One fact that we cannot change is the fact that we all get older and with our advanced age comes a frailty and the need for senior alert systems. Many of us have our parents living with us, and unfortunately we cannot always afford to pay someone to be with them when we cannot. Most of us have to work, and this means that we are constantly worried that they are going to need assistance whilst we are at work. This has meant that medical alarms for seniors are suddenly very important for our peace of mind.
Even if our parents are not living with us but are striving to maintain their independence for as long as possible by living on their own in their own homes, we still worry. This is normal, as many of the elderly suffer from balance problems and a fall can be lethal. Apart from falling, there can be other medical reasons such as heart problems or the possibility of a stroke which makes it important that there is some kind of emergency system in place. By installing a senior medical alarm, it at least gives them a chance of getting assistance quickly should something happen like a fall or any other medical emergency.
The problem that many of us are faced with is that there are so many different types of medical alarms for seniors available that it is very difficult to make up one’s mind as to which system would be best for our or our loved one’s particular circumstances. And of course, along with the different systems that are on offer are also various medical alarm providers who offer a range of services.
The Different Types of Senior Alert Systems Providers Are:
- Hospital Programs – operated by volunteers e.g. Philips Lifeline.
- Partial Service Companies – they take care of the sales and the service side of the contract, but sub-contract the monitoring to a third party, due to the extremely high costs of maintaining a monitoring centre.
- Full Service Companies – they provide the equipment, do the installation, monitoring, do periodic testing and services themselves and do not outsource anything.
- Reseller/Marketing Only – this type of company only markets the product and service and do not supply anything themselves.
These are just some of the basic senior alert systems which are on offer, but there are many more types of medical alarms for seniors that one can get. This article seeks to inform you of the various types of services and systems that are on offer in an attempt to make your decision easier and ensure that you get the perfect system for your unique circumstances at an affordable price.
It is important to know what types of senior medical alert providers there are, because it is actually the service that is the most important. The equipment that is used by most companies is pretty much standard, except for a few extras, which obviously also cost extra. It is important to research what type of equipment is offered also, so that you are sure that it suits the person who will be using it, but be careful of not being sold something that is excessively expensive and not really necessary.
Most senior alert systems consist of a wireless transmitter or necklace which is carried or worn by the user and which they can trigger in an emergency. When they press the alarm, the company that is monitoring the system receives a signal which causes them to dispatch medical personnel. Other numbers, such as yours can also be programmed in so that you are alerted of an emergency at the same time.
Types of Medical Alarms for Seniors
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
- Wireless emergency medical buttons in the form of a belt-clip, pendant or wristwatch.
- Two-way voice communication with the monitoring company.
- Inactivity monitoring
- Pill or medication reminders
Telemedicine or Tele-health systems
- They can transfer medical information to a doctor in a remote location.
- Provide in-home tests such as patient weight, glucose, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and more. Results can be transmitted to the doctor automatically.
- This is of great help anywhere, but of particular importance to those who do not live in urban areas as it can allow the doctor to act on the information and provide advice remotely.
Medical Alarm Fall Detector
- It has a built-in fall sensor which is very important for the elderly, as they often fall and cannot get to the button to press or are too injured or confused to do so.
- These senior alert systems operate with a built-in tilt sensor which alerts the monitoring company if the sensor is tilted more than sixty degrees for a pre-determined period.
- The system also works with a pendant which is worn by the user.
- Dual Function Fall Detectors can also be used as a normal Senior Medical alert in that the emergency button can be pressed for any type of medical emergency.
- There are various types of Fall Detectors available on the market, such as the Solid State Accelerometer Medical Alarm Fall Detector which is a senior medical alarm system which works with a chest strap which is very comfortable, is waterproof and can be worn 24/7.
As you can see by the above, there are various types of senior alert systems, but now I want to get back to why I said previously that it is not really the equipment that is the most important. As I said, most companies use very similar systems, and the equipment itself normally works very well and most have a battery back-up in case of a power blackout.
For me, the most important fact in deciding which of the senior alert systems to go with depends on the service that is provided. It is no good having a fantastic system that does everything that it is supposed to do if there is nobody on the other end of the phone-line or the monitoring system to respond to an emergency call. Although all companies who offer the service state that they are the best, it is obviously not always the truth!
Tips on How To Decide Which Senior Medical Alarm To Use
The Monitoring Equipment
- Does the equipment have all of the necessary functions?
- Is it easy enough for the elder in your life to use? Remember that some medical conditions such as arthritis or a stroke make it difficult for a person to use their hands and therefore they may not be able to press the button.
- Is the senior comfortable with using it? If they are not or the alarm goes off often for no reason they will become embarrassed and frustrated and refuse to use it.
- I base a lot of my decisions on how I was treated by the front line person. If the person was rude or pushy then I feel that is the company way, and if I am not comfortable with it then an elderly person would also not be.
- Was the person able to give you all the information you requested and did they do so with ease?
- Were they able to accommodate you with special requests regarding equipment, monitoring or anything else not the absolute standard?
The Monitoring Personnel
- It is very importance that the people manning the monitoring and dispatch desk are efficient, friendly, patient and attentive, as this is who your loved one will be dealing with.
- Are these staff members provided with the correct training on how to handle a senior citizen who is confused, may be injured and possibly very scared?
- Are the highest standards regarding monitoring being maintained?
- How fast is the reaction time between an alarm being received and emergency personnel being dispatched?
- Are there staff on duty at all times who speak languages other than English? This is something that is often overlooked but is very important if your loved one does not speak English as a first language. They will be confused enough during an emergency without having to deal with a language barrier.
Of course, price also has a place in the decision about which Senior Medical Alert system to invest in, but there are sufficient companies which offer an excellent service at very reasonable rates. You could also inquire with your current burglar alarm company as to whether they offer this type of service as an add-on, as more and more companies are doing these days.
It is also important to discuss what types of senior alert systems are available with your loved one if you are purchasing one for them to use, and also if they are thinking of investing in one, as they could be overpowered by a forceful salesperson and bullied into buying something that is not the best solution for them. Remember, this is an elderly medical alarm system, and they are the ones who are going to be using it, so they MUST be comfortable with it.
The final bit of advice regarding investing in a senior medical alert system is the one of referral or personal recommendation – ask around in your and your loved ones circle of friends which senior alert systems they use and would recommend.