We don’t like to think about falling or having accidents but they do occur, especially as we age. In Canada, one in three people over the age of 65 will experience a fall this year. A concern for many people is “What if I have an accident or a fall and can’t tell someone about my medical history?”

    Many people consider purchasing a medical alert bracelet. This wearable device can tell people about any significant medical conditions you have or any medications you take — even when you can’t. Purchasing a medic alert bracelet can be reassuring, make people feel they’ve taken an important step toward protecting their safety.

    There are different kinds of devices available and they’re not all the same. With so many Canadian medical alert bracelets on the market, how can you choose which one is right for you?

    Here are some facts about some medical bracelets in Canada that can help you narrow your choices.

    What Is an Emergency Contact Bracelet?

    The purpose of an emergency contact bracelet is to provide quick and easy access to essential information that can help medical professionals make informed decisions during emergencies. This information may include the wearer’s name, date of birth, allergies, pre-existing medical conditions, current medications, and emergency contact details.

    Basic Medical ID Bracelets in Canada

    These emergency alert bracelets, also known as medical ID jewelry, have a recognizable medical symbol engraved on them, which alerts emergency personnel that the wearer has a specific medical condition they need to be aware of. A medical ID bracelet is a practical way to communicate information to first responders in an emergency situation. Some of these bracelets are pre-inscribed with a particular condition, such as diabetes or specific allergies. A person can purchase the medical alert bracelet inscribed with the appropriate condition and begin wearing it immediately. There is no personalization — i.e. your name, medication you might take, who to contact — with this type of bracelet.

    Other types of emergency alert bracelets include custom engraving of the medical ID tags with the price of purchase. With these products, the purchaser can select essential personal information to include on the bracelet. This might be the wearer’s name, who to contact in case of emergency, as well as the necessary medical conditions. Some of these medical ID jewelry direct emergency personnel to a wallet card for more detailed information. In that case, it is important for wearers to have the wallet card on them at all times. There is a slight delay between purchase and starting to wear this type of emergency alert bracelet to allow for the custom engraving.

    These basic medical alert ID bracelets are available in many different materials and fashion options, such as sterling silver or stainless steel with rose gold finish. Some are also available as necklaces. Having material choice and fashionable options can be appealing to people are self-conscious about the appearance of medical alert devices.

    Where do I get an emergency alert bracelet?

    Basic medical bracelets in Canada are available in department stores, drug stores, and online stores.
    Person typing on a keyboard while wearing a MedicAlert Medical ID

    Bracelet with Linked Medical Profile

    These medical alert bracelets are similar to the ones with customized engraving above, but they have the added feature of being linked to a medical profile that can list medications, allergies, surgeries, and other relevant information. In addition, the profile can include a list of people to contact in the event of an emergency.

    The medical alert bracelet will be engraved with an identification number that is unique to the wearer as well as a phone number or website to contact for the medical information. Any emergency personnel assisting the wearer is able to get more detailed information than can be contained on the bracelet or on a wallet card.

    An advantage of having an emergency bracelet associated with an active profile is that information can be updated as it changes. For example, if the wearer develops a condition, stops taking certain medications, or starts a new treatment, the profile can be updated without having to replace the medical alert bracelet. The more current a person keeps the medical profile, the better equipped emergency personnel are to provide treatment.

    Before purchasing a medical alert bracelet with profile, find out if you have to set up the medical profile on your own or if someone will assist you. Many people find it easier to have assistance because those associates have the expertise and knowledge about what information should be in the profile. They can ensure the information is not only accurate but also presented in a way that emergency personnel will understand.

    Like the basic medical ID bracelets, there are a variety of styles and materials available. Necklaces are also an option.

    Where to get a medical bracelet with profile?

    MedicAlert® and Universal Medical ID (Canada) are two suppliers of the medical alert bracelets with profile in Canada. Both companies have websites and toll-free numbers to call.

    Related: Lifeline is the Perfect Complement for MedicAlert

    Medical Alert Systems with Wristbands and Pendants for Seniors

    Why to choose a medical alert system over a basic medical bracelet with profile?

    Some people have concerns that medical alert bracelets with a profile could cost valuable time following a fall or accident. When emergency first responders are required to phone the hotline or log into a website to access the medical profile, minutes could pass when time is of the essence. That’s why medical alert systems are a popular choice. With many medical alert systems, two-way communication is part of the package. Medical alert systems help seniors to live a more independent life.

    Related: How to Choose the Right Medical Alert System for Seniors?

    Fall Alert Bracelet

    What that means is if you fall, the service has a trained Response Associate on the line as soon as the help button is pushed. The Response Associate can communicate with you within less than a minute and assess the situation. If necessary, emergency services are contacted and the Response Associate stays on the line until they arrive. The Response Associate will immediately provide emergency personnel with your medical history.

    One of the key differences with medical alert services versus medical alert bracelets is in the appearance of the device. Because the device either links to a communicator or acts as the communicator, it has a large button that, when pressed, connects with the communicator and the Response Centre.

    There are different service packages available from different providers. Lifeline, for example, offers the HomeSafe package that includes a medical alert wristband or pendant option.

    Fall Detection Pendants

    For people who are especially concerned about falls, Lifeline offers AutoAlert. The device is using automatic fall detection technology that determines when a fall has occurred and can automatically alert the monitoring center even when you can’t.

    AutoAlert comes with a pendant to wear — not a wristband — because the technology works better at the neck/chest level. A wristband experiences too much regular, vertical movement to accurately determine a fall has occurred. The advanced fall-detection technology in AutoAlert has algorithms that can detect the difference between everyday movements and a fall.

    Mobile Medical Alert Pendants with GPS

    With Lifeline’s On the Go mobile medical alert system with Fall Detection, you have the freedom to engage in your everyday activities, whether at home or away from home. If you fall or experience an accident, On the Go uses five different locating technologies so that you can be located accurately and quickly. The pendant with alert button acts as your two-way connection to the Monitoring Center.

    With all of the Lifeline packages, one of our trained associates will install the equipment properly and assist in creating your medical profile so you can be assured it is accurate and up-to-date.

    Using a Wearable Medical Alert Device

    Regardless of what emergency alert bracelet, system, or pendant you choose, remember to wear it at all times. Incidents and medical emergencies can occur at any time and if your medical alert bracelet or pendant isn’t on you, it can’t provide anyone with your essential medical information. So, as you’re comparing medical alert companies offering bracelets and medical alert systems keep comfort in mind. Is this device something that you’ll be comfortable wearing all the time? Is it waterproof or water resistant and able to be worn in the shower or bath? All of Lifeline pendants and wristbands are water resistant and their lightweight design makes them comfortable for continual wear.

    What You Should Do Now:

    Here are 5 ways we can help you or your loved one live safer and more independently at home as long as possible:

    1. Get our latest tips, tools and resources straight to your inbox. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.
    2. Not sure if the time is right for a medical alert service? Take this quick assessment to find out.
    3. If you would like to learn how to live a healthier and safer lifestyle, go to our blog or visit our resources section, where you can read and download guides.
    4. Wondering which medical alert system company is the best for your needs? We’ve put together a guide comparing the best medical alert systems for you.