How to Choose a Medical Alert System

Sean Jackson
Updated Mar 12, 2021
2 min read

Keeping your loved ones safe is vitally important, especially if they live alone. That’s why, when searching for medical alerts, it’s smart to choose one that offers your loved ones the protection they deserve. This guide will walk through how to choose a medical alert system so you have peace of mind for your family. 


Medical Alert Systems

Medical alert systems come with a pendant, necklace or wrist bracelet. One of these wearable devices is where the button to call for medical alerts is. Pressing this button connects the person to the operator, who can call loved ones or first responders to provide emergency assistance. 

These systems used to connect to landline phones, but they’re much more intuitive now. Some of the best medical alert systems have GPS and cellular capabilities, giving users more accessibility and allowing operators to find their exact location if an emergency arises. More advanced ones also include fall-detection that uses motion sensors. 

Smartwatches also have unique monitoring capabilities. The Apple Watch detects if the wearer isn’t moving for a minute then starts a 30-second countdown. Accompanying this countdown is a tapping sensor and an audible alert that grows louder the closer it gets to the 30-second mark. If the wearer doesn’t respond, the watch can call emergency services.

Many companies now offer medical alert systems. You can buy them at electronic stores through providers like Simplisafe or find them through home security companies like ADT. 


Who Should Consider Medical Alert Systems?

  • Medical alert systems provide help at the push of a button for people suffering medical emergencies or falls. They also serve distinct purposes for those in specific age groups.
  • One in three seniors falls every year. Since falls are a large cause of injury among this age range, a medical alert system with fall detection could improve response time.
  • Another group they can benefit is those currently taking medications with side effects like dizziness. Having this side effect could make a fall more likely.
  • A survey conducted by The Senior List found that having a caregiver in the home significantly impacted whether a person wore a device. In homes with caregivers, only 10 percent of seniors did not wear any medical alerts.


How to Choose a Medical Alert System

When you’re ready to choose medical alerts systems, here are some factors to consider before buying:


Assessing your needs

What are the risks affecting your loved one? Do you want to add special features like fall-detection? And which equipment do you feel they will be most comfortable wearing? Answering these questions first can help you determine the kind of system will be most helpful.


Look into cost

Price can be a primary concern for some buyers. Along with paying for the equipment, there is a monitoring fee charged monthly for service. Added services like fall detection, carbon monoxide, and smoke detection, can drive the monthly cost higher. Therefore, it’s vital to budget first so you know how much you can afford. It is also a wise time to see if insurance will cover any of the costs. 


Research providers

Once you’ve determined the necessary equipment, research providers.  Start by looking at what kind of monitoring services do They provide. Are operators standing by 24 hours a day? How responsive are they in fulfilling a request? To find the answers to these questions, research the Better Business Bureau, Google Reviews, and other review websites to gain perspectives from customers using the service. 

It’s also a good idea to look into contract lengths. Some providers want to lock you into a contract, while others allow you to pay monthly and cancel at any time. You should also see what kind of warranty the company offers on their devices. Doing this gives you a window into whether they will stand behind their product. 


Purchase your system

Once you’ve found the medical alerts provider that best matches your need, you can purchase your system through the provider’s website. You can also look at our list of the best medical alert systems to see if any of our favorites fit your situation.


Other Resources

Contributing Writer

Sean Jackson

Sean Jackson is a freelance journalist who has covered home security, safety, and other topics for, ESPN, CBS, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

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