Senior Alert System: 10 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing

January 7, 2014

A cellular medical alert unit is shown with base unit and necklace and wristband pendant options.

A medical alert system is a cost-effective, reliable way to protect your loved ones from falls and other injuries that can occur around the home.

When choosing between medical alert systems, there are many different factors that should be taken into consideration before you buy.

Answering the following questions will help you save time, money, and spare you of frustration.


1.) Will mom and pop (or aunt, uncle, grandma or grandpa) feel comfortable using an emergency alert button?

Some of the elderly may be apprehensive about getting a medical alert system since they feel that the emergency pendant could be uncomfortable for them to wear.

You need to be sure before you invest in a medical alert system that the user will be comfortable with it. Otherwise, you could be wasting money and their discomfort can create unnecessary conflict within the family.


2.) How active is your loved one?

Do they tend to spend most of their time away from the home? If they are active and like to go on long walks by themselves far away from the home, a home medical alert system may not to right for them. You may want to look into a GPS-enabled medical alert system.


3.) How long will the system be needed for?

If they will need for the system for only a few weeks, it may not be advisable for you to install a medical alert system.

Most medical alert service providers offer Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual pricing plans. If you only need the system for a short time, it may be difficult for you to get your money back for the unused portion. You may want to look into alternative care options, like having family members help out with care, or hiring in-home care for that period.


4.) Does the user have family nearby who check-in on them often?

If they have family who live near them who check on them daily, then you may not need 24/7 medical monitoring in the home. If these relatives are only able to visit every once in a while, then a medical alert system can help fill in the gaps of protection coverage.

This is also good to know for emergency purposes. The local paramedics can administer help quicker when we have a list of names and phone numbers of nearby friends or family members who have keys to the home.

If there is no one nearby to help, make sure there is a way for the paramedics to enter the home. A hidden key is good, gate code, garage code, or a lockbox is an even better option.

5.) Has your loved one taken any falls lately or are you worried about them falling?

If your loved one has fallen recently or are unsteady on their feet, then you definitely need to get some kind of care system in place. While you spend time debating as to what the best option might be, they are at risk of getting injured again. The automatic fall detection device in our medical alert watch will activate in the event your loved one is unable to push the emergency button on their own.


6.) Does your loved one take any medications that make them dizzy or disoriented?

If the answer is yes, then you will want to consider getting them home assistance, since dizziness can lead to falls and other serious injuries.


7.) Is there a landline phone in the home?

You will need to figure out what kind of home phone service they have in order to determine which medical alert system is compatible with that service. Most medical alert providers offer a landline option that works with plain old telephone service landline, or digital phone services like VOIP and other cable bundles.

To be sure, ask them who their phone service provider is. If they’re unsure of what service they have, ask them to look at a recent statement from the provider.

If they don’t have a landline, some providers offer a cellular option for the home which runs off of a cellular network.


8.) Who will be paying for the service, and what payment plan will work best for them?

Whether you’re on a fixed income or are looking to pay upfront for a discounted amount, you need to find out what payment options are available by the provider you select. Select a flexible payment plan that will work for whoever will be paying for the service.

You should also ask what your exact bill date will be, and set a reminder for yourself in your calendar. This will prevent you from being caught off guard when your credit card is charged.


9.) What is the medical alert company’s cancellation policy?

Things happen, whether you plan for them or not. Always ask your selected provider what their cancellation policy is to be sure that you won’t get stuck in a long-term contract should an unforeseen event occur. Some companies require a 3-year contract. For example, compare Life Alert’s cost and contract term to other systems. Be sure you’re well-educated on your company’s policy ahead of time.


10.) What will your total upfront cost be to get started?

You may be charged an equipment fee, installation fee, shipping fee, or security deposit. Before ordering, ask for a breakdown of the total fees that you will be charged to get started.

As always, if you find yourself with any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us toll-free at 1-877-522-9633. We’ll help you figure out what you need, even if we don’t have it.

Share this article with anyone you know who may be shopping for a medical alert system! For further reading, check out our article on 5 signs that it’s time for a medical alert system here.


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