Written by Aaron Hall | Last Updated February 24th, 2020Aaron N. Hall is a Content Management Specialist for Best Company and specializes in the home security and medical alert system industries. He would tell you that he’s probably taking pictures, writing music, or working on his next novel while out of the office, but he’s actually just watching Parks and Rec.
If you're reading this, you likely have a loved one who wants to live independently but might need a little help in an emergency. For those individuals, a medical alert system might be the right option. The following article will break down exactly what a medical alert system is and if it's right for you.
Medical alert companies will typically charge a monthly fee for their monitoring services. These monitoring services should be 24/7 because you never know when an emergency will strike. Our research shows that the monthly fee for a medical alert system can range anywhere from $15/month to $70/month. However, these prices vary depending on the equipment provided.
Aside from the monthly fee, companies will often charge an equipment fee and activation fee. The equipment fee covers the cost of manufacturing the device, and the activation fee covers the cost of activating it.
Equipment in a medical alert system usually consists of a base station and a wireless alert device. The base station will connect to a network via a telephone connection or Wi-Fi, depending on the package and the provider. These base stations will often have an alert button but are less practical because if customers fall, they won't be able to reach it anyway.
The wireless alert device is a water-resistant device that can be hung around the neck as a pendant or strapped on the wrist as a wristband. The device is made water-resistant because accidents most frequently happen in areas of the home involving water, such as bathrooms and kitchens. The device usually has one large button that can be pressed in an emergency and responders will be immediately sent on their way to your pinpointed location.
A great medical alert system can have a range of up to 1500 feet, but we've seen medical alert systems reach as little as 300 feet, so the range varies widely. Once you exceed those boundaries, your alert device is essentially useless. Some higher-end systems use GPS signals and battery packs to pinpoint your location no matter where you are, but those are rare and expensive.
Consider where the unit will be placed in your home and how large your home is. For some homes, having a 300-foot radial distance might not be that much of a problem. However, if your loved one is fairly active and likes to spend time outdoors doing things like gardening and tending the yard, you'll want to consider something with a more robust range.
Your home is going to experience power outages occasionally. But what if something happens and you need your emergency medical alert system while the power is out? Well, almost all medical alert systems come installed with a backup battery. These backup batteries charge while plugged into the wall outlet and expel energy when the unit doesn't sense a connection. That way, you're always protected.
Most backup batteries run between one to three days. If the power goes out and it starts using that energy, the system should begin charging again once power is restored.
If you've decided that a medical alert system is a good option for you, the research has been done regarding the best companies in the industry. Websites like BestCompany.com have gone to the work to find and review over 100 medical alert companies. As of July 2018, Medical Guardian is considered the top company in the medical alert system industry.