An elderly woman is given instruction on using an emergency push button medical assistance device by a health worker.

Posted by Ivan Guerassimov on April 24, 2018 in Medical Alert Devices, Seniors

Think of a medical alert system as providing peace of mind. Peace of mind to loved ones and caregivers who know help is a push of a button away, even when they can’t be there. Peace of mind for seniors who wear the devices, knowing they can confidently pursue their independent, active lifestyles and remain in their own homes, assured that assistance is available if they need it.

Through a wearable device, such as a pendant or wristband, subscribers are connected to a response centre that is alerted with the push of a button. Once alerted, response associates will make contact with the wearer to assess the situation then, depending on the need, will send emergency responders and/or contact people on the subscriber’s personal notification list. With most medical alert systems, the response centre  has access to the subscriber’s medical history and can provide emergency responders with vital information.

There are many medical alert systems available in Canada, each promising to deliver peace of mind. Not all of the systems are the same and they often don’t offer the same level of service delivery. Here is a simple guide to help you identify the medical alert system that will meet your specific needs.

1. What to Consider in a Medical Alert System

Lifestyle: Think about your lifestyle and the activities you do regularly. Do you live alone or primarily stay around the house? Or are you active in your community and often on the go? Your daily routine will help you understand the medical alert system you need. If you spend a lot of time outside the home, for example, a mobile alert system could be the best choice.

Health: Consider your overall health. Is falling a concern? Do you take medications that influence your energy levels or balance? In as many as 30% of falls, seniors can’t or don’t push the medical alert button. A medical alert system for seniors with fall detection, such as Philips Lifeline HomeSafe with AutoAlert, could be a solution to ensure you get the help you need, whether you push the button or not.

Equipment: To have access to the Response Center 24/7, the subscriber needs to wear the pendant or wristband. That means the device must be lightweight and comfortable for daily wear. A waterproof device allows the subscriber to wear the pendant in the bath or shower, where many falls occur. Pendants should come equipped with breakaway cords.

With many medical alert systems, the device is paired with an in-home communicator that provides the two-way communication with the Response Centre. The quality of the communicator is important so look for a system that includes high-fidelity speakers and microphone. In the event you need to talk with the Response Centre, you want to be heard clearly and you want to be able to hear the Response Associate.

Installation: People who choose a medical alert system often have many questions about how to set up and use the equipment. Selecting a medical alert system that provides professional installation can alleviate a lot of worry. When trained personnel installs the system, you have the reassurance it has been tested especially for your home and lifestyle. You will understand the range between the wearable device and the communicator and you will receive instruction about how the system works.