Are you looking for a way to help your elderly parents age with dignity? Or maybe you just hate leaving your grandmother all alone in her large house with no safeguards in place in case she trips, slips or has a health emergency. Whatever your reasons for researching medical alert systems, here are just eight essential features you’ll want from the device.
1. Ease of Use
The single most important component of an alert system is that it’s easily operated by the homeowner. There’s no use in buying a high-tech system that will confuse them or prove beyond their capabilities if they’re ever in the throes of a medical emergency. Look for something with simple buttons and easy instructions.
2. Wireless Connectivity
You don’t want to leave your mother vulnerable during a blackout. You also don’t want to introduce any more cords into her life that might make her fall when she isn’t paying attention. Wireless connectivity is the answer: It will watch over her remotely and with no effort on her part.
3. Monitoring Facility
Some of the cheaper alert systems only call 911 when they’re activated. A better system is to have your parent connected to a monitoring facility 24/7, one that can actually call and confirm trouble or send the appropriate authorities if they suspect something’s wrong.
Has the product been certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)? These are the third-party safety standards that mark a well-designed medical alert system. If it doesn’t have a seal of approval from the UL, find something else.
5. Check-In Service
For an extra fee, some brands will periodically call the homeowner and make sure everything’s okay. They’ll ask about the alert system, assure themselves of your parent’s good health and maybe even guide them through a few simple tests to ensure that their device is still working properly.
6. Operational Design
How does the system actually work? Does it require your parent to wear anything on their clothes or person, or is it just a wall-mounted device installed in every room? If it’s the latter, can it detect a fall from several feet away? What would your father actually have to do to get help during an emergency?
7. Additional Features
Medical conditions aren’t the only things that can mean disaster for a senior citizen living alone. Look for a system that will also safeguard against smoke, fire and rising carbon monoxide levels. If you live in an area with notoriously bad weather, you might also want to work out a plan of action with the medical alert company in case your parent needs evacuating.
Never buy a product without a warranty. In fact, you should probably steer clear of anything that doesn’t offer a fully confident guarantee of their services or your money back. If something goes wrong with a medical alert system, the consequences can be much more extreme than just a broken button.
These are a few features to keep in mind when searching for medical alerts. Whether you’re looking for an in-home monitor for mom or just a 911 button for your grandfather, it’s important to browse all your options before committing to an alert system one way or the other.