable devices that can allow elderly people to call for help in an emergency even if they are unable to get to their phones. These devices may help to give family members and the elderly people peace of mind that help will be able to be called if an emergency occurs.
What is a Medical Alert System?
Medical alert systems are alarms that can send signals in an emergency. These devices transmit signals to companies that monitor the alarms when they are activated. These companies will then alert emergency services in the area in which the older adult lives.
There are both active and passive devices that can be used. Active medical alert systems work by requiring the users to trigger them when they experience emergency situations. Passive systems do not require any action by the users. Instead, these systems monitor the users and transmit alarm signals when the systems detect that something is wrong such as a fall or a long period of inactivity.
There are a variety of different types of medical alert systems. Some can be worn as pendants around the neck or as bracelets. Others may be devices that clip onto a belt or as radar or motion detectors that are installed inside of the homes.
Who Are Medical Alert Systems For?
People use medical alert systems, so they can summon help in the event of an emergency. While most people have smartphones, they may not be able to reach their phones if they fall and are unable to get up. While active medical alert systems require the users to take actions to activate them, passive systems do not. This might make a passive medical alert system a good choice for people who have chronic health conditions that could potentially cause them to lose consciousness.
Medical alert systems are commonly used by senior citizens who live alone. They are also good choices for people who have disabilities. These devices may help family members to feel more secure that their elderly or disabled loved ones will be safe and will receive help if it is needed.
How Do People Use Medical Alert Systems?
The availability of different types of systems allows them to be used in different ways. Family members who are considering getting medical alert systems for their elderly loved ones will want to make certain that their loved ones will understand how to use them. For example, an older adult who has dementia may not understand how to send an alert if he or she falls or has another emergency. With someone who may not understand how to use an alert system, a passive system might be a better choice.
People who have wearable medical alert systems can wear them around their necks, wrists or clipped to their belts. If they fall, they can activate their devices by pressing a button. A signal will then be transmitted over the telephone line, an ISDN line, or a Wi-Fi network to the monitoring company. Some devices must be used in the home because they have base stations that are required to send signals. Others are mobile, allowing elderly adults to call for help if they fall or have a medical emergency while they are out in public.
Passive systems may use detectors that sense when doors open and close, when people fall to the ground or when there are long periods of inactivity. These systems send alerts whenever these types of situations happen.
Pricing of Medical Alert Systems
According to the AARP, it is important for people to review contracts for hidden fees or complicated pricing schemes. The AARP reports that people should look for medical alert system companies that do not charge any extra fees for equipment or installation.
On average, the monthly cost for a medical alert system and monitoring may range from $25 to $45. If there is more than one older adult in a household that needs devices, people can ask companies if they offer discounts for multiple devices. They can also ask if there are discounts available for people who have lower incomes.
The AARP reports that Medicare and most private insurance companies will not pay for the cost of medical alert systems. However, Medicaid does cover medical alert system costs in some states. People will want to check with their insurance companies and their states to find out if devices are covered for them.
Medical alert systems can allow older adults to remain in their homes for a longer period of time, so they can be more independent. They can also provide people with peace of mind that they or their loved ones will receive help if they have unexpected medical emergencies. People should research the devices carefully so that they find medical alert systems that will meet their needs the best. They might want to research different companies online and complete some comparison shopping before choosing devices.