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How Does a Medical Alert System Work?


Aug 15, 2018

As people age, it can be trickier to live alone. It’s not that they can’t be independent, but many people fear the unexpected if something does go wrong while they are alone at home.

If there isn’t help nearby when an accident or a fall happens, then the consequences are far worse than when help is nearby.

The medical alert system was created to try to alleviate this specific situation. Medical alert systems ensures that anyone who has an accident is able to get the help they need, even when they are living alone. It allows elderly people who have earned their own home over the years to keep the independence they deserve as they live the later stages. Medical alert keeps people safe.

How Medical Alert Works

The basic concept of a medical alert system is pretty simple. A person who is a fall risk or at risk of other simple medical problems may be unable to call for help, so the medical alert system allows them to do so. It starts with a base station. The base station has a large button that will signal an emergency situation. This will transmit a signal to the support team will dispatch emergency services as necessary.

In addition to a base station, most systems will also have smaller handheld buttons that may be worn around the neck or the wrist. These can be carried all around the house by the occupant in case they range too far from the base station and have a fall. The pendant buttons work as a simple

Popular Medical Alert Types

There are several different types of medical alert systems that a person may choose to utilize. Each has their own benefits. The more complicated types are typically more expensive, but their ease of use will often make them feel like they are a bargain.

  • Base Station/Pendant - This basic system has already been discussed. Buttons may connect to the home station and that connects to assistance.
  • Voice Activated Base Stations - These systems function in the same way, but are activated by voice commands. This is good for people who may have their motor functions compromised in some fashion.
  • Cell Phone Alerts - With the prevalence of cell phones out there, it’s unsurprising that many medical alert systems can now work through applications on a phone. They are important apps and allow the medical alert system to travel with the person. Therefore accidents can be responded to in more locations than just the home.
  • Motion Activated Systems - These systems are specifically good for people who are fall risks. These systems will note quick changes in elevation and deceleration. This can then trigger an alert and a warning that is sent out. Since the fall triggers the alert, the person can simply wait for assistance to arrive.

Important Facts to Know

There’s a lot of different facts that someone can consider when purchasing a medical alert system:

  • Not All Providers Are Created Equal - Some are much better than others. Check reviews in your region to figure out who will provide the best service.
  • Beware Contracts - Much like some phone services, sometimes contracts will have huge cancellation clauses or other hidden tricks. Read your contracts carefully.
  • Check Compatibility - It may feel easy to purchase a system and then get a provider after, but not all providers of services work with all of the different types of medical alert platforms.
  • Speakers are Connected - Most systems will feature the ability to receive verbal information from the operators. This ensures that they can hear that help is on the way.
  • Custom Set Responders - Some people may not wish to contact emergency services. Medical alert systems contact the system operator who will then contact the next step. Oftentimes it’s a family member or a neighbor to check in on the situation before emergency services.

The information contained in this article should not be used to replace the advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical doctor, certified personal trainer, therapist, dietitian, or nutritionist.