Does Amazon Alexa Make A Good Medical Alert System?
Bay Alarm Medical
January 25, 2023
Many people rely on Alexa-enabled devices to manage everyday tasks at home: turning appliances on and off, checking the weather, listening to music, even ordering groceries. Alexa does so much already, that people incorrectly assume it can do even more – like call 911 in case of emergency or function like a full-service, monitored medical alert system.
Alexa Together is a remote caregiving tool
In 2021, Amazon launched what it calls a “remote caregiving service” called “.” The $19.99/month service subscription gives subscribers 24/7 access to trained agents (not 911 operators) who can help them get help in an emergency.
Linked caregivers can communicate with their family member through the smartphone app and create appointment reminders, set up shopping lists, get regular updates about their family member, and create a support circle.
Optional fall detection coverage is available at no extra cost from Amazon. You can choose between three third-party devices that range in price from $150-$250.
It’s important to realize that Alexa Together is a caregiving tool that provides many convenient ways to keep in touch with your loved one and help them manage daily activities. However, it is not primarily a medical alert system. Here’s why.
You have to be in range and physically able to ask Alexa to call for help
Echo devices are voice-activated. In an emergency, you must be in voice range of the Echo, be physically able to speak, and feel safe doing so. You may need to purchase multiple Echo devices to ensure full coverage inside your home.
Dedicated home medical alert systems have bracelets, pendants, and base units equipped with help buttons. You can summon help by pushing the button even you’re outside (but within range of the base station). Most home medical alert systems have ranges of between 800-1200 feet from the base station. Systems equipped with automatic fall detection will automatically send an alert to the monitoring center when they detect a fall.
Remember that not all emergencies are medical emergencies. Medical alert buttons are helpful in many types of emergencies, including burglaries and home invasions.
You can’t use Alexa Together away from home
The Alexa Together a home-based system – because that’s where your Echo device is – so you aren’t protected away from home, while shopping, hiking, etc.
In contrast, you can get monitored medical alert systems that cover you at home, away from home, and even . These features allow active seniors with busy social lives and outdoor hobbies to call for help from remote locations via cellular connections and have their locations pinpointed using GPS coordinates.
Fall Detection requires a separate device
Alexa Together subscribers can choose between three third-party providers for fall detection coverage.
- , $169.99. This fall-detection and panic button pendant works within your home wifi range.
- Altum View Fall Detection Camera, $149.99 ($5/month subscription plan for extra devices & support). For complete home coverage, at least one camera per room is required. A bundle of 5 cameras is available for $584.99.
- Vayyar Care Wall-Mounted Fall Detection, $247.45. Motion sensors in the device detect falls “13 feet away from the device and 6.5 feet to the left and right of the device.” The manufacturer says that the system “isn’t suitable for people with pets such as dogs or cats,” and that “taking a bath will trigger a fall alert.” For complete home coverage, you’ll need at least one system per room.
With full-service, monitored medical alert systems, fall detection coverage is seamlessly integrated into the system, so there’s no device pairing or connectivity frustration. Fall detection on most of our systems is just an extra $10/month, and our mobile systems – like the SOS Mobile+ – offer fall detection coverage at home or away.
You can’t directly access 911 operators
Alexa can’t call 911 for you because the Federal Communications Commission requires that any 911-enabled phone be able to provide the caller’s location information and callback number automatically. Alexa smart speakers don’t require location information when you set them up, so they don’t qualify.
However, you can use either Alexa Together or (a home security service) to request help from a “trained agent,” who will ascertain the nature of the call and dispatch appropriate assistance.
On the surface, that’s not much different than pressing the help button on your medical alert system, except that our Bay Alarm Medical operators know more than just your name and address. They also have access to the medical history and medication information you provide when you create your account. In the event of a medical emergency, first responders arrive at your home ready to provide the care you need.
Certainly, any sort of emergency alert system in your home is better than nothing! But if you want the safety and security that comes from having access to help at home, outside, while running errands, or on vacation, consider purchasing a dedicated, full-service medical alert system.
Call us at 1-877-522-9633 or visit the Bay Alarm Medical Web site to learn more and chat with one of our representatives to learn more about our award-winning medical alert systems.