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Published Nov 01, 20
7 min read

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Cell-enabled home bases serve the same function as landline bases, they just rely on cellular service instead of a phone line. Although they are more expensive than landline systems, they are almost always cheaper than the cost of adding phone service. Keep in mind that it’s not always as reliable as a landline system if you have spotty cellular coverage in your area.

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Another option is a separate device that automatically dispenses the correct medications at the right time (mobile medical alert systems). This can help seniors who struggle with remembering if they’ve taken their medication. Some seniors or caregivers may want the added security of a wall-mounted button. The buttons serve as a backup in high-risk areas (such as a bathroom or kitchen) in case the senior isn’t wearing their pendant/help button for some reason.

The device extends the range of the microphone and speaker of the in-home base. For instance, those who like to garden could install a voice extender on the outside of their home so they can hear and speak with an operator. This also is also helpful to avoid accidentally calling EMS if you press your button but can’t hear the home base to cancel the alert.

So, the in-home base station essentially functions as a speakerphone. Some medical alert devices allow users’ loved ones to initiate communication with their loved one via the medical alert device. Typically in these cases the devices are assigned a phone number, like a cell phone, that will send an alert to the senior’s medical alert device.

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Companies typically do not charge customers for the medical alert devices themselves (medical guardian). Instead, customers pay a monthly monitoring fee. A “free” lease of the actual medical alert device is oftentimes included in this fee, so as long as the user is paying for monitoring, they can continue to use the device.

The monthly cost for monitoring ranges from approximately $20 to $60 a month, depending on the type of system, company, and add-ons. On the lower end of the price range, an in-home medical alert system connected via landline is typically between $20 and $30 a month. Cell-enabled, mobile units tend to be more expensive.

Medicare and private insurance typically don’t provide coverage for personal medical alerts, making the typical monthly cost out of budget for some low-income seniors. That being said, there are some payment assistance options available. Which specific options are available to you will depend on your income, personal situation, and the state in which you reside.

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One of those services is a device very similar to a medical alert system. The main difference is that the device which you wear around your neck only dials pre-programmed numbers and isn’t professionally monitored. The downside of this setup is that loved ones aren’t always near their phones or able to receive a call or text.

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That being said, this type of system is better than nothing if you absolutely can’t afford the monthly cost of a medical alert system. For more information and to apply, visit your nearest VA location or call (844) 698-2311. Medicaid Coverage of Medical Alert Systems (PERS) In most states, Medicaid covers some or all of the monthly cost of personal emergency response systems.

PERS is often one of the many services that can be used by seniors to maintain their independence. Long-Term Care Insurance If you have long-term care insurance, you may be covered for the purchase of a medical alert device. Most long-term care insurance policies cover durable medical equipment and will provide coverage for services or equipment that help individuals remain in their home rather than relocate to residential care.

Medical alert systems typically consist of two components – a base station and a wearable device. When the user presses the help button on their wearable device, a call is initiated to a monitoring center. The user is connected with an operator who can help to assess the situation and dispatch the emergency services to their location.

All of the medical alert systems on this list meet the minimum criteria that keep users protected and connected to help whenever an emergency may occur. But each system has different features that make it stand apart from the rest. We highly recommend that each person considers their individual needs so they can select a system that fits their lifestyle. medical alert systems recommended by aarp.

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The help button is far easier to use in an emergency than trying to remember phone numbers. Some medical alert systems also offer medication reminders that help seniors stick to the correct schedule and dosage. For seniors that may wander or get lost, mobile GPS tracking can be life-saving and provide reassurance for caregivers (base station).

The importance of other features will vary from customer to customer. For example, mobile service would not matter so much to someone who is housebound, while it would be crucial for someone who drives or goes for walks. This is why it’s so important for each customer to weigh the unique features of every system before deciding which one fits them best.

When you’re ready to begin shopping for a medical alert, you’ll need to make three decisions that will affect the overall functionality of your system and how much you’ll pay. The rundown: Originally, medical alert systems were designed to work inside your home with your landline telephone. And you can still go that route.



With these systems, pressing the wearable call button allows you to speak to a dispatcher through a base unit located in your home. But many companies offer mobile options, too. You can use these systems at home, but they’ll also allow you to call for help while you’re out and about.

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This way, if you get lost or press the call button for help but are unable to talk, the monitoring service can find you. Someone who is frail and doesn’t leave the house often might not need a mobile system, while an active older adult may want added protection outside the home, says Richard Caro, Ph, D, a co-founder of Tech-Enhanced Life, which evaluates and reviews products for older adults.

Monitored systems carry a monthly fee in addition to the purchase price for the device. But with unmonitored systems, you generally pay only for the device itself. Monitored systems may also have other fees, such as activation fees as well as minimum commitments or contracts. And cancellation and return policies can vary from company to company.

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Manufacturers say these devices sense falls when they occur and automatically contact the dispatch center, just as they would if you had pressed the call button. That sounds great, but it might not work perfectly every time, says Neil Alexander, MD, a professor of geriatric and palliative medicine at the University of Michigan and director of the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center.

In some cases, for instance, this feature may register something as a fall that isn’t. The alarm might go off if you drop it or momentarily lose your balance but don’t actually land on the ground - base station. The companies we looked into that offer fall detection charge $15 or less for it per month, so the additional cost isn’t huge.

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Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission. No one wants to imagine a scenario where they or a loved one have a medical emergency and are unable to call for help.

Our expert review will provide you with everything you need to know to find the right medical alert system for you. Our top picks for medical alert systems Health researched dozens of companies to find the best providers of medical alert systems. Here are the best medical alert systems according to our editors. fall detection.

With a monitoring center that is TMA Five Diamond Certified and a wide range of products to suit many different needs and lifestyles, Medical Guardian will provide the protection you need and the service you want. At-home options include the Classic and Home models, for landlines and cell service connections, respectively.

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