When Should You Get a Medical Alert Bracelet?

Safety Team
Updated May 19, 2021
4 min read

Older adults who live active lifestyles may feel they don’t need a medical alert bracelet. However, the peace of mind and added protection a medical alert bracelet brings are beneficial in a few different cases. If you or your loved one fit into any of the following categories, you may benefit from a medical alert bracelet:

  • You live alone.
  • You live in a home with multiple stories or stairs.
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a condition that could require rapid emergency response.
  • Your eyesight is diminished.
  • You have difficulty making phone calls.
  • You have a history of falling.

Having a history of falls can make a medical alert bracelet an obvious purchase. The device can help provide extra peace of mind and address a future accident immediately. But for older adults without a history of accidents, a medical alert bracelet is still worth buying. Even if it’s never used, it’s comforting to know help is just a button push away if the user were to fall or experience another medical emergency.

For those still on the fence about buying a medical alert bracelet, this guide will help you determine whether or not it is necessary. Be sure to also consider other forms of medical alerts, like medical alert smartwatches. The discreet design means you almost forget the medical alert device is there  — until you need it, of course.

How Often Should You Wear a Medical Alert Bracelet?

Most medical alert bracelets don’t need to be worn at all times to function. However, wearing them all the time increases usefulness and protection. Any time you don’t have the bracelet on, you are slightly more vulnerable. Typically, the best times to remove your medical alert bracelet are when you’re sleeping or sitting with a phone within arm’s reach. That way, you can call for help quickly if you need it.

You may think it’s convenient to remove a medical alert bracelet when showering, gardening or cooking, but these activities are often the most dangerous. Kitchens and bathrooms are common rooms where falls occur, so it’s important to ensure you choose a medical alert bracelet that is both comfortable and waterproof.

Similarly, if you travel with friends, go for hikes, or enjoy getting out and running errands around town, you’ll want a bracelet that fully functions even when out beyond your home. If the system requires that you stay within a certain distance of the medical alerts bracelet’s charging hub, you may want to consider a less tethered option for your active lifestyle.

Important Features for Your Lifestyle

If you’ve received a particular medical diagnosis that has prompted you to consider medical alerts bracelets, your physician or healthcare provider could have helpful insight about what features are most important for monitoring that particular condition. However, if you have less specific needs and are instead considering a bracelet in a preventative way, here are some features that are most valuable for your unique situation:

Living Alone or In a Home With Stairs

Living alone or in a home with obstacles like stairs means you have a few key features to consider. Many bracelets have an automatic fall detection option, though it may cost more per month. You may also want a device with two-way communication, so you can easily talk with a caregiver, family member or monitoring center representative in case of a fall. It’s also crucial to ensure your device has a higher range if you live in a larger home with stairs. Check with the medical alert provider to see how far the device’s range is, how long the battery lasts and what additional devices can be placed at the top or bottom of stairs to ensure extended coverage.

Active Lifestyle, Including Travel and Exercise

For older adults living an active lifestyle, including traveling outside of the home, exercising or even spending a lot of time outside, you’ll need specific features to meet your unique needs. Look with devices that offer automatic fall detection, extended range, two-way communication, and perhaps even GPS. GPS location tracking may come at an extra cost per month, but it is a valuable feature that adds peace of mind and protection. With automatic fall detection and GPS tracking, the monitoring center can dispatch emergency services to your exact location if you fall outside your home.

Eyesight Challenges and Difficulty Making Phone Calls

Medical alert bracelets typically consist of one large button, which makes calling for help easy for most users. However, if you find yourself struggling with eyesight or mobility, you may benefit from a medical alert bracelet and connected system with voice activation. In an emergency, voice activation means you don’t need to find or press a button to connect to a loved one or the monitoring center. All you’ll have to do is speak, and help is there. You should also consider adding automatic fall protection, so you won’t have to physically call for help at all.

You’ve Decided on a Medical Alert Bracelet — Now What?

Start narrowing down your choices for a medical alert bracelet. You don’t want to pay extra for features you’ll never use. A key question to ask yourself when choosing a medical alert bracelet is if you need all the features provided and whether you may want them in the future. Watch out for medical alert bracelets with long-term contracts. If you don’t think you’ll need some features for quite a while, it may be best to pick a simple bracelet with fewer features now and reconsider adding more after you’ve worn the bracelet for some time.

Once you’ve looked at your options and have some top contenders, talk with friends who may have a similar bracelet, family members helping you research, and your healthcare provider. Ensure you’re selecting an option that everyone agrees will perform adequately and give you the assistance you seek.

The next step is to make sure you’re getting a reasonable deal. When shopping based on price, consider any deals that come with a longer-term commitment. Committing to a year with the same company might offer enough of a discount to put more advanced features in your budget. 

Finally, factor in guarantees, warranties and any trial period providers may offer. You don’t want to lock into a contract and find out the medical alert bracelet is uncomfortable or doesn’t work the way you need. Trial periods and money-back guarantees add an extra layer of protection, so you can ensure you purchase the right device for you. If you need additional help in your decision-making process, check out our recommendations.

Once you’ve selected the device, it’s time to order. You have numerous options to choose from: You can order online, over the phone or in-store from an authorized dealer. Determine the best route for you, and make your purchase.

When you receive your new medical alert bracelet, set it up and enjoy the peace of mind and independence that comes with having help at your fingertips — whenever and wherever you need it.

Home Security Experts

Safety Team

The Safety Team is a group of experts that handle provider research, product reviews and recalls to make your home safety and security search as easy as 1-2-3.

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