We’ve all heard the phrase, “There’s no place like home.” For seniors, this is especially true. Over 90 percent of seniors 65 and older want to stay in their homes as long as possible, and 80 percent believe they will always live in their current home.
With the growing popularity of aging in place, many seniors and their caretakers want to make sure that home is as safe as possible. Medical alert systems are one of the ways seniors and their loved ones can quickly get help in an emergency.
Also known as emergency pendants, medical alert systems are small devices designed to alert a monitoring center that help is needed in the event of an emergency. They are usually wearable and are often in the form of a medical alert bracelet or medical alert necklace.
Medical alert systems are often used by the elderly or people with limited mobility. They can be life-saving in a wide range of situations, including:
Falls. For seniors, falling doesn’t always mean getting up and brushing yourself off. According to the CDC, more than 32,000 deaths in adults 65 and older are the result of falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury and injury death in that age group. Because they can leave the person too badly injured to get help, emergency pendants allow them to get help with the push of a button.
Medical emergencies. Whether it’s feeling short of breath, chest tightness, confusion, numbness, or something else, there are many health situations that require immediate attention. Panic pendants ensure seniors can call for help if a situation like this arises.
Limited mobility. When you have limited mobility and get around via canes or walkers, an injury, or are bedridden, getting to the phone in an emergency can be difficult (and in some cases impossible). With medical alert systems, you don’t need a phone nearby to get help.
Intruders. Even with a security system, sometimes people forget to set their alarms. With a panic pendant, you can immediately call for help if you hear someone breaking into your home.
Fires. If a fire breaks out in your home, your phone may not be close by to call 911. Or, you may be in a panic to get out the door. Simple pressing a button is an easier way to summon help.
While medical alert systems are frequently used for seniors, it’s important to point out they can also be useful for anyone who is non-verbal or otherwise unable to reach out for help.
How do medical alert systems work?
Medical alert systems work by providing a line of communication from the pendant to a monitoring center, usually connected via Wi-Fi. When the Help button is pressed, they will immediately be connected with the monitoring center, who will assist with next steps. This may include sending police or an ambulance to your home, or calling an emergency contact, such as a caregiver or adult child.
For the most part, the process for activation a medical alert system goes like this:
Hold down the panic button for 2-3 seconds to activate the alarm and alert the monitoring center.
An agent from the monitoring center will try and contact you to see if you’re ok and find out what happened.
The center will dispatch emergency responders to your home, even if you are unable to speak or respond to their attempts to contact you.
Depending on your service, the monitoring center may also notify your loved ones of the situation.
Who benefits from medical alert systems?
Medical alert systems are useful for anyone, but seniors and older adults should seriously consider them. This is particularly true for those who:
Are at risk of falling and being injured
Have a history of falls
Walk with an unsteady gait or are weak
Take medication, especially when dizziness or vertigo are side effects
Have a history of seizures or other medical conditions that can cause falls or disorientation
In addition to seniors, medical alert systems are a valuable tool for anyone who lives alone, is at a higher risk of injury from falling, or who has a medical condition.
You don’t even have to be the one wearing the pendant to benefit from a medical alert system. Caregivers often experience worry and anxiety in relation to their loved ones. With a medical alert system, caregivers have the peace of mind that comes with knowing help is just a push of the button away.
Although they all provide a line of contact to a monitoring center, there are several different types of medical alert systems. Some of the most common include:
In-home medical alert systems.
In-home medical alert systems help protect people in the home through an alert alarm and central hub, or base station. The hub is equipped with a speaker that allows the person at home to speak directly to the monitoring center.
Wearable medical alert systems.
Wearable medical alert systems are worn by the user and are ideal for anyone who is at risk for a fall or has a health condition that might render them immobile. These typically include:
Smartwatches. Some wearable alert systems can be attached to a wristband and worn around the wrist.
Lanyards. With a lanyard, you can wear your emergency pendant around the neck.
Belt clips. Some emergency pendants also have belt clips, allowing them to be attached to a belt or waistband.
Wearable medical alert systems are popular because they can be easily used by just about anyone.
Medical alert system features
There are many different medical alert systems on the market. Some features, like a panic button to press in an emergency, are a given. There are also other features to consider, depending on your specific needs and budget.
A few of these features include:
This is an important feature to have in an alert alarm, since a whopping 80% of senior falls occur in the bathroom. Keep in mind, though, that the majority of emergency pendants are water-resistant, not waterproof. This means that while it should be safe in a walk-in shower or walk-in tub, you shouldn’t submerge it in water.
All medical alert systems should have a prominent panic button. In most cases, you will need to hold the panic button down for a few seconds to connect to the monitoring center.
Many panic pendants feature small, compact designs that are lightweight and easy to wear or carry. If you’re looking for one for yourself or an elderly loved one, be sure to check the overall size and weight so it’s not too cumbersome.
The monthly monitoring is the most important part of a medical alert system; without it, there is no one to call for help. Choose a company that provides monitoring around the clock and has a good reputation and prompt response times.
In some cases, a silent alarm is important (especially if there is an intruder). This is also an option with some alert services.
For caregivers, some features are more important than others. Receiving a call or alert from the monitoring center that the panic pendant has been used is one feature that many caregivers appreciate. This allows caregivers or family members to stay in the loop while giving them a chance to check in on their relatives.
You can purchase wearable or wall-mounted panic buttons. Some companies also give you the option of wearing them however you want, so you have the flexibility to wear it the way that is most comfortable and convenient.
How to buy a medical alert system
Since most medical alert systems work the same way, how do you know which one to buy? The Vivint Emergency Pendant is an excellent choice for your consideration. Take a look at a few of the things that set it apart:
24/7 monitoring. In an emergency, every second counts. Vivint’s response time averages just 10 seconds, so you or your loved one will be speaking to someone who can help in a matter of seconds. Vivint’s monitoring is also on call 24/7, 365 days a year, so there is always someone to help, day or night.
Small and sleek. At just under 2 inches high and 1 inch wide, Vivint Emergency Pendant is small enough to be worn or carried comfortably, without bogging you down or getting in the way.
Wide range. The panic button can be detected within 300 feet of the Vivint Hub.
Wearability. You can wear the Vivint Emergency Pendant on your wrist or on a lanyard depending on your personal preference. You can also mount it on your wall, if you like.
Designated family members. You can also set designated family members to be notified if you ever press your panic button. They will also be contacted by the monitoring center.
Long-lasting battery. The Emergency Pendant is completely battery-powered, with a single battery lasting up to 5 years, so you don’t have to worry about your pendant’s battery.
As part of a Vivint system, the Vivint Emergency Pendant also integrates with the Vivint Hub. The Vivint Hub also allows you to contact the monitoring center if there’s a medical emergency, giving you an extra layer of protection and access.
Medical alert systems provide peace of mind
In an ideal world, no one would ever need to use their panic pendant. However, aging in place means home can become a more dangerous place. With an emergency pendant, you and your loved ones have the comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing you can get help quickly if you ever need to.
If you decide the Vivint Emergency Pendant is right for you or your loved one, it’s simple to get set up. Call 855.822.1220 to get your medical alert system today.
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