Guide To Wireless Cellular-Based Medical Alert Systems
With the rising cost of a home phone line, more and more people are abandoning it in favor of a cell phone line or digital services like VoIP lines or Magic Jack. To move with the times, a number of major medical alert companies are now offering systems that do not require a home phone connection to work. There systems use wireless cellular-based console units to connect elderly users with monitoring specialists.
What Are Wireless Cellular-Based Medical Alert Systems?
A cellular-based home medical alert system works just like a regular land telephone line based medical alert system with one major difference. With regular telephone line based systems, the console unit or base unit will dial out and connect with the central monitoring station through the use of a regular phone line. With cellular based systems, the connection is done through a wireless cell phone connection.
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Built-In Wireless Cellular Connection – No Phone Line Needed At All
The cell phone connection is built into the unit. The cost of accessing and using this connection is included with the monthly cost of the system. Therefore, no extra phone line subscription is required to run the system. Users can think of their home or cell phone service as totally separate and unconnected to their medical alert system. You only need to make sure that the base unit is connected to a power source to run it.
Traditional medical alert systems work are designed to work with regular land phone lines. In recent years, their capabilities have expanded to include working with major brands of VoIP or cable phone lines as well. However, they do not work with consumer cell phones, and are usually not recommended for use with services like Magic Jack or Ooma.
Cost Of Wireless Cellular Medical Alert Systems
Cellular based systems cost about $35 to $45 a month to run. Although this is more costly than regular systems that cost more in the range of $25 to $35 a month, it still makes financial sense for a lot of people. With home phone lines getting more and more costly, even as they are hardly used, the savings makes it worth the money.
No home phone line needed. This can save major costs. Regular home phone lines have risen in costs in the last few years. A basic line can cost $25 or more a month, when you add in all the fees and taxes. If that is not enough, phone companies are starting to tag on costs like minimum long distance use and associated charges. The rise in costs for a home phone line look set to continue.
Keeping a regular home phone line just for the sake of connecting it to a medical alert system is just not very economical, not to mention frustrating. With a cellular based system, there are no more headaches and expensive costs associated with paying for a phone line to access medical monitoring services. Senior users can continue with whatever phone services they are happy with, such as cell phone lines or connections like Magic Jack, as they have no bearing on the functioning of their medical alert system.
Easier to set-up. Without the need for a phone connection, the medical alert system is even easier to set-up. There is no need to hook up a phone line or bother with other intermediate connections like an answering machine. In most cases, the only connection needed is to plug the base unit to a power source.
Indoor cell phone signals need to be strong. The functioning of the medical alert system is dependent on the quality of the cell phone connection. If the call connection is weak, it could result in dropped calls or the two-way conversation can be unclear.
Check with the medical alert company which cell phone provider their service is based on. A number of companies currently use AT&T. If you currently have AT&T as your cell phone provider, it could give you an idea of how good the call connections might be. Regardless, it’s best to test things out when the actual system arrives.
With cellular based systems, users should always take time to test the set-up and make sure that the wireless connection works well. Listen and verify that the two-way conversations established are clear. Most medical alert companies welcome these test calls, and you can do them when you first set-up the system and afterwards regularly (perhaps every two weeks or monthly).
If the cell phone signal is weak, the system could still work with the help of a cell phone signal booster.
The use of a wireless phone connection may bring up thoughts on the possibilities of using this system while you are out and about, since it is not tethered to a home phone line (landline). For sure, there are currently mobile medical alert systems that can be used both in the home and when the user is out shopping or driving around town. However, these portable medical alarms are different systems from what is presented here.
The cellular based home medical alert system, while not tethered to a landline, is designed specifically for home use. The base unit is too bulky to be carried around, and medical alert companies ask that you keep the power cable connected at all times for proper functioning of the system.
If you are looking for a system that you or your parent can use both at home and when out and about going across town, you will need a different system. You should look for a mobile medical alert like the Great Call Splash that is a portable alert device with GPS tracking. As a portable medical alert device, the Great Call Splash can be used both in an out of the home. It works through a cellular network connection so that no home phone line is needed at all.
Whether or not you should get a cellular based medical alert system is largely dependent on the user’s home phone line situation. Here are our thoughts.
Yes If You Do Not Have A Regular Phone Line Or Use Magic Jack/Ooma
We would recommend the wireless cellular system for users with no home phone line, or who use digital phone services (eg. Magic Jack or Ooma) that are incompatible with a medical alert system.
The cellular network signals in your home must also be strong. Different medical alert console units work with different network providers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and so on. If cellular phone coverage is spotty in your area, it’s best to contact the company directly and see if they can run a check for you.
No If You Have A Regular Phone Line Or VoIP & Plan On Keeping It
It would make the most sense to opt for a regular home medical alert system if you have a regular home land phone line or VoIP/cable line and plan on keeping it. With VoIP or cable lines, if it is a major brand like Vonage, Cox or Time Warner, it will likely work fine. Be sure to check with company.
If You Are Not Sure, Consider Testing It Out
If you are highly interested in canceling your phone line, or just keeping it for the sake of running a medical alert system, you may want to try out the cellular based unit and see if it works out well for you or your parent’s needs.
If you are not sure but feel highly interested, you can test things out. If you like more details, check out a full video review of a cellular “no home phone” system.
Companies offering a cellular based system will more than likely have a land line based system. Let them know that you are testing things out. Find out if they have easy policies on swapping equipment if needed, and providing any related payment credits.
LifeStation – LifeStation’s cellular based system now allows users to access their industry leading in-house monitoring services even if they do not have a home phone line. It is currently one of the most respected medical alert companies in the market, and one of the few that make the investment to run and manage their own response center behind the scenes. Their wireless system costs $7/month more than their standard system. Readers can save $2 a month with the coupon code MASHQ. Visit LifeStation or call toll-free 1-866-260-2696. Read full review >>
Medical Guardian – Medical Guardian offers a stylish cellular based system as part of a full line of medical alert systems products. It is the go to company for anyone who is seeking a wide range of systems to choose from. Medical Guardian also offers additional choices for mobile medical alert system with GPS that work both in and out of the home. Their wireless system runs at around $35 a month. Readers can call 1-800-311-6142 or visit here to learn about current special offers. Read full review >>
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See the medical alert systems comparisons chart for additional listings and comparisons. (Type “Wireless Mobile Connection” into the chart search box.)
For more information on choosing a good system, visit the Home Medical Alert System – A Shopper’s Checklist guide.