Deciphering through the best in medical care for your elderly or ill loved one can be a bit of a mine field, especially when it comes to technical gadgetry like medical alarms. It’s for this reason that medical alert systems and alarm systems reviews are so crucial for one to be able to make the informed choice to not only suit your need, but your pocket too. Of course something such as the medical alarm is not an item most people know too much about, mostly due to the fact that it concerns the elderly, particularly those in typically the last twenty five to thirty years of their life.
Since it’s the family members doing the caring and purchasing of the device, it’s up to them to do the necessary research, which means having to get clued up on things such as the best makes, or brands, their specific features and installation methods and costs. There are also a few details that are crucial to making the best choice, namely the technical specifications which may differ and vary as the situation of application differs. In this article we seek to highlight what one needs to look for when buying a medical alert system and the factors involved in that process.
So, what is a Medical Alert System?
For those that are unfamiliar with this device; it is an electronic stationary console with a remote pendant (such as a necklace or bracelet) with a large activation button. The patient wears the pendant and in the event of an emergency, can then easily press the button to activate the alarm system. If, of course, the patient is unable to press the button themselves, then someone close by (like a bystander) could easily do it for them. The purpose of this device is to promote a level of independence with the elderly, as many people cannot afford the nursing facility option and have to take care of their elderly family member at home. What the alarm system does is to allow for some flexibility in case you cannot be with, or monitor your loved one, at all times.
Once the alarm has been set off, an automated call will be made to an emergency customer service representative who will then make the call to the medical response unit for the appropriate assistance. The details of this arrangement may be unique per customer, and hence will be sorted out upon purchasing and installing the alarm system.
As with any product on the market, these things differ per make, each with their own unique features.
The following is a list of trusted, and in some cases award winning, brands of medical alarm systems – in fact, these are the top ten brands in the field:
- Bay alarm
- Life fone
- Life Station
- Alert1 Medical Alert System
- Rescue Alert
- Philips Lifeline
- Walgreen Ready Response
- Mobile Help
- ADT Companion Service
- Life Alert
What’s the Difference?
It can be hard to differentiate between them all as they’re all no doubt of a high standard and quality, but this is where the medical alarm systems reviews comes in to it. There are pro’s and con’s to each product, but more importantly is that you need to figure out which works best for you, in terms of features and product capability as well as customer service and care, because with each device comes the obligatory and essential area of medical support .
The Mitigating Factors for Each Product
The benefits for these alarms do not really need to be explained, though individually a fair bit of research may reveal the pros and cons of each one. Product reviews are easy to find, though many struggle to understand them, or know what to look for, as in; what are the most important factors involved in buying a medical alarm system?
Generally there are four categories that you should pay close attention to when reading alert system reviews, namely:
- Monitoring Features
- Additional features
- Customer service
Regarding Installation: you should pay close attention to things like delivery, installation and activation fees. The best systems should have none of these as the process is simple and easy, involving a power outlet and standard phone jack. In fact, it is advisable to seek out free trial installation periods to go with any special offers.
The monitoring features are to do with the console itself and its capabilities such as the range of operation between the stationary console and remote pendant. Other features of importance are: the duration of the battery life as well as the back-up battery system in case of a power failure, and then customer service and support, including emergency policies.
Additional features are literally any features beyond that of the standard console and remote pendant alarm system. This may include things like sensors which detect if the patient has fallen or collapsed, as well as additional remote buttons placed around the house. The latest systems include a GPS feature for easier and further assistance in locating your stricken loved one.
What the Reviews Indicate
Medical alert reviews cover all these topics and more, covering a veritable checklist of the features available in much detail. Features that may escape the average researcher are things like a life-time warranty, an alert system with a waterproof pendant, multi lingual services or even pendants that can be used to answer phone calls – these are, or should, all be included in a standard medical alarm systems review. One such medical alert systems review even listed an additional category which comprised primarily of the medical alert companies themselves, looking at things like the amount of years they’ve been in service as well as their certification and online account access. Incidentally, all of the top ten alarm brands listed have a twenty four hour, seven days a week emergency service.
Additional Factors to Consider
There are a number of issues that need to be considered when purchasing a medical alert system because the act of caring for a loved one is a constant affair. One needs to know things like the response times for emergency assistance – something that may vary due to company policy or a simple issue of location. Devices and transmitters may be top of the line models, but you need to be able to operate and understand them, so make sure they are user friendly. Another factor to consider is specific device restrictions; a simple thing such as signal interference can play a huge role as perhaps the device is installed in such a way that certain objects in your household blocks the signal. It’s thus very important that you test, or have your device tested thoroughly and immediately to be certain of its operational integrity both in and outdoors. The transmitter radius or range of each device varies, thus it’s advisable to purchase one that best suits your desires and locational needs. Another oversight by many people is to search for good technical support – these of course are highly specialized electronic equipment and should anything go wrong, you need to know if the problem can be sorted promptly.
With the care of your loved one at stake, it is imperative that you make the best choice of medical alert systems as they are literally a difference maker in life and death scenarios.
Advantages versus Disadvantages
Most people don’t need to be sold on the advantages as the medical alert systems have a well-established target market (families wanting home care ‘coverage’ of their loved in case of emergency, providing peace of mind for them as well as the user) so when it comes to disadvantages, one should really look at products individually. Common drawbacks may be cancellations fees, or any fees additional to the main one, and then perhaps logistical problems, like pendants that are in fact user friendly, but their buttons seemingly activate too easily – these are things that would be sorted out prior to purchasing the item or during the test phase. Cost invariably also plays a factor – the initial fee may be fine enough, but the monthly installments may be harder to keep up with.
What Makes a Good Review and Product
Undoubtedly it’s the all-rounder that will stand close to the top – the product which features well in all of the areas featured in any given review, i.e. Installation, Monitoring features, Additional features and Customer service. You want a company with a solid reputation, a top quality alarm system, good service and great value for money. Incidentally, costs vary from nineteen dollars to close to fifty dollars, although availability may vary from country to country, depending on the company.
Ultimately it’s a question of cost, not only the actual price of the medical alarm system and what you’re getting for your money, but also how much you’re willing to pay for safety and peace of mind regarding your elderly or ill loved one.