By 2060, there will be about 98 million seniors, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging. As people age, the risk of falls, slips and trips increases. A personalized medical alert system can provide autonomy and peace of mind for you and your family. Here are some tips to help you choose one that best meets your needs.
How does a personal medical alert system work?
In the 1980s, there was a series of commercials that helped popularize personal medical alert systems such as Life Alert. But the technology has been around since the 1970s, first introduced as simple push-button gadgets that people could wear around their necks.
When the user hit the button, the device would signal a call center operator. Modern systems are still wearable devices, but they also offer the option of placing buttons around the home that allow for two-way voice calls with command centers. There are also motion-sensitive pendants that can tell if you've fallen and then call for help.
Who needs a personalized medical alert system?
Most customers are older people who live alone and may need to get help quickly in an emergency. Older people are often at risk for falls – it's one of the most common sources of injuries among seniors – due to things such as poor eyesight and changes in memory.
But a medical alert system can be useful for non-emergencies. If a senior isn't hurt or sick, but does need help from a friend or relative, the call center can contact a pre-selected person to get them to come to assist.
Consumer Affairs lists a few more specific ways a personal medical alert system can help:
People with newly diagnosed epilepsy – After diagnosis, patients with epilepsy generally respond well to medication. However, children with epilepsy, and adults who are newly diagnosed may not be free from seizures until their doctor finds the right medicine.
Patients with uncontrolled diabetes – Diabetics face the risk of comas or seizures if their blood sugar gets out of control, and may not be able to call 911.
People with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia – Sixty percent of Alzheimer's patients will wander off at least once in their life. This can be dangerous, as the person may not know how to get back home or find help.
Caregivers – For people taking care of an older parent or family member, having a personal medical alert system can provide piece of mind.
What features should I look for in a personal medical alert system?
When shopping for an alert system, Consumer Reports recommends looking for these features:
The system works for the user's specific needs. The example CR gives is a device that can be activated with one hand, to help people recovering from a stroke.
The device offers a choice of wristband wear or neck pendants. Wearing a cord around the neck can be a choking hazard, while the wristband can irritate the skin.
The device should include buttons that can be mounted on the wall, but near the floor, in case the user falls when they aren't wearing a pendant.
The device has a battery back-up in case the power goes out, and is connected to a company with its own trained emergency personnel, rather than subcontractors.
The system allows the user to contact friends and relatives in non-emergencies.
The system's base station can be contacted from anywhere on your property. That includes the backyard or at the mailbox. Finally, look for systems certified for Underwriters Laboratories, a non-profit safety and consulting company.
If you're seeking a indiviudal medical alert system for yourself or your loved one in Philadelphia Pa, Marx Medical can help. Our medical alert system helps at home and on the go, with an optional fall detection feature available.
Contact us today to learn more about how this device can keep you or someone you love safe at home.