Fall Alert Your Guide to Medical Alerts

fall alert

While many people understand how serious choosing the right fall alert is, for some it is a product like any other product. Some people casually select the first company that they encounter online. Believe me, as a spontaneous person I really understand where you are coming from, but here is why it is good to spend a little more time on your medical alert search: 1. The terms of the first medical alert company that you encounter may be notably different than most other companies. There are companies out there that lock you into a three year contract. They justify it as being “like a mobile phone plan,” but it turns out that very few other companies handle their service that way. You should also keep an eye out for other terms, like cancellation policies and price guarantees. You also may notice a big difference in price. The difference between a $34.95 per month plan and a $29.95 per month plan can seem small. But that is a savings of $60.00 per year, and many seniors use this system for 5 to 10 years even. If you are a senior on a budget, this can add up very quickly. It is important to get into the nitty-gritty details for a given plan and understand how they are different from other companies before you sign up for a service. And #2: The quality of customer service can differ radically between companies. There are a number of good, caring companies out there, and then there are those that, well, you should avoid. Ideally, you will simply plug in the system and never have billing or technical problems along the way. For many seniors out there, this is exactly how it works. But for others, technical or service issues can be a big deal if you don’t have a company that is set on really taking care of their customers. This type of service is incredibly vital to many seniors’ lives. You might find it shocking, but you will find a big difference in the quality of customer service from company to company. So try your best to make sure you go with a company that cares.

The winter months are often the hardest for seniors using medical alert systems. Some seniors feel stiffer when it is cold out, and most have a tough time with ice and snow on the ground. If your mother has trouble walking or has balance issues, now is a perfect time to get a fall alert installed in her home. Aging seniors are much more susceptible to falls during harsh winter months. A good medical alert device will protect her while she is outside in her yard or garden as well. So if she were to have a bad fall while going out to her mailbox, all she’s have to do is press her fall alert button and help will be on its way! Her fall alert company will even notify you or other family members after dispatching the paramedics. A medical alert is a good way to keep mom safe when you or your siblings can’t be there. As always, there is no time like the present to get mom started on a dependable alert program!

I know that for most families, price doesn’t matter. Whatever it takes to make sure that your grandmother is protected by a solid fall alert is what they are willing to spend. But for many seniors paying for this service themselves and for families in tough economic times, price can matter a lot! The good news is that you should be able to find a few really great options at an affordable monthly rate! Generally if you choose to pay for the service by the year, you’ll get a better rate. But for now, let’s just talk about prices on a monthly basis as this is how most seniors prefer to pay. Prices can range from as high as $35.00 or even $39.00 per month down to somewhere around $24.00 per month. The prices between different companies don’t actually represent a difference in quality of service as much as they do a very different business model. So you are able to get just as solid monitoring for a lower rate, it just involves a little research. When you are signing mom or dad up for one of these fall alert services, make sure the rate you have for them is not going to go up. Some companies run specials, so it is good to make sure that their price will not change in the next month, year, or ever! The best fall alert companies provide a lifetime price guarantee so your parent can rely on that price for as long as they are a customer. Those companies know that seniors are often on a fixed income, and they try to be accommodating! Fall alert prices can vary drastically, but a little research on your end can make sure that mom gets a great price on a solid and reliable medical alert.

Mobile medical alerts and GPS fall alert systems

by admin on September 22, 2012

Medical alert systems have changed a lot in the last 30 years. When these systems first came out, there wasn’t even a speaker in them to allow you to speak to an operator. And now years later, companies offer all sorts of add on services like mobile devices and GPS devices. One thing hasn’t changed though. For use within your mom’s home, a standard fall alert device is going to work best. Mobile devices operate off of a cell signal and are no where close to as reliable as a standard system. A standard system connects you to help through your home telephone service – which should be a reliable connection at all times. I’m sure you’ve noticed that you sometimes don’t get a cell signal in your home depending on which room you are in or even because of rough weather! So don’t put your mother’s safety in the hands of a spotty cell signal. Now as far as these GPS mobile devices go, I usually recommend a cell phone for seniors when they are out and about running errands or driving to the doctors. Even with a GPS device, your mother would have to be able to speak to an operator to let them know exactly where she is. The GPS in those devices reports a 100 yard radius for the location – too broad of a location to dispatch to without them first speaking to mom. Since mom will have to tell them where she is anyway, I find that programming a cell phone to dial 911 with the press of one button works best. Plus with a cell phone she will have the added flexibility of reaching family members or friends in a non-emergency situation!

