The population of the United States is a rapidly aging one, with the number of Americans aged 65 and older is forecast to exceed 98 million — more than double 2016’s 46 million. On the business level, this is having massive effects on the senior living and healthcare markets, but on the personal level, many families are struggling with how to best care for their elderly loved ones. Sometimes, your family member or loved one may not be infirm enough to need to go into an assisted living facility, but you may live far away and not have the means to attend to any need that may arise. When it comes to this situation, a medical alert service may be a happy medium between your needs.
Understanding The Medical Alert Function
Knowing what to do after a car accident is crucial, especially when an elderly person is driving with his or her medical alert device. The basic concept of a medical alert system is some sort of easily accessible help button, generally in the form of a neck pendant or wristband. If pressed in a crisis, the person using the alert system will instantly be connected to someone who knows who they are, and any outstanding health needs they may have, whether at home, driving miles away, or anywhere else.
According to SteinLaw, a car accident lawyer in Aventura, “Seeking help is the most important step to take when faced with an automobile accident, but for seniors, rapid reactions aren’t always possible if they are alone and a mobile device is out of reach. As with slip and falls, elderly people are especially prone to suffering these types of accidents and are more likely to be seriously injured by them.”
However, this has now become the basic level of what a medical alert service can do. Thanks to technology advances, options like automatic fall detection and medical monitoring are now possible facets of certain systems, although these generally come with a higher price tag. Mobile medical alerts also allow for protection when someone is away from the home. Other potential features include:
- Activity monitoring. Motion detectors and beacons that track movement in the home
- Daily check-in services. Via a live person or electronic check-in
- Fitness tracking. Including built-in step counters and tools offering information, health challenges and virtual family connections
- Home security monitoring. For fire, smoke and carbon monoxide
While the discussion around medical alert functions generally revolves around helping the elderly, these are not the only people who can make use of such a service. Others who may need one include people of any age who:
- Are living alone, or left alone for long periods and need assistance
- Have a medical condition that could require immediate medical attention (such as epilepsy, seizures, strokes, heart conditions)
- Are recovering from a fall, hip replacement or other major surgery
- May have trouble speaking clearly with 911 in the event of an emergency
In some cases, the situations that call for a medical alert service are temporary, while others are permanent. The severity of your need may determine how much you spend.
What To Look For In A Medical Alert Service
Price shouldn’t be the only thing that governs how much you spend on a medical alert service. Not all options are created equal, and there are several things to consider. For one, if you are going for a wearable option, is it comfortable? If a device irritates the skin or is too bulky, your loved one may be less likely to wear it, defeating the purpose.
Sometimes, the lifestyle that one leads may govern what size or style of medical alert device is best. However, sometimes people make honest mistakes and forget to wear them around the home, though. In this case, you may want to invest in a system that also has wall-mounted buttons around the home. Other things you want to look at include the battery life, durability, waterproofing, and logistics with regard to setting the device up.
All of these areas are things you need to know right away in order to avoid any potentially dangerous surprises later. Most of these systems require a wireless communication with a base station when you press the button that actually makes the call to the emergency services. Be sure to find out the range and test it at various parts of the home to make sure there are no dead zones.
In some cases, not every situation requires a medical emergency, which is why some medical alert services provide multiple options, letting a loved one call you or someone nearby if needed. Be sure to check if it provides this functionality. Equally important is figuring out who actually gets called when your alert signals an emergency. Does the call center handle exclusively medical alert calls? Are they properly certified (yes, there are certifications for monitoring stations)? Is it located in the U.S? When lives can be on the line, you want to make sure you have the best service possible.
In some cases, you may be able to combine medical alert services with other needs that can provide maximum peace of mind for the people you care about in your life. By doing your research and knowing the needs of the person you are buying the alert system for, you can help people stay independent while giving you the peace of mind you need.