In this article, we will cover four types of medical monitoring devices. These are monitored medical alert systems, non monitored or no monthly fee medical alerts, mobile devices, and medical alert USB drives. Each of these devices is equipped with useful features that may be useful for you and your elders.
Monitored Medical Alert Systems
Monitored medical alert systems probably one of the most popular medical alerts for seniors. This is a device that allows the patient to be connected to an emergency monitoring service that operates round the clock. The SOS button for these devices comes in the form of bracelet or necklace pendant which are waterproof. This means the elder can wear it all the time without fear of ruining the device.
As the button is pressed, the patient will be able to connect to the base station which works through the phone line. A trained operator will be ready to provide assistance. As the operator determines the problem, he can then send further help for medical care or notify family members of the situation.
If you feel that a monitored medical alert system is suitable for your elder’s situation, there are different kinds to choose from too. And the cost varies as well depending on the features and overall sophistication of the unit. For instance, there are monitored medical alerts for seniors that come with SOS or panic buttons equipped with detection sensors. The base station will be automatically contacted without touching the button.
Typically, the patient will be able to talk through a speaker phone. But there are units too that allow the patient to use the SOS pendant to talk to the operator. It certainly paves the way to easier, clearer and faster communication.
Among the top companies that offer these devices are LifeStation, Medical Guardian, Bay Alarm Medical, and MedicalAlert among others. These systems cost between $25 to $40 a month to operate, and some companies also charge set-up fees in addition to that.
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Non-Monitored/No Monthly Fee Medical Alerts
Monitored medical alert systems make an excellent choice. However, your budget may not allow employing such a device that comes with a monthly fee. If this is the case, you can settle for the more affordable option. That is the non-monitored or no monthly fee medical alerts for seniors.
The main difference with this type of unit is that you do not have to pay for any professional monitoring service fees. But just like the monitored units, they also come with an SOS button and a separate home base station. See Monitored vs. Non-Monitored systems comparison guide.
Contacts are pre-programmed. In some systems, several emergency alert numbers of friends, family and 911 are programmed to be called in sequence. In others, it only alerts 911 when the panic button is pressed. At the touch of the panic button, the home base station automatically dials each of the numbers until the call goes through.
These units can cost anywhere in the range of $150 to $300. And there are no monthly charges for its use. LogicMark is currently the most well-known brand that offer this type of medical alerts for seniors.
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Mobile DevicesIn addition to monitored medical alert systems and accessories that work within the confines of the house, there is also a kind that would work outside the home. These mobile buttons are not tethered to the classic home base station that we have come to associate with medical alert systems. Mobile alert units come with pendants which can be worn with a neck lanyard or else fitted into a belt clip case.
The pendant is small and lightweight. It works like a mobile phone in that calls are connected through a cell phone network connection, and the device comes with a speaker and microphone for conversations. Most also include a GPS tracker. Wherever the elderly may be, at home, or anywhere outside the house, such as on a shopping trip, help can be contacted in case of an emergency.
To access help, the senior or system user should press the SOS button on their device and talk directly through the pendant. Because of the GPS tracking capability, the user’s location can automatically be accessed by the monitoring center representation. This tracking feature could be an enormous benefit in situations where he device user does not know where he or she is.
Medical Alert USB Drive
Another type of medical alert device worth considering is the Medical Alert USB Drive. It is not so much an alert device that raises an alarm, but a tool for storing and providing important medical information to responders in emergency situations. This item is inexpensive, yet can provide a lot of value during medical emergencies. This is especially so if the user has allergies to medications that should be conveyed to first responders or doctors attending to emergencies.
The USB drive can be worn clipped to keychain or purse so it can go wherever the senior or patient goes. It can supplement the use of a medical alert button that is used for summoning help from responders. What differentiates this device apart from other medical alerts for seniors is its capability to store pertinent information.
The USB drive has enough space for storing medical information, contacts, medical history, laboratory results and other critical details that will be useful for medical emergency cases. These USB drive medical alerts also come with a separate section for legal documents including power of attorney and living will.
This means your elder does not have to spend extra energy for explaining the situation as the operator can easily retrieve the stored information. Because of these features, the medical alert USB drive is suitable for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other complex medical conditions including diabetes, cancer and heart diseases.
Review your options well. Keep in mind that your elder’s welfare is at stake. Therefore, it is important that you find the right kind of device that will be most useful for their specific situation. With the right medical alert systems within their arm’s reach, users can become more confident about being on their own.
In recent years, new technologies and systems have been developed to help the elderly lead more independent lives. Some of these were discussed in various “Aging in Place” events around the country. You can read more about some of the technologies there have been discussed here in this Senior Medical Monitoring Technologies For Independent Living post.
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