Fall alert buttons should be waterproof

by admin on September 7, 2012

This should go without saying, but sometimes it is not the case. Fall alert buttons should be waterproof. A lot of falls happen when seniors are taking showers or are getting out of their bathtub! There is a newer version of this type of equipment where the button has a speaker in it, and often seniors make the mistake of choosing it even though it is not in their best interest. The speaker in the button does make it easier to communicate with an operator where ever you are in the home or even outside in the yard as well, BUT the button is no longer waterproof because of that speaker. The speaker makes it water-resistant, and seniors unfortunately have to take these devices off before getting in the shower. As we all know, a lot of falls happen in the shower… While having a speaker inside the button would be a great thing, it is more important for that button to be waterproof! So I am unable to recommend fall alert buttons that have speakers in them for that very reason. Plus a standard medical alert device is designed to cover a very large home through the speaker in the main unit itself. If they are ever unable to speak with you (or if you are outside in your yard), they will have to get you help all the same! Speaking with you is actually secondary to getting you help. I find that most seniors do better with a standard medical alert button that they are able to wear in the shower, so that’s what I recommend.

Knowing when to test fall alert systems

by admin on August 11, 2012

I’m sure you know that the majority of fall alert companies out there ask you to test their systems regularly. Most that I am familiar with ask you to do it about once a month. There are special circumstances when you may need to test your fall alert systems in between your monthly test though… Anytime you unplug your system and plug it back in or relocate the system in your home it is so very important to test the connections. Without testing you just don’t know if one of the phone cords is loose in the jack or if the new phone jack you plugged it into is even working. As long as you can press your fall alert button and speak to an operator over your speaker, it means that everything is plugged in and working correctly for you. Likewise if your power goes out in the home for a prolonged period of time, it is important to test when the power comes back on. In some cases, power surges and even being without power can disrupt the programming of fall alert systems. While your system is probably still working just fine or while you probably did plug everything in correctly, it is still a great idea to be thorough and test!

Your fall alert speaker’s range

by admin on July 19, 2012

So many people are skeptical of the range of a fall alert speaker before they ever set a system up in their home. Most systems are designed to cover an entire 2500 or even 3500 square foot home with the speaker – so your father should be able to speak back and forth with an operator basically throughout his entire house or apartment (and if he is ever not able to speak to them, they will still get him help). I think a lot of people are doubtful of the potential area that their fall alert speaker will cover because there are no equivalent home appliances boasting this sort of technology. They haven’t experienced a speaker like this before, so they just don’t know what to expect out of it. These fall alert devices are built with an extra loud speaker and a sensitive microphone. So I expect that most doubters out there are pleasantly surprised when they test out their new fall alert in their home!

I’m always surprised how often families try to use fall alert devices as a short term solution. Maybe mom has health issues and dad is planning on being out of town for a couple weeks. Many people start investigating a fall alert that they can get for just a matter of weeks. This sort of decision makes little sense to me. The benefits of these fall alert devices are long term benefits. Improved health and independence for your mother and your father. With a fall alert in the home your dad can go to run errands without having to constantly worry about something happening to mom. Having a system in the home can even be helpful if your dad is in the other room or a different part of the house. Often getting help quickly can mean a big difference to a senior’s health. Your father will hear the medical alert sounding off when mom presses that button, and will be able to rush over to help her. So I really hope you approach these fall alert devices from a long term perspective. It will be a great help to mom’s health and happiness in the long run!

I am sure you have read it on every fall alert site or blog you have visited, but it is so very important to find great customer service for your dad when looking into these services. Well, this applies even if your father is completely on top of his bills and able to take care of himself. First off, great customer service is nice for anyone and everyone… It is a warmth and professionalism that let’s you know that you are being protected by real, caring and dependable people. But what makes customer service so very important for seniors using fall alert systems is the fact that as they age they are going to need more and more caring service. Fall alert representatives sometimes need to stay on a phone call for longer with aging clients. This extra time helps to make sure that they understand how much they owe and sometimes why they owe on their account. This extra time also can help with service issues. Since most companies handle service issues over the phone, patient, caring representatives is a must. As dad ages, make sure he has good customer service on his side! Has your fall alert company prioritized selling you on their service or providing great service? It’s easy to tell if a company is a sales organization… so make your calls, do your research, and make sure you are choosing the best for your dad!

Oftentimes, family members who live close to their mother prefer to be called before 911 if mom hits her fall alert button. If this is what you’d like for your mom’s situation, there are a few things for you to ask different companies and a couple things to understand about what you are asking. First off, fall alert companies call 911 before calling you during an emergency for your mom’s safety. They know that every moment is precious during an emergency and they want to error on the side of caution. These companies do call your emergency contact list immediately after, and if it were a non-emergency, mom could always ask for them to call you (thus bypassing 911 altogether). If you live more than a couple of minutes away, I’d recommend allowing them to keep their procedure as is. If you live close by and feel that you must be called first before 911, ask each company about their procedure. Some companies allow 1 person to be called before 911 if needed, some 2, and others will call your whole list. While the choice is ultimately yours, I’d strongly advice against calling more than 1 or 2 people before dispatching paramedics. Calling through a long list is valuable time lost! Make sure you understand how a companies procedures work before signing your mom up for their fall alert service…