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Published On: Fri, Dec 19th, 2014

Selecting a Medical Alert Device: What’s the Best Way?

For many people, the best idea they have of medical alert systems is the old magazine ads or commericals with a woman crying out for help and later getting a “system” to wear around her neck.

However, not all medical alert systems are created equal. While it may seem as though any well designed system may suffice, selecting a medical alert system is an elaborate process that requires a knowledge of both the marked and the individual’s needs.

 photo paffairs_sanfrancisco

photo paffairs_sanfrancisco

When selecting an alert system, it is important to avoid poorly-made systems. For this reason, reading rankings lists of some of the best systems can be helpful. Lists like the best medical alert systems ranked by TopTenReviews.com provide not only a listing of some well-made and proven devices, but they generally also offer a breakdown of important features.

When selecting a medical alert system, cost may be a factor, but the most important ideal to consider is the safety of the person using it. Those with fewer mobility issues may require less of a system, but in general, the higher-quality systems come replete with features that can be lifesaving in an emergency.

For instance, one feature of some higher-end products is remote fall detection. This can make a crucial difference in a post-fall outcome. Consider for a moment a person who only has a call button on a lanyard. Though a conscious person could likely hit “call” after falling, some falls may result in unconsciousness or a concussion, which can cause confusion. In other instances, the person may set the lanyard down on a table momentarily but then suffer a fall. Response time is key for many people, particularly if injuries are severe or if health is unstable to begin with.

Another important thing to consider is the optimal range of an alert system. Range needs with vary depending on the user. An older person who is wheelchair-bound or otherwise has very restricted motion may not need a system with a large range. Older adults who are more active may need an extended range. Some systems come with a portable sensor that can be carried outside of the house, and this feature is good for older people who are still healthy enough to garden, feed animals, or do light yardwork.

Another important feature not included on all alert systems is two-way communication. Though one-way call can be effective, a two-way system may be especially helpful for anxious older adults, as operators can often offer advice and reassure the fallen person that the request has been received and help in on the way.

In a similar vein, extended monitoring – whether for extended periods of time or from a larger staff – is available on some alert models. This can be helpful for adults who are more prone to falls and other injuries, as well as for those who value peace of mind.

These are just a few of the features one needs to consider before selecting a system. Ultimately, conferencing with the older adult and the adult’s doctor may be helpful, as these people can provide valuable input on what’s needed for an older person to enjoy life without fear of falling, becoming seriously injured, and having nobody available for help.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

Article updated per request of Life Alert – BBJ, The Dispatch

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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