Written by: Aaron Hall | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: July 30th, 2020
Is it time for you to consider a medical alert system? Assess your needs according to the following checklist.
- Are you over age 65?
- Do you live alone?
- Do you suffer from osteoporosis or similar conditions?
- Do you have trouble seeing or hearing?
- Do you have trouble standing?
- Do you use a cane or walker?
- Do you like to live independently?
- Would you prefer not to live in a rest home?
- Do you want protection for burglars, fires, or flooding?
- Is $35/month within your budget?
If you checked yes to more than half of these, it's time for you to consider a medical alert system.
Are you over age 65?
Falls happen at an exponentially higher rate after you turn 65. When one fall happens, it's more likely to happen again, and the physical toll will compound time after time.
Do you live alone?
If you live alone, a medical alert system is a great way to maintain your independence while having help on call if you ever happen to need it. If you live with a spouse, family member, or friend, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should forego a medical alert system altogether, but it might not be as necessary.
Do you suffer from osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis makes the event of a fall even more dangerous. A simple bump or scrape could result in a broken bone. If you're living alone and have osteoporosis, that should instantly be a strong indicator for a medical alert system.
Do you have trouble seeing or hearing?
Having poor eyesight could mean a stumble or fall. Hearing is not that big of a concern, but inner ear function is what determines your balance, so depending on how bad your hearing is that could translate into fall risk. Consult with your eye and ear doctors and ask them if a medical alert system might be a good option according to your conditions.
Do you have trouble standing?
It's natural to have trouble standing as you get older. It comes from weakened muscles and joints in your lower body. Naturally, these weakened muscles and joints make balancing more difficult. This is another big indicator of the need for a medical alert system.
Do you use a walker or cane?
This is a great solution if you answered yes to the previous question. Canes are relatively inexpensive and come in a variety of materials and builds. Walkers are slightly more expensive and cumbersome but offer a much better center of gravity. You can even sit on some models. Canes and walkers aren't sure-fire ways to prevent falls, which is why a medical alert system is recommended.
Do you like to live independently?
You might not like people fussing over you. You want the freedom to make your own bed, cook your own meals, and clean your own home. That's understandable. With a medical alert system, you have help on call only when you absolutely need it. Some systems will even let you program the contacts of family members or friends if you don't feel like you need an ambulance over.
Would you prefer not to live in a rest home?
Rest homes have a plethora of amenities, but can be incredibly expensive. Comparatively, medical alert systems are much less expensive.
Do you want protection for burglars, fires, or flooding?
Medical alert systems aren't just for falls. You can buzz for help if you've experienced a break-in, a fire, or flood. Certified call center employees will immediately be on the line to send emergency medical personnel your way.
Is $35/month within your budget?
This is the average price for a medical alert system. Prices will vary depending on the company. Some companies will charge an activation or equipment fee and monthly monitoring prices will differ depending on the features of the product. It depends on what you feel you need and what your budget is.
Where to Start
Start here with a list of the best medical alert companies in the country. Different systems are available that communicate through a landline connection, cellular connection, or WiFi. There are also advanced systems that are able to pinpoint your exact location through GPS technology, so you can take your alert button on the go and be protected wherever you are.