With the elderly or people who are differently abled, you may need to provide constant care and attention; however, this isn’t always a practical option for someone who isn’t a full-time caretaker, professional or otherwise.
Earlier, medical alert systems required a physical tangible connection to the landline in the house. However, with the rising usage of cellphones, as well as the increase in the cost of landline phones, landlines are quickly being deemed unnecessary by a majority of the population, and in some households, as obsolete, too.
To combat this issue—the lack of landline connections—an increasing number of medical alert systems providers are offering systems that can work without the presence of a home phone connection; these use wireless consoles that function similarly to home phones, instead, to keep users protected and connected to help 24/7.
We give you a primer on wireless/cellular medical alert systems, who they’re best for, and a brief review of a few top models.
What Are Wireless/Cellular Medical Alert Systems?
Cellular-based medical alert systems function very similarly to landline phones; however, there’s one major difference—where regular landlines/telephone-line-based systems have consoles or base units that dial out and connect with the central monitoring station via a regular landline, cellular-based systems connect via a wireless cellphone connection.
Wireless medical alert systems don’t require a phone line, as the cellphone connection is inbuilt in these units. The price of accessing this connection is utilizing it is included in the monthly fee that you pay for the system, negating the need for an extra phone line subscription to run the system. This connection is separate from the landline or cellphone connection; if there is a base unit, it needs to be connected to a power source to enable functionality.
Though earlier medical alert systems were built to work with landlines, newer and more recent models can work with cable phone lines or VoIP; however, they may not always work with regular/consumer cell phones. These systems cost anywhere between $35-45 per month; though this is more expensive than the $25-35 for regular systems, you end up saving the amount you’d have spent on a landline connection.
How Do Wireless/Cellular Medical Alert Systems Work?
Generally, wireless medical alert systems come in the form of pendants or watches or any other wearable-device form through which communication takes place, as opposed to a stationary base unit. Operating the system generally takes the push of a button, just as any medical alert system—on pushing the button, you’re immediately connected to an emergency response center or services. If there is a base unit, the signal from the pendant/bracelet goes to the base station to alert family members. The advantage of wireless/cellular-based medical alert systems is that they work almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors!
Some medical alert systems can be used over regular cellphone services; you should check which providers offer services for medical alert systems and ensure that there is strong network coverage of the provider in your area before you decide to commit your medical alert system to it.
Remember, cellular-based medical alerts require charging regularly, just like your cellphone. Additionally, the fact that they don’t require phone lines makes them much less prone to power outages; even if the occasional outage does occur, it’s unlikely to last for very long. However, cellphone network outages can happen, and for extended times. Sometimes, cellphone towers can also be destroyed or be loaded with multiple calls at the same time, causing the network to collapse temporarily. Additionally, there are areas where reception is spotty or weak.
Cellular medical alert systems give users more freedom than landline units, making them a great choice for active seniors who thrive in the great outdoors! Often, these devices also come equipped with features such as GPS tracking, Wi-Fi pinpointing and 2-way communication. Some also feature in-home communication options and emergency buttons.
Who Are They For?
As mentioned, wireless medical alert systems are a great option for seniors and differently-abled people who love their freedom and are extremely active, always walking in and out of their homes or traveling. They’re also great for those who don’t want to invest in an expensive landline connection but still want the protection a medical alert system provides, or those who want to stay at home, whether with family or alone, and be protected without compromising their privacy, freedom and independence.
These devices are especially helpful for seniors suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer’s’, memory loss, dementia and other medical conditions that can lead to dizziness, disorientation, confusion and the possibility of getting lost—the GPS tracking can help locate them and send help as quickly as possible.
Types of Medical Alert Systems Without Landline
Cellular Medical Alert (Wireless Mobile Device)
- Medical Alert’s Cellular Medical Alert features 2-way speaker communication between the wearer and the company’s emergency response operators, who stay on call till help reaches the wearer. The Medical Alert bracelet/pendant is easy to use and set up, with just the push of a button required to send out help signals.
- Some of the device’s features include:
- Waterproof bracelet/pendant
- Battery backup to combat power outage
- Lifetime warranty
- Functionality within 600 feet from the base station
- Round-the-clock support and monitoring
- Fall detection
- Short-term contracts only
- Includes a base system
- Starts at $27.45 a month
MobileHelp Classic (Wireless Mobile Device)
- The MobileHelp Classic is an emergency medical alert system meant for in-home use; its biggest draw is its quick installation (it installs in seconds) and is easy to use.
- Some of its features include:
- 2-way communication
- No activation fee or long-term contracts
- Round-the-clock monitoring and support
- Free ground shipping on a majority of their plans
- A help button on the medical alert device
- For active subscribers to the plan, the equipment comes free of cost
- The annual plan costs $359.40, the semi-annual plan costs $179.70, the quarterly plan costs $98.85 and the monthly plan costs $19.95
Mobile Guardian (Wireless Mobile Device)
- Featuring in-built GPS technology that functions within a 350-feet radius of the device, the Mobile Guardian is portable, lightweight and keeps wearers protected at all times that they’re wearing it. Users are connected to the company’s 100% US-based 24/7 response center via a nationwide cellphone network.
- Some of its features include:
- Clear 2-way communication
- Waterproof device
- Free AT&T cellular service comes included
- Includes either bracelet or pendant help button device, medical alert system and charging device
- Also includes additional options such as multiple help buttons, fall alert pendants, wall buttons, lockbox and car charger
- Starts at $1.61 per day
Active Guardian (Wireless Mobile Device)
- The Active Guardian alert device features both GPS and Wi-Fi location technology; it also boasts what is probably the longest battery life among all mobile systems. The device is lightweight and also comes equipped with fall-alert technology.
- The Active Guardian features the following:
- 100% US-based emergency response center
- Clear 2-way communication
- AT&T cellular service included
- Waterproof alert device
- Starts at $1.45 per day
As you’ve seen, wireless/cellular medical alert systems are more useful than stationary systems; they allow more freedom, privacy and independence. Moreover, they work almost everywhere and provide a wider range of functionality than home stations. If you’re looking for an efficient wireless/cellular medical alert system, consider one of the above-mentioned devices; they’re reasonably priced and super efficient.