Nobody wants to give up his or her independence. Being able to live on your own, cook your own meals, and provide your own daily care is a point of pride for many. While many seniors or disabled persons are able to live on their own and carry out their daily functions without assistance, sometimes there are certain circumstances that place them at a greater risk of falling or other medical emergencies. Medical alarms allow people to continue living on their own while providing their friends and family reassurance that they can access professional help if needed.
How Medical Alarms Work
Medical alarms typically consist of two basic pieces of equipment. There is a small device with a button that the client keeps with them and a base that connects to a call center. When the button is pressed, the base is activated to contact the call center. A representative at the call center can communicate with the client through the base, which can act like a speakerphone. The client can inform the representative if assistance is needed or if it was a false alarm. If it is indeed an emergency, the representative at the call center can then contact emergency services on behalf of the client.
Originally, the base center in a client’s home was connected to the call center using a landline phone wire. Recently, many medical alert companies have started to offer the same service through cellular towers for those clients that do not have a landline phone or do not wish to use their phone line. Some companies also offer a mobile option for seniors that are active and want to be able to run their own errands. With the mobile service, a client’s medical alarm system can be taken with them anywhere, and they have access to the same services that they would if they were at home.
Another option, depending on the particular company, is the ability to have a representative contact a family member instead of emergency services. There are certainly instances where someone may need help, but it is not a medical emergency that would require the attention of an ambulance or paramedics. Being able to contact a family member before emergency personnel is a welcome option for many.
How Much Does a Medical Alarm Cost?
Budget might be a concern for many senior citizens or other individuals who might need an alarm. Similar to a cellular service, there is a flat monthly service fee for these alarms. The monthly cost for one can range from $20 per month up to $90 per month, depending on the company and plan. Most companies offer “extras” or additional services for additional fees. Additional services include automatic fall detection, medication reminders, accessories, a client’s medical history being accessible to emergency personnel, wireless wall buttons, and activity tracking.
Some companies offer a wireless wall button for an additional fee. This button can be installed anywhere in the house and acts in the same fashion as the wearable device’s button. The most popular location for these buttons is the bath or shower, as a large percentage of falls occur in bathrooms.
While some devices have an automatic fall detection included in their monthly fee, that is an additional charge for others. Automatic fall detection, whether it is activated or not as a service, is built into most wearable devices so that the device can sense if a fall has occurred. If the device detects motion similar to a fall, it will automatically contact the call center on behalf of the client. The call center can then reach out through the speaker to see if the client responds. If the client responds that it was an error and everything is fine, the call is then ended. If the client does not respond, then the call center will contact emergency services to perform a welfare check.
Medical alarms allow many people to maintain their independence with the added support of being able to access help if needed. This can also reassure worried and concerned family members and friends that their loved one will be able to get assistance in the event of a fall or medical emergency.