Seniors Bulletin / The Bulletin / Medical Alert Systems / How Important Are Medical Alert Devices?

How Important Are Medical Alert Devices?

  Winnie Thomas

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 3 million older people are treated for head injuries or broken bones in emergency rooms. Most of these are fall injuries, and around 300,000 elderly are treated for hip fractures. Anyone with aging parents is concerned about their safety, and this is why medical alert devices are worth consideration. Let us take a look at these devices in detail.

Benefits of Medical Alerts

Studies say that if a patient receives medical attention within 1 hour of an unfortunate event, there is more than 90% chance that the victim will recover. The presence of a medical alert device can ensure that a victim receives help when it is the need of the hour.

  • Peace of Mind and Security: Your loved ones and you will feel safe in the knowledge that there is a medical device alert present in case they require emergency medical assistance, regardless of the time of the day.
  • Maintaining Independence: A medical alert device would help a senior citizen maintain their independence, especially when they are facing health issues. This eliminates the need for others to check in on them or being present in the house.
  • Flexibility: Medical alert devices are quite versatile and are available in many forms. Some smaller devices can be worn around the neck or like a wristwatch and are waterproof so they don’t need to be taken off during showers. Other sophisticated devices can alert emergency services in case of high carbon monoxide levels or a fire. Some of these devices can even detect falls.
  • Reduce Worry: Some medical alert devices are equipped with GPS and are a great help if the elderly person has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. If a patient leaves home unexpectedly, these devices can alert caregivers. The devices can also double up as reminders for medications and can provide 24-hour monitoring in case medical assistance is required.
  • Maintaining Privacy and Dignity: Medical alert devices are an affordable alternative to assisted living centers and give the elderly the option to lead a more dignified life in the privacy of their homes.

Who Uses Medical Alerts?

The most common users of medical alert devices are the elderly, but there are other uses for this nifty gadget. These are:

  1. A Person with a History of Falls
    This device is beneficial for people who are at the risk of falling. As we saw above, the majority of elderly persons are often treated for fall injuries. And if somebody has suffered a fall in the past, the risk goes up. This makes that person a candidate for a medical alert device.
  2. The Medication Has Side-Effects
    Is a particular medicine interfering with your daily activities? If yes, then you should consider getting a medical alert device. If the medicine is causing you vertigo, the risk of a fall rises because the medication is interfering with your balance and coordination.
  3. Someone Who Lives Alone
    If dear ones live by themselves and there is no family or friends to check on them on a regular basis, the presence of a medical alert device can be beneficial. Having such a device would mean that emergency medical assistance is provided in time, which is very crucial.
  4. Someone Too Weak to Move
    If you or your loved one has trouble getting around the house or need assistance for that, this device is useful. Especially if the person lives alone, the risk of a fall increases because of the presence of potential obstacles such as stairs, rugs or bathtubs.

Which Device Is Best for You?

Before choosing a device that can help you find emergency medical assistance should you need it, you should consider a few things. This is because shopping for such a device can get confusing since there are numerous products on the market, some advertising “unique” features. Here is what you should look for in a device before you invest in it:

  • Ease of Use: If you are buying for the elderly, look for a device that is easy to use, because they may have trouble grasping the technology. The purpose of this device is to get help in a hurry.
  • Automatic Fall Detection: Some devices feature this useful functionality. If the wearer suffers a fall, the device will detect it and automatically send a request for assistance. Most new devices have this functionality.
  • Water Resistance: Most falls among seniors occur in bathrooms, so it is important that this device comes in handy when most needed. So these types of devices are in the form of bracelets or pendants.
  • Looks Good: One of the major reasons some seniors may not want to wear such devices is because they don’t want others to know that they need help. So a number of devices have been rolled out that resemble watches, bracelets or wristbands.
  • Battery Life: This could literally mean life or death in some cases. So take a cue from your cellphone usage and choose a device that has a long battery life. Some devices can last as long as a week, while others may last up to 72 hours.

Cost of Such Devices in the United States

For traditional in-home systems, most devices are priced moderately, at around $20-$50 a month. For on-the-go monitoring systems, the prices could range from $30-$85 monthly. There are either offered on a monthly or contractual basis. Some unmonitored systems may not require monthly fees.

How a Device Saved My Mother’s Life

A few months ago, my mother, who is nearly 90, fell on the wet bathroom floor. While she was being treated, doctors informed me about medical alert devices, a concept I had only heard about. After my mother was brought back home, I decided to give this device a try and ordered one that one of the doctors had recommended. A few months later, my mom fell down again, though it was off the bed this time. The alarm device worked like magic and had already called 911 and the paramedics before I had a chance to. These devices are literally life savers!

Final Thoughts

For those with elderly family members with medical concerns, medical alert devices can make all the difference. And these days, more and more devices are being manufactured that the user will feel like wearing and not be ashamed of. Whether you are considering buying such a device for yourself or a loved one, it is always better to seek the help of a medical professional.

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