Do you have a loved nearing his or her retirement years and worrying about what will happen to that person when left home all alone?
Even those who are in good health can suffer a slip and fall that leaves the person out of commission for weeks and accidents that can cause other health injuries. Medical Guardian, one of the top companies that offers medical alert systems, offers systems that will give you peace of mind and make you feel better about elderly loves ones who live on their own.
Let’s say that you’re a stay at home parent or a working professional who also cares for your mother or father. With all the other obligations and commitments that you have, you may only have a few hours every day to spend with that individual or even less time. Installing an alarm can let you know that your parent has help standing by anytime that an emergency happens.
The company now offers five different packages that you can use at home and when you’re away from home. The best way to find out which package is right for your own unique situation is with a look at what comes included with each package and how it compares to other companies.
When to Install?
Though you might think that your family or friends do not need one of these systems because they’re in good health or they’re not that old, these systems come with benefits for users of all ages. Even those who have small children or grandchildren living at home can rest easy in knowing that they can call for help after suffering an injury when there are no adults around. You can pick a system that relies on a cellular network or one that connects to loved one’s land line.
The number one sign that it’s time to install a health alert system is when your loved one has a medical condition that worsens over time or when that person suffers from a chronic condition like fibromyalgia or diabetes.
Though millions of people live with diabetes, this disease can lead to a condition called neuropathy that causes numbness in the lower body, which can make those diagnosed with diabetes lose their balance and fall over. Other conditions can interfere with their balance and mobility and make accidents more common.
Medical alert systems are also good for those who are more active and mobile. Even if your loved has no problems driving or getting around, a mobile unit can come in handy during an emergency. That unit will use the cellular network to track the current location of the user and help emergency workers find him or her faster.
The company also offers packages that are suitable for the caretakers of elderly people and their loved ones. These packages come with an app that you can download to keep an eye on your family and find out if any problems occurred during the day. The sensors that you install in the home let you know if that individual was active during the day.
Anyone who has balance problems can benefit from an alarm. A simple slip and fall can cause a broken hip that will require surgery to fix, but many elderly people are embarrassed about calling for help after a falling after getting out of the shower because they do not want anyone to see them naked. Operators working for the company can identify the exact reason for the call and decide who to call first.
Medical Guardian offers users the options of calling paramedics and other health experts for help or calling closed friends and loved ones instead of 911. This option is useful for those who might have a minor accident and need someone to help get them off the floor or those who need a ride to the pharmacy to refill a prescription instead of going to the hospital.
Installing an health alarm is also a smart idea for those who have poor cell phone reception at home. Calling 911 and asking for paramedics to come out is almost impossible for those who only have a cell phone because of poor reception or because they cannot reach their home phones. These systems can work more effectively and let users know that help is on the way.
Things to Know
Two Way Communications
All packages sold by the company use two way communications to ensure that both the user and the first responder can hear each other. Whether the user opts for an emergency button, a mobile device or the base station, the two can talk about the severity of the problem and what to do next.
The base station is the most important part of any home alarm. This is what connects to the operators and what accepts the signal produced by the emergency button that can work up to a specific distance away from that unit.
Emergency Help Button
Also included in most packages is a smaller emergency help button that lets users call for help when the base station is further away.
You should check the distance at which your loved one can travel away from the base station and still have it respond when he or she touches the emergency button. This button comes with accessories for wearing one on the wrist or around the neck.
Medical Guardian offers a mobile station or mobile device that works in the same way as a base station.
As it uses a cellular network though, there is no need for a separate base station. These devices come in handy when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s who tends to wander off.
Cellular vs. Land Line
If your loved one has a solid cell phone signal in the home, feel free to invest in an alarm that uses a cellular network or connection.
However, the home may have a poor signal and make calling for help from home harder, which will make a land line system a better option. This system connects to the land line but won’t interfere with the ability to make and receive calls over that line.
Monthly Service Cost
Medical Guardian charges a monthly service charge or fee that covers the cost of using its products and services for a full month. The company often offers free installation and may offer free products when you sign up as a new customer to compensate for the monthly fee.
The most basic plan/package offered by the company is the Classic Guardian, which charges a monthly fee that offers protection for under $1 each day. This package does not require that you pay any activation or installation fees and comes with a base station that you can easily set up on your own. Instead of relying on a cellular network, which will increase the price, it can work with the land line already in the home.
You’ll want to put the base station in a central location in the home. Though it has a range of 1,300 feet, if your loved one moves beyond that range, it will not respond when he or she touches the emergency button. Many users find it helpful to put the base station in their living rooms or kitchens, but you may want to put it in the room that your loved one uses most often.
The base station features a two way communications button on the center of the station that makes it easier to reach help. It also has a battery backup that lets the unit keep working and seek help for up to 32 hours after the power goes out. As soon as the power comes back on, the station will recharge that battery.
This package also comes with a separate emergency call button that can send an alert to the base station that a user needs help, which is helpful for situations that occur when that person is too far away from the base station to press that button. This button weighs just 0.5 ounces and comes with a device for wearing it like a wristwatch or for carrying it around the neck.
If your loved one is one of the millions of people who got rid of their home phones because they use their cell phones, you can invest in the Home Guardian package to get all the same benefits without adding a home phone. This system uses a cellular network and can work with the towers near the home to help your loved one contact operators after an emergency. The base station features a bright red call button that a user can press for communicating with an operator.
All the operators working for the company go through the same extensive training that 911 operators do. This helps them be more efficient in their jobs and helps them keep a cool head that will help callers stay calm too. In addition to calling the local police or fire station and paramedics, they can also call the loved ones listed on the account.
An emergency button designed for wearing on the neck or wrist comes with this package and has a range of 600 feet. If the wearer is within 600 feet of the base station in any direction, it will automatically detect the signal produced by that emergency button.
The base station also comes with a reset button that lets you or your loved one easily reset the system and a test button that you can use to test the system when you first install it. Its backup battery, which automatically charges when plugged in, can last for up to 30 hours without electrical power.
Elderly people are often a lot more mobile and active than some think. Once they retire and have more time on their hands, they might spend time outside of their homes as they sign up for college classes, take trips with the community center, spend time with loved ones and travel. This plan is the perfect alarm for people like that because it goes anywhere and everywhere they go.
This plan works just as well when your loved one is relaxing at home as it does when the person heads outside. It comes with a charging cradle that plugs into a wall outlet to keep the mobile emergency button charged. As long as that cradle has consistent power, it can charge the mobile unit in two hours or less.
This mobile version of a medical alert system is a little smaller, and while users can carry it in their bags or pockets, the plan also gives users a leather case for carrying the device. It also comes two emergency help buttons.
When the mobile device plugs into its charging cradle, a user press the emergency button to alert the device that it should contact an operator. The package includes products that for wearing and using the button as a necklace or watch.
As the battery on the mobile alert system will last for up to 24 hours, you can feel comfortable letting your elderly person run errands and meet with loves ones without the battery dying. The included charging cradle even lets users take this small device with them on vacations.
Similar to Mobile, Premium plan is an alarm that in the home and out of the home. It looks similar to a small cell phone or a pager and has built-in GPS that lets operators monitor the wearer’s actions when away from home. When the wearer has an accident and aren’t sure where he or she is, the operators can use that GPS technology to identify that location and make sure that emergency workers arrive as quickly as possible.
Those this package is one of the more expensive offered by the company, it gives users more freedom. The charging cradle charges the battery in four hours and will automatically search for new updates and install those software updates right to the alert system. That battery lasts for up to 36 hours between charges too.
The mobile unit comes with a cord for wearing and carrying it around the neck or on the body and a separate belt clip for clipping it right to a belt or pocket to keep it tucked away. A built-in speaker sends a message to the operator in real time and allows the operator to communicate back just as fast.
If you have loved ones you want to keep watch over, you can invest in the Family Guardian package. This can help you look over loved ones who live with you while you’re at work and keep track of those who live on their own. It comes with the same base station or unit found in other packages that has an emergency call button, but it also comes with sensors that you can place around the house.
These sensors are important because each one can track the activities of those in the house. You’ll usually want to put them in common areas like the living room or bathroom. Each time that someone walks by, the sensor will make note of that action and keep a log of those movements.
Once you download the app designed by Medical Guardian, you can view a day story, which shows you information like the number of times a person moved by a sensor and how active that person was throughout the day. You can also view a weekly activity log that condenses down the activity recorded in the past week.
In addition to the three sensors and the logs that you can view via the app, the package also comes with an emergency alarm button that your loved one can carry every day.
Other Products Available
Once you purchase an alarm from the company, you can look at some of the other products available that will make your system more effective.
- Fall Detection Pendant
- Extra Buttons
- Wall Buttons
- Lock Box
- Life alert
Designed to look just like a pendant, the fall detection pendant available from the company has built-in technology that can identify when a wearer moves and when that user falls.
This reduces the risk of the pendant sending false notifications to the base unit that the user need immediate help. If a wearer does fall, he or she can press the emergency button, and if the user cannot reach the button, the pendant will automatically call for help.
As Medical Alert can protect every member of your family, you might invest in a few extra buttons. Your spouse, siblings and other family members will then have their own buttons that will all work with the same base unit.
The company offers wall buttons that are water-resistant and safe for use on bathroom walls and other walls in your home.
These buttons let all family members and guests contact operators and ask for help when they do not have an emergency help button or they are too far away from the base unit.
The lock box available is similar to those used by real estate agents and lets you select a four-digit combination that unlocks the box. It’s large enough for storing a spare key to the home. If the operators call loved ones for help, the person can use the combination to get the key out and get inside the house.
Life Alert gained fame in the 1990s and 2000s after its infomercials went viral and gained a cult following. Those ads featured a woman saying, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” to advertise its service. Though many found those commercials funny, it helped the company gain new customers and pick up more than 30,000 positive reviews from people who loved its services.
This company offers one standard or set plan for those who need help in case of an emergency. The package comes with a signature main unit and a smaller emergency pendant. Your loved one has the option of contacting help via the button on either device.
The main unit has a maintenance-free design and provides 24/7 monitoring and support for users. It has a backup battery inside that will keep the unit functional for up to 72 hours after a power outage. Depending on the reception and type of phone your loved one uses, you can opt for a system that runs on a cellular network or a land line.
With a waterproof design, the emergency pendant is safe for your loved one to wear while playing with grandchildren outside in the rain or taking a quick shower. It works up to 800 feet away from the signature base unit, and it comes with its own battery that can last for an impressive seven years. Like the emergency buttons offered, users can wear this pendant like a necklace or as a watch.
Life Alert offers separate HELP button that is perfect for use in the bathroom, and as its waterproof, it can actually go right inside the tub or shower. When a user needs help and doesn’t have the pendant or signature unit handy, he or she can use this button to contact an operator. You may want to invest in multiple buttons to install and use around the house.
If you worry about your loved one’s location because of a recent rise in crime or illegal activity, Life Alert can help with security monitoring too. Its 24/7 surveillance lets users contact operators and arrange for police to come by at the first sign of a break in or another problem. The operator will even remain on the line until the police get there.
A different pendant available from the company is part of its mobile package. Also called Life Alert Mobile, this package comes with a pendant that has its own button and speaker as well as a battery that can last for 10 full years. Pressing this button alerts the operator of a problem and can help operators identify the user’s location because of the built-in GPS unit.