When considering using a medical alarm system, it is crucial that one takes certain features into consideration, such as the range of the system, the response time when you need emergency assistance, and the voice-quality of the system, as it does not help if the person on the other side cannot understand what you are saying.
American Medical Alarms (AMA) offers a medical alert system for a very affordable monthly fee, so that you can leave your elderly relative alone at home when you go to work without worrying that something will happen to them and they will not be able to get assistance. This system also allows the elderly to make their dearest wish a reality, which is to remain in their own home for as long as possible, even if they live alone, and affords them the independence and dignity to which they are entitled, whilst knowing that emergency help is but the push of a button away.
The AMA system is a top-of-the-line system with advanced technology which allows you to call for help without the need to get to a phone, from anywhere within a home of up to 6, 000 square feet up to 300 feet outside of the house. The transmitters are small, neutral in color and lightweight, which are features that seniors really like, and the button on the transmitter is located in a depressed area, which makes accidental activation far less likely. The transmitters are also water resistant, which means that they can be worn in the bath or shower.
The medical alert system consists of the alarm console and either a pendant and wristband-style transmitter. Installation is a simple matter of plugging the console into your existing telephone jack and an electrical outlet.
In the event of an emergency all you need do is press the button on your transmitter to activate the alarm and speak to the operator through the alarm console. The alarm has an added advantage in that it is an acoustical computer specifically designed for the hearing impaired.
One of the most important features of any medical alarm system is the monitoring feature, as it is this feature that allows you to get the medical or any other emergency help when most needed. It is important that you are able to contact a monitoring center and speak to someone without having to use your phone, as you may not be able to access it, especially in the case of a fall.
AMA uses two state-of-the-art facilities: one which is located in California and a second fully redundant facility located in Texas, with an additional backup facility in Florida. A Power Generator, Redundant Monitoring Systems, Uninterrupted City Power Grid, Automatic Redundant Phone Switches, and Automatic Fiber Routing on All Phone Lines make for a system which is up and working optimally 24/7.
Once the emergency button is pressed there will be a certified. trained operator on the other side within 45 seconds, who will check on you and inquire as to whether they should inform a neighbor or friend, as per your instruction sheet, or whether you require them to send emergency medical assistance. In the case of an emergency team being needed, the center will then contact your nominated key-holder to go and open your home or give the emergency personnel the code to your lock box so that they can access the key to get in.
The AMA Medical Alert System covers all of the basics required in a good medical alarm system when it comes to additional features, including:
- Additional Transmitters – The ability to purchase an additional pendant or wristband for a onetime fee of $35.00
- Lockbox – AMA offers a realtor – type lockbox for a one time fee of $45.00. This lockbox is used to store a key to your home in so that emergency personnel can gain entrance to your home should you be unable to let them in the case of an emergency, thus getting you the help you need quickly without damaging your property.
- Portability – The system is portable, as all it needs to work is a telephone jack and an electrical outlet, so should you decide to visit family or a friend for a few weeks or months, you can take your system with you and just inform the monitoring center of your new address details. There is no charge to change these details.
- Quick Response Time – Once the emergency button is depressed, you will get a response within 45 seconds, which means that emergency help can be sent to you in the shortest time possible.
- Convenient Billing – AMA offers various convenient billing methods, such as auto debit or auto credit card, and will also allow you to pay for your parents instead of billing them for the system.
One of the most important features of any service to me is the way that customers are treated, and especially when it comes to my parents; I expect them to be treated like royalty, and I must say that I found all AMA’s staff very courteous, warm and knowledgeable.
I also like the fact that AMA offers a service whereby they will alert a family member or neighbor if the emergency is not that serious, instead of just sending emergency personnel, which can turn out to be embarrassing for the elderly and also expensive if not really necessary.
I found it very easy to phone the office on (800) 542-0438 to advised them that my folks will be staying with me for 2 months, and was impressed with the friendliness and how quickly the information was updated, and the fact that when my father phoned to say they were home again, he received the same friendly assistance in reverting their information to their home details.
My mother has a hearing impairment and normally struggles to hear when using the telephone, so the fact that the system is acoustically designed for the hearing-impaired makes her feel very safe and comfortable to use it.
Pros and Cons of Medical Alert System
- Long Range Voice and Button – According to American Medical Alarms, their Medical Alert System has the longest button and two way voice range; it can be activated anywhere inside your home as well as up to 300 feet outside your home.
- Flexible Monitoring Agreement – You are not committed to a long-term contract and can cancel at anytime.
- No equipment or set-up charges – installation is a simple plug-in self-installation, which means that there are no installation fees, and there are also no costs for either the console or the initial alert button. There are also no replacement or repair charges; replacements are shipped.
- Automatic Monthly Tests – The system’s console will automatically conduct monthly tests to the monitoring station.
- 24-Hour Support – The monitoring center offers support 24/7.
- Acoustical Design – The device has an acoustical design which is of great help to the hearing-impaired.
- Affordable Monthly Rate – The monthly monitoring cost is a mere $24.95, which is very affordable.
- Short Console Battery Life – The battery life of the backup battery is only between 16 and 18 hours, which I find to be a bit short, as I believe that it should be at least 24 hours.
- Outsourced Monitoring Center – I have a bit of a problem with the fact that AMA do not own their own monitoring center but work with a central monitoring station with dispatch centers in Texas and California.
- No Pill Reminder Option – This may not be necessary for everyone, but it is a feature that I like to see as an option on any medical alarm system as the elderly often suffer from memory loss and forget to take important chronic medication, or forget whether they have taken it or not. A reminder beep will let them know that it is time to take it and they need not worry why more to have to remember, just take it when they hear the beep. Although this feature will not tell the individual how much medication to take, the intermittent beep will remind them that they do need to take it.
- No Fall Detector Option – The elderly and people who suffer from diabetes are very susceptible to falls, and the fact that the system does not have a fall-detection option is a bit of a worry, as this means that the individual may not be able to press the emergency button should they fall and become unconscious.
- No Activity Monitoring – Activity monitoring means that the user must check in with the monitoring center by pressing a button once every 24 hours, which gives loved ones peace-of-mind that they are fine and moving about.
- No pre-pay discounts available – Many medical alert companies offer discounts if the monthly fees are paid up-front for 6 or 12 months, which really helps many individuals; I am rather surprised that AMA do not have this facility.
American Medical Alarms offers a competitive service, and the fact that their console has an inbuilt DSL filter is a bonus for those using this type of service. The fact that they do gather separate information when monitoring more than one person in the same home is a bonus, as it means that whichever person calls for emergency assistance the operator will have their specific information in front of them when they attend to the call.
The fact that the AMA system is acoustically designed for the hearing-impaired is a bonus in my eyes, as most other systems do not do this. The fact that they do not own their own monitoring center is a bit of a let-down, as it they do not have control over the quality of the service given, although the fact that they have a tri-redundancy system in place redeems them somewhat.