Watchdog LifeAlarm has been involved with providing medical equipment for seniors over the last 15 years, while their suppliers have been in service for over 50 years. They offer easy setup and ease-of-use personal alert systems for senior citizens. One of the neat things about their personal alert system is that they have UL endorsements for their listening centers that are located in Meridian, ID.
Overall, customers report a high level of satisfaction with products from Watchdog LifeAlarm. In fact, many home health care providers utilize Watchdog LifeAlarm's products for its clients.
Watchdog has had some customer service issues in the billing area. Some clients were billed after returning their equipment.
- Base station configurations
Of all the products reviewed, Watchdog LifeAlarm does a great job with providing a good entry-level alert system that maximizes the client's mobility. Even though there are no cellular options with Watchdog LifeAlarm, the user can move freely about their home as long as they are within 1000 feet of the base station. The pendant also has some features built into it to maximize its lifetime and reduce the likelihood of a false alarm. The call button is "recessed," meaning that it has protective edges to keep the customer from accidentally pressing it. Also, it has shock protection up to 30 feet. If a client drops the pendant, the alarm will not go off. Also, the pendant is waterproof so that the client can shower with it and do work outside of the home.
Another important feature of the alert system is how easy the setup process is. The system easily upgrades and is programmable via a USB port. It can be installed in less than ten minutes. You simply plug it in directly to your phone line and plug your phone into the alert base station. The system also has an easy firmware update option.
While the system is usually pretty impervious to false alarms, customers can accidentally activate a false alarm. Also, this system has motion-sensing technology built into it. Watchdog LifeAlarm's base station will trigger an alarm if it cannot detect the customer's motion (outside of regular sleeping patterns). This can be a lifesaver if the customer has become unconscious or cannot move to activate the alert pendant.
The base station can also be configured to remind a customer to take their medication and remind them of their daily appointments.
There is also a temperature sensor built into the base station. During the installation process, the temperature sensor can be configured. The temperature sensor can detect high-temperature and low-temperature events in the home that may be the result of a dangerous situation, such as a fire or failure of the home's heater.
There are also other accessories available that can increase the efficacy of WatchDog's personal alert system.
- Lack of mobility
- USB programming features
- No cellular products
Once again, the lack of mobility with this system may limit its use for customers who want to travel easily. There is a lack of information on how to handle travel arrangements. What is known is that the customer needs to provide the monitoring center with advance notice of their travel plans.
Another concern is with the USB programming features. There is some confusion on the extent of when and how the system needed to be programmed. This might make updating the firmware on the system somewhat complicated, as the customer would need access to the Internet and a personal computer.
One last feature that would help their product line would be cellular products. This would give the users more freedom of movement out of the house.
The Bottom Line
Overall, Watchdog LifeAlarm is a good entry-level purchase. The 1000-foot radius for operating the pendant is a great feature. The fact that French and Spanish could easily be programmed into the system is a great addition, for ease of use for second-language clients. Another great feature of the system was the motion-sensing technology that is built into this system. If a client cannot activate their alarm pendant, motion-sensing technology built into the pendant can determine whether or not the client has fallen. Also, if the client is not sleeping, but has not moved for an extended period of time, the base station will communicate an alarm to the monitoring center. Customer complaints have been examined in-depth and issues were found with billing/collections. This trend indicated that some customers had problems returning their equipment after canceling. However, the complaints indicated that Watchdog is working to resolve this issue. Watchdog LifeAlarm offers one of the best entry-level personal medical alert monitoring systems in the industry. A few of the entry-level systems reviewed didn't include two-way monitoring at the base station itself, a vital feature for personal medical alert systems.
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