Primary “Home Based” Medical Alerts are the Gold Standard
For over 30 years, seniors throughout our country have used primary medical alert systems that allow them to live independently in their home. Nowadays things are a little different. There are both primary and secondary options for seniors. Many families want to protect their parents with GPS devices that can be worn almost anywhere (except for showers and poor reception areas often including parts of the house). Having choices really is a great thing! But how do you know you are making the best choice for your mom?
To protect mom you must have a primary medical alert system in her home!
With all the different options that are available, primary medical alerts continue to be the Gold Standard of the industry and are your mom’s best bet for long-term success.
- Primary medical alerts must connect through a landline NOT a cell phone signal (which can be unreliable).
- Primary medical alerts must be able to be worn in the shower and the tub.
- Primary medical alerts have a lifesaving backup battery.
- Primary medical alerts have a small, lightweight button – NOT one the size of a cell phone.
About Secondary Mobile Medical Alert Devices…
Lots of families want to protect their mom while she is out of the house – on a long walk, driving in the car, or at the grocery store. Mobile medical alerts are a great way to do that! Depending on your mom’s situation, you may also consider getting her a simple cell phone for these purposes.
DO NOT rely on a mobile medical alert as your main home medical alert. Mobile medical alerts are secondary devices, designed to cover seniors only while they are outside the home. Mobile medical alerts work off of a cell phone signal and are not to be used in the home. Like your cell phone’s signal, the mobile medical alert may work in some rooms of her home and not in others. Or it may work one day and then the very next day not work in the same spot. For inside mom’s home you need a standard system. This connects through her home telephone service and will be much more dependable than a mobile device!
Why Mobile Medical Alerts should only be used only as a secondary systems:
- Poor coverage frequently causes them to fail when you need help the most. “Can you hear me now?” Do you remember the commercial?
- They are worn less frequently because they can be 4 times heavier.
- Often times the coverage fails inside a home or building.
- They are usually splash resistant NOT waterproof.
- The bottom line is that they are inconsistent compared to a primary system.
Our reviews focus on each company’s primary medical alert system and service because that is the best place for most seniors to start their search! So check out our comparisons chart to get a quick look at the different companies available for your mom’s service!
About Add-On Features for Primary Systems: Fall Detection & More
So you’ve decided to protect your parents with a primary medical alert inside of their home. Still there are a lot of different features you can choose! It is very important to keep your parents’ system simple and easy to use because, as seniors age, simplicity in their primary system will help optimize their long-term success. Of course, certain add-on features can be a lifesaver in certain situations. It is smart to understand exactly what you are getting before over-complicating your parents’ service…
Click on a feature below to learn more:
Right now, the manufacturers of these fall detection devices report a 90% success rate. Bending over, dropping the help button, or even laying down can trigger the device because all of these actions can potentially mimic a fall – This leads to a lot more false alarms. It would be a shame for your mom to decide not to wear her button because she is frustrated by false alarms. Fall detection is a life saver for seniors who have specific medical conditions. People have a history of fainting, a history of strokes, or a condition that will prevent them from pressing their button during an emergency will make great use of these systems.
Why Fall Detection is not for everyone:
- Auto-detecting falls leads to a higher rate of false alarms.
- False alarms can discourage seniors from using their help button and hinder their long-term success.
- Fall detection equipment is harder to understand than a primary system as seniors age.
There are two drawbacks to having a speaker inside your help button. First, it automatically makes the help button water-resistant, not water-proof. Water-resistant means that button should not be worn in the shower or tub. A standard button, without the speaker, is factory sealed, and can even be submerged when used in the tub. Next, having a speaker inside that button will mean that mom has to change the batteries every two months or so. She’ll have to remember to charge the spare batteries and follow directions to change out the batteries. Because of a basic button’s long-term lithium battery, it is more user-friendly.
I recommend a speaker in the help button ONLY for seniors with larger homes who are also much more tech savvy. If your home is 3000 square feet or smaller, a medical alert without a speaker in the button will be more than sufficient!
Why a speaker in the pendant is less user-friendly:
- They are usually splash resistant NOT waterproof.
- For most seniors, changing out batteries every two months is a bother. Many seniors will need help changing these batteries either now or a few years down the road.
- A primary medical alert speaker will cover most homes (up to 3000 square feet) perfectly.
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