How to Choose a Medical Alert System That’s Right for You


Reports have stated that the medical alert industry is expected to expand by more than 68 percent in the next four years as the Boomer generation gets old and enters their retirement season, the coronavirus pandemic has something to do with this partly.

Seniors desire peace of mind, they want to know they can call for aid and get it fast, even during the pandemic. But perhaps, even more important, seniors want to keep their independence, so they can stay far away from nursing homes and any other care facility where the virus can spread. 


With such a growing focus on medical alert systems, we’ve compiled an article that addresses the most pertinent questions about life alert systems, their call centers, and the providers that sell them to help you choose a medical alert system that’s right for your loved one or yourself.

What is a medical alert system?

A medical alert system is any device engineered to call for assistance in the event you’re in a medical emergency. Conventional medical alert systems come standard with a wearable pendant and with a base station that links you to your phone line. 

Modern systems are built into smartwatches and mobile devices. And even though most medical alert systems need to press a button when you require help, some modern technology keeps track of your vitals all the time and reaches out for help automatically when a health-related emergency is about to happen. 

How do these systems help you keep your independence?

Take these factors into account:

Falling is one of the biggest threats a senior is confronted by. A fall alone can cause mental and physical health problems in the long term. Being mindful of this eventuality, a fast response to an emergency of this nature is the best way to moderate these statistics. 

As such, a medical alert system is a safe solution. It gives you the ability to call for aid by simply pushing a button. Research has shown, that about 87 percent of seniors prefer to stay in their homes for as long as they can. Independence is one of the most important factors that affects a senior’s quality of life and medical alert systems can help make this a reality. 

How do medical alert systems operate?

Its pretty straightforward:

If you experience a medical emergency that doesn’t require an ambulance, the operator can call a family member or neighbor to come over and assist you. But if for some reason the operator is unable to hear you, they will assume the worst and contact your local emergency responders.

What is a base unit?

Usually, a base unit is referred to as a home station or base station. Sometimes it can be confusing when a provider refers to it in many different ways. 

What they are referring to is the core of an in-home or conventional medical alert system. When it comes to technical specifics, the base unit is nothing more than a speakerphone that is designed to call another number, once a call is logged. It either connects to a cellular network or landline.  

For instance, the pendant “when worn around the neck” communicates wirelessly with the base station. So when you press the help button, the base station reaches for aid, even if you’re a bit far away from it.

All base units have backup batteries that last for approximately two days, just in case you encounter a blackout. Other units come standard with room temperature on an LCD and clock. 

What is a pendant? 

A pendant is something that is worn around your neck, it’s a “help button” that you can have on you all the time, even as you shower. It’s especially relevant to use while you shower because the bathroom is one riskiest place in your home where you could fall. 

For this reason, all pendants used for this purpose are waterproof. It works to send a wireless alert to the base station when you need help after pressing the button on it.  

You may also be wondering what the wireless range of the emergency pendant is. The truth is, it depends on the type of medical alert system you sign up with. But a majority of pendants are in the range of 600 and 1,200 feet. Both these measures are substantial for most apartments and homes, in addition to that, a wireless signal is reliable even if you need to press it underwater. 

Which one is right for your loved one?

We’ve spoken about how to make your selection, but in all honesty, it boils down to what you can afford. If money is on your side, then a mobile GPS medical alert system is the best to go for. This type of system offers easy communication. It travels with your loved one wherever he or she may go. And the best part is that it removes the risk of a false alert becoming an embarrassing situation. It just depends on your location, activity level, and budget. 

The way fall-detection pendants function

The way fall-detection pendants work is by utilizing accelerometers to measure g-forces and a gyroscope to estimate the twist or rotation of the body as it makes a fall. These kinds of sensors work together with propriety algorithms to establish you are experiencing a real fall or if you’re simply rolling over your bed or taking a seat. 

Moving the fall-detection pendant around has caused many false alerts. This is because most of these pendants are always activated after being dropped just 6 inches. Some are hardly activated, regardless of how soft or hard a person falls, so you’ll need to test it out before anything happens. 

So deciding on which medical alert system is best for you or your loved one largely depends on your requirements and budget. A fall detection pendant, for instance, is made for situations where the wearer is unable to press the button or is unconscious. So to some degree, it does give you peace of mind, which is also needed very much. 

Healthcare Business Today is a leading online publication that covers the business of healthcare. Our stories are written from those who are entrenched in this field and helping to shape the future of this industry. Healthcare Business Today offers readers access to fresh developments in health, medicine, science, and technology as well as the latest in patient news, with an emphasis on how these developments affect our lives.