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What to Look for in a Medical Alert System for a Senior Loved One

October 16, 2023

The only medical alert system that can also alert you to potential missed doses.

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Medical alert systems can be effective tools for helping keep aging loved ones safe when you can’t be there. But today, there are many options on the market. It’s hard to know which one is right for your parent or family member. Each person’s needs differ, but overall there are a few primary factors to consider when discerning which one to invest in.

Technology

Medical alert systems have come a long way, and many now have smart technology and capabilities that can make the experience more efficient and seamless for your loved one. For example, some alert systems have the capability of corresponding with an app or other smart home technology. Some feature two-way communication between the user and the monitoring operator and others do not. The range of distance the device can cover is larger on some devices than on others. Some are even in-home only, while others have mobile connectivity for when they are outside the home. Assess the capabilities of each product and determine what qualities are most important to you.

Fall Detection

Some medical alert systems only alert the operator if a button is pressed, while others are able to detect falls automatically. Check to see if each product you are considering has this capability and how it works. In most cases, fall detection is an optional upgrade, so make sure you keep this in mind and consider the potential added expense.

A mobile fall detection display on Connect Caregiver's medical alert system Safety+
Fall detection is a vital part of an effective medical alert system.

Monitoring and Response Time

Ensure the medical alert system you’re considering comes with 24/7 real-time monitoring and a quick response time. This may require some research on reliability via reviews and assessing the company’s reputation. Every second matters when considering the safety of your aging parent or loved one, so you must be sure the monitoring company is available at all times and will respond as quickly as possible.

Wearability

Consider what makes the most sense for your loved one. In most cases, a wearable device is preferable so your loved one can get help no matter where they are in their home. Some even have mobile connectivity that gives them the ability to provide service and monitoring outside the home. However, medical alert systems are also available in wall-mounted versions. Depending on your loved one’s preferences, you may opt for a pendant version or a wristband. Ask your loved one what would be most comfortable for them.

A lightweight wearable device provides more peace of mind for everyone.

Durability

It’s important that the medical alert system is high quality and built to last. When safety is at stake, you can’t afford for the technology to fail. Assess how the device is powered, battery life and whether it has low battery alerts, whether it has a battery backup (for wall-mounted versions), whether it is waterproof, and other factors that impact quality and longevity.

Ease of Use and Customer Support

A medical alert system could be highly advanced and effective, but it will do no good if it is too complicated to use. Present the potential options to your loved one and ensure they feel confident they would be able to utilize it in an emergency. Additionally, do some research on the level of customer support the company provides. If something goes wrong with the device or if your loved one has a question about how to use it, you want to feel confident they are there to help.

Care Circle Communication

Some systems have the added benefit of keeping others in your loved one’s care circle in the loop, which can take the burden of updating everyone individually off the primary family caregiver. In addition to alerting the monitoring center, these systems can provide alerts to the family and others in the care circle. Some can also offer added data like GPS information, first-motion alerts and more. Keeping everyone up-to-date on the safety and health of a loved one can be a highly valuable feature.

Get The Connected Caregiver App FREE!

The Connected Caregiver App includes Care Essentials for an all-in-one family caregiving app — giving you the tools you need to care for loved ones. Communicate and coordinate with everyone involved, keep the details organized in a centralized app, and even manage medication details.

Cost

Finally, consider the cost. Certainly, the higher quality and higher tech models will be pricier, but weigh the cost against the features you find most important. Some features may be considered upgrades, which increase the cost. Also consider the costs of the service for monitoring, lengths of contracts, etc. to help make your decision. Keep an eye out for possible hidden costs like “activation fees” as well.

Talk all of these factors over with your parent or loved one and as much as possible, make these decisions together. Being on the same page will help ensure you can continue your trusted relationship and that they will follow through on the safety plans you lay out together.
Connected Caregiver is here to help make caregiving more manageable through innovative products like our Safety+ medical alert system, which integrates with our Care Essentials app and other health monitoring devices for added peace of mind. If you are looking for a medical alert option that was designed with the family caregiver in mind, Connected Caregiver may be for you.  Learn more about Safety+ here.

Get The Connected Caregiver App FREE!

The Connected Caregiver App includes Care Essentials for an all-in-one family caregiving app — giving you the tools you need to care for loved ones. Communicate and coordinate with everyone involved, keep the details organized in a centralized app, and even manage medication details.