According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) falls are the leading cause of death by injury for those age 65 and older. The CDC also states that out of the 36 million seniors who fall, 32,000 of them will die from the injuries incurred during the accident.
It is a sad statistic and even more tragic when you think how preventable this outcome is with just a little advanced preparation. The key to preventing a fatal outcome from a fall is getting the injured person medical help right away. A medical alert system is a simple way to make sure your loved one has access to medical assistance at all times. Medical alert devices are worn by the person and usually feature a button that can be pushed to call for help. Just who the person calls depends on the device. Some medical alert systems operate their own call centers where dispatchers can assist the person. Other devices may automatically contact friends or family members.
There are so many medical alert systems out there the choices can be mind boggling. Some are covered by Medicare or Medicaid insurance while others are not. What features will be needed for your situations and which ones can you do without? Read on to learn more.
Home-Based Landline Systems
If you don’t often leave the house and you have a traditional landline telephone, then a home-based medical alert system will likely suit your needs. The range of the alert will be within a certain distance from the home, so anytime you travel far from home, the system may not work. Newer systems may integrate with your cellular network providing you coverage in and out of the home.
Mobile systems are the way to go for any senior that is active. They work with your cellular network so you are one call away from help no matter where you are. If a senior goes walking and gets lost or has an accident while away from home the mobile device acts like a GPS system and allows their exact location to be determined.
Monitored systems have their own private dispatchers linked to the device. A monitored system can be either a home based or mobile device system. Once the user presses the call button it will automatically connect with a dispatcher. These private companies generally operate their dispatcher services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can rest assured someone will be available to help at all times. Monitored systems typically have a monthly fee associated with them. Depending on the company you may be required to sign a contract that stipulates how long you will be opted in to the monitored services.
Hard Fall Detection Systems
Since falls are such a danger, many medical alert devices come with automatic fall detection where the device automatically calls for assistance without the wearer having to push the call button. If falling is a concern, this is a great safety feature. You will want to do your due diligence in making sure you get a quality device with good reviews. Some technology may register something as a hard fall that really isn’t such as accidentally dropping the device. Some users do not mind the false alarms Even if the device does not work perfectly. They just want to make sure that if medical help is urgently needed it is always available. Hard fall detection alerts may also require monthly fees ranging from $15-$25 on top of what it costs to purchase the device depending on which alert system you choose.
Medical Alert System Features
The type of medical alert system you buy should always be done in cooperation with the person that will actually be wearing it. If the elderly individual has dementia or other health problems that might hinder their ability to communicate with a dispatcher, that should be taken into consideration before buying a device. Some alert systems can be set up to detect any abnormalities and automatically contact 911 or a family member for help.
You will want to select a device that is waterproof, has a long battery life and is comfortable enough to wear 24 hours a day. A GPS capability will enable you to find the person if they wander off or accidentally get lost. Fall detection monitors, though not perfect, are really important to keeping your loved one safe. Some devices can monitor vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. For seniors that live alone devices with medication alerts can remind them to take their medication on schedule. Fitness tracking features that monitor your steps taken are a nice perk to encourage light physical activity.
If you are worried about the cost of a medical alert device there are many available that can be paid for either completely or partially using health insurance coverage. For those with Medicare Part A and Part B would not cover this. Part A is for major healthcare expenses such as hospitalizations, in-home nurses and hospice care. Part B covers doctor visits and medical tests. Part C is a Medicare supplement that may be able to help pay for medical related devices such as an alert system. These are just a few companies that provide high quality medical alert system devices.
This company offers three types of home based monitoring systems. A very basic wearable device with a range of 1300 feet is the most inexpensive model. They also offer an upgraded device with fall detection and a family medical alert system.
Bay Alarm Medical
This medical alert system is backed by its own 24-hour call center. They have a few different wearable device options including a sleek smartwatch style device.
For home based and mobile system options, Life Station has you covered. They have affordable monthly monitoring rates and are wearable around the neck alert devices.
One Call Alert
A GPS device that comes in a wearable pendant or smartwatch design. All devices are integrated with their 24/7 monitoring for a monthly fee